WARNING: The following report may shock and offend some readers.
The Toronto Hug Coalition, one of many local factions of the global Free Hugs Campaign, claimed full responsibility for Saturday afternoon’s Hug Day uprising at Nathan Philips Square.
Total strangers of all ages made eye contact, shyly said hello, and HUGGED each other while a band of young men called The Bicycles played indie pop music. Skating at the nearby rink was disrupted when THC mascot Hug Man took to the ice and was swarmed by affectionate small children; soon afterwards, skating was completely halted for a brief moment when everyone hugged everyone else. Nearby, a trio of ten-feet tall giants dressed in bizarre winter carnival garb hoisted unsuspecting youth into the air for dizzying, acrophobic squeezes (see photo, right).
All this, in Toronto The Good? At the steps of our city hall? In front of innocent bystanders (many of them children) celebrating WinterCity in close vicinity? Various netizens responded to announcements of the Hug Day demonstration with threats, taunts, and public admissions of hate and revulsion. Others embraced.
THC organizer Sonja Andic was overheard saying, “the only thing keeping me going in this damp cold is the warmth of continuous hugging.” Andic confesses to hugging approximately thirty people; her sister, fifty. The group is co-ordinating additional operations in undisclosed Toronto locations this spring.
Photos of David Furlong (top) and unknown vertically-gifted hugger (right) by Sharon Harris.