Free Hugs at Italian Day (Vancouver, BC)

Free Hugs at Italian Day (Vancouver, BC)

June 11, 2017 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Commercial Drive (Vancouver, BC)

2206 Commercial Dr

On June 11 our FREE HUGS will turn into ABBRACCI GRATIS as we celebrate Italian Day! Last year was a huge success as we camped out next to the “Hugs” donut cart from Mollie’s Minis (the giant sign actually says “HUGS!”), created a chalk Hug Zone, and offered free hugs to the seamingly endless flow of people walking up and down Commercial Drive. Get just a taste of what it was like by watching this video:

This year we hope to repeat that magic and even improve on it with some seriously artistic chalk art, bright colors, great outfits and signs, and some amazing hugs! We’ll likely meet up in front of JJ Bean Coffee (Commercial Drive and East 6th Avenue) and then we’ll head into the festival and seek out a good spot (hopefully next to the Hugs donut cart if they are there, fingers crossed). Meet us right at noon and help us pick a good spot, or feel free to come later and find us somewhere along the festival (you won’t miss us). Wear something with bright fun colors (even a onesie if you have one and it’s not too hot) and jump in as we make our Italian friends and people in general super happy! If you don’t feel like hugging, just pick up some chalk and draw some cool stuff in the Hug Zone – it’s all super casual.

What’s a Hug Zone? They were pioneered in Vancouver, BC by Gabriel McCay (one of our best huggers, if not the best) as a method of artistic expression that causes ripple effects. Using sidewalk chalk and creativity, a group collaborates to make an area that draws people in, with wording that encourages hugging. Strangers will accept free hugs within the hug zone, but something magical happens even after the group leaves – people continue to walk into the hug zone and hug each other. Depending on the rain, the hug zones can last weeks, encouraging even more hugs every day. Is there anything more beautiful than artwork that causes actions and emotions? Even if you don’t feel like hugging, come along and you can spend the entire time drawing on the sidewalk like you’re a little kid again! Learn more about The Hug Zone Project at

Never given out free hugs before? Check out and to learn all about it, then just show up with open arms and a smile and that’s all there is to it! We’ll have extra chalk if you feel like drawing, or just laugh and smile! This hugging event is totally free, it takes no preparation, and it requires no commitment whatsoever. Give it a shot and feel free to leave at any time if it’s not for you, but just so you know, you’ll likely find yourself hooked within minutes and you won’t want to leave even after everyone else is gone.

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