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Scene: Gifts for Strangers

Torontonians brought unexpected joy to passersby through random acts of giving.

WHERE: Nathan Phillips Square

WHEN: Saturday, December 21, 1 p.m.

WHAT: Gifts for Strangers, an annual event founded three years ago by Improv in Toronto that has now spread to 33 other cities throughout the world. Gifts for Strangers is based on a simple idea: at this time of year, when many people are focused on friends, family, and the most appropriate presents to purchase for friends and family, it’s important to remember those who might not have a supportive social circle—and to spread joy to as many people as possible. So this year, about 50 people met at Nathan Phillips Square, introduced themselves, and then walked toward Yonge-Dundas Square, welcoming other walkers along the way, and handing out presents to complete and total strangers. While organizers had Tim Hortons gift cards and candy-canes on hand for participants unable to bring gifts, many made or bought gifts and included with them a hand-written card with a personal message, and the words “From one stranger to another, Happy Holidays.”