If you’ve been following our Free Hugs adventures, you’ll know that we’ve done (almost) all of them at the Homecoming Memorial by Ship Point in downtown Victoria. Part of the reason for that was that we could stand away from the sidewalk (we offered, but people had to come to us). Part of the reason for that is the statue in the Memorial itself:
And part of the reason, in the 11 years we offered hugs there, became our Hugging Tree. A western white pine, it was just a small sapling when we began in 2010:
Every time we went out we invested time with our tree, sharing hugs, smiles, and stories. This was our tree on our next-to-last hugging session in February 2020:
We did our last Free Hugs session there in March 2020; hopefully we’ll be able to return in the not-too-distant future, but not yet. We still stop by to say hello and invest some time, energy and stories with our tree whenever we’re downtown. We often play games of ‘I saw you first‘ on our way. Our tree has the advantage of height, but we’re more mobile. It’s all in good fun anyway.
On a recent walk-about we thought that even though we can’t (yet) resume our Free Hugs with others sessions, there’s no reason others can’t share smiles and hugs with their own loved ones… so we left this gift instead:
So there you go. If you find yourself walking by the Homecoming Statue, do take a moment to stop by our hugging tree, say hello, and feel free to hug your companions! And before you ask, our tree loves hugs too. Trees give the best hugs.
Also, if you happen to be wandering down the south end of Menzies Street in James Bay, feel free to check out our other Hugging Spot. It currently looks like the image below, but every time it rains it gets washed away and we create something different. More here: We Have Huggers!!
P.S. If you’re in Hawai’i, at least some of the HUGS there have a somewhat different meaning: Help, Understanding and Group Support