Sunday, January 28, 2007

Toronto loves its HUGS

WOW Hug Day was great.
At 3 p.m. yesterday in Nathan Phillips Square people hugged and they hugged a lot!

I must have hugged about 30 people. My sister said she hugged 50 people.

All in all, Hug Day was a super positive experience. Hugging people I didn’t know felt good. I enjoyed myself and it was great to see others really getting into the spirit of the hug.

My highlights from the day include:

When Hug Man went out onto the skating rink and stood in the middle holding his arms out. Kids on skates flocked around him giving him hugs. Hug Man was knee-deep in kids all clamouring to hug him, find out his identity, shouting at him….and then something wonderful happened in a moment that if you blinked you might have missed it … everyone on the skating rink and I mean everyone stopped skating and hugged someone near them. It was a beautiful sight.

A teenage boy came up to me in the crowd just before the hugging started and asked me for a hug. He said he was from Unionville and that he had wanted to do a hugging event there but it didn’t work out. I told him to try again in organizing one. He seemed so interested in the idea and really enthusiastic about being a part of the experience in downtown Toronto.

I saw this older man. I guess he was in his seventies. He got a hug from one of the Hug Day participants and then he glided through the crowd with his arms stretched wide out offering a hug to those he passed by. He had such a big smile on his face.

I want to thank everyone who participated and the local press who stopped by to support the experience.

If you want to see more photos, comments and accounts of Hug Day go to:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Yea! Today is finally HUG DAY!

I am really excited about today. I have been watching HUG related video on YouTube to get in the mood.

So I hope to hug ya, see ya today at Nathan Phillips Square sort of North of the skate rink or near the stage where the band the Bicycles are playing - as they are in support of this hug activity and are going to do a shout out to get the hugs rolling.

I will still be in the red hat. And I have made loads of HUG DAY signs - so you can't miss the HUG DAY clan!

Hug Day is a reminder modern culture can be cold and typically thrives on over-sexed ideas of physically contact. Hugging is an ideal way to increase contact with others around us in a healthy, mutually beneficial way.


Friday, January 26, 2007


The forecast is calling for a balmy plus 1 degree - perfect weather for Hug Day which takes place at Nathan Phillips Square at 3 p.m. Winterfest as you may know is also taking place at the same time – so there will be tons of entertainment going on and lots of people to hug and if you are shy you won’t stand out like a sore thumb.

I am making signs to identify the HUG DAY group. A friend suggested a ‘word bubble’ on a stick with just the word HUG in the middle. Oh…Arts&Crafts on a Friday night just the ticket.

I have noticed some reports of the HUG DAY activities on Torontoist and BlogTO and the best part is reading the comments people are leaving. Seems that there are some folks not pleased with the Hug Day Poster …. Huh any suggestions then? I mean what else could we have done???

Hey give it to me. A design for our next HUG DAY then! I am thinking in the spring… get designing you curmudgeon [wink wink].

Tell me if you are coming tomorrow!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

3 more days till critical mass HUG!

Only 3 more days until HUG DAY – this Saturday, 3 p.m. Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto.

Now may be a good time to ask. What are your thoughts on sharing HUGS with people you don’t know; in the spirit of creating a warming friendlier community?

I personally find living in bigger urban centres impersonal and cold.
For instance, I don’t mind when someone beside me on the subway strikes up a conversation. Or someone chats to me in a shopping aisle of the supermarket.
When I lived abroad one of my favorite places to go on business was Cardiff, in Wales.
I have never been to a more friendly small city! People there really take the time to stop and have a chat. They ask questions about you; tell you a bit about themselves, and then meander on with their day…….ahhhhhhhh.

So if you are getting warm fuzzies at the thought of being a part of this special day…only 3 days away…just scroll down to the end of the blog and all the info about Saturday is there.

I will be the gal in the red hat!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Give Hug a chance

Someone asked me today why this blog had no comments made yet? I don't know?
I have no answer to that.....
This is new to me ... blogging about hugging. I am really out on a limb here.
I could really use a HUG! [he he he].

So if you do pop by this blog - let me know when the last time someone gave you a HUG for starters...lets get the ball rolling.

The last hug I had was today from my flat-mate Kate. I have bronchitis and I think she feels badly for me....:(
It did feel good I must say. You always want a bit of attention when you feel poorly.

Now it's your turn!

Monday, January 22, 2007

My online research

If you are like me and live in a big city, get S.A.D., in the winter months, don't get enough sleep....then this is of use to you!

Hugging can alleviate feelings of depression and stress.
Hugging releases a hormone called oxytocin, which research has shown is associated with reduced levels of stress hormones [cortisol and norepinephrine], healing and social bonding.

Hugging can help you relax and motivate better sleep.
Studies indicate touch reduces stress and anxiety. A hug communicates with the part of the brain concerned with fear and danger, and this centre becomes less active and conversely reduces stress hormones.

Hugging can strengthen relationships.
Hugs that last over 20 seconds create trust.

So a wee bit of advice - TRY giving or getting a HUG today and see if you feel anything different!!!
Best wishes!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How to give a HUG 101

1. Begin by asking permission to hug and then initiate the hug with open eye contact. This communicates to the receiver the spirit in which the hug is being given.

2. Be present during the hug. Even if the hug is only for three seconds, devote your total energy and focus on the person you are hugging.

3. Be gentle.

4. When you finish the hug and are pulling away, make eye contact again.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Toronto Star story on free hugs Jan 16

Clearly the hug phenomenon has Toronto in its arms.

There was a great story in Toronto Star today [Jan16] about hugging in the city. YEA! Clearly a feel good moment and a triumph for huggers.

Let's keep the momentum moving - come out Jan 27 for more!

see details in post below!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hugging inspiration already in Toronto

When researching hug events worldwide, I did find hugging events and experiences alive and well already in Toronto. Hugging moments have been reported on Yonge Street at Dundas.

Toronto Hug Day 2007

Toronto Hug Day 2007
Saturday, January 27 from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square

Public hugging events are a new trend that has already touched down in Toronto. But for those who have not had enough or want to try it for the first time! Embrace the sensation of a hug for ten minutes on Saturday, January 27 from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square, just north of the skating rink during Winterfest.

Complete strangers will hug each other while special guests HugMan and HugWoman will be available for hugs as well as celebrity huggers in attendance.

You may have seen HugMan at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche event. View the HugMan video at

Recent study has shown that most people don’t get enough hugs; we all know the power a good strong hug can have on us.

Hug Day is a reminder that we live in a culture which thrives on over-sexed ideas of physically contact or no contact at all. Hugging is an ideal way to increase contact with others around us in a healthy way.

Science has demonstrated there are tremendous health benefits found in a good old fashioned hug: hugs protect against illness; alleviate feelings of depression reduce stress; motivate better sleep; and strengthen relationships.

Let's continue with sharing the love with another HUG on Saturday, January 27 from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square.