Say 'Hi!' To A Stranger - And Melt Vancouver's Icy Reputation

Published Feb 2, 2015

Are Vancouverites really as cold as our reputation? Whether you agree with this perception or not, a fun initiative by local businesses and change-makers is taking our fair city by storm February 13-15. Will you join the movement?

Have you heard that Vancouver is a cold city? Our climate is definitely something to boast about but, rumour has it, we’re a stick-to-ourselves, unfriendly bunch. Is this true? Enough people seem to think so that we’ve earned a bit of an icy reputation. If you are single and looking for love, it’s supposedly tough to catch a break in our fair city.

Not wanting this perception to overshadow our beautiful shoreline and rugged mountains, a group of entrepreneurs and change-makers are taking Vancouver by storm, one ‘hi’ at a time!

From Friday February 13 to Sunday February 15, Vancouverites are dared by a Cue Creative Consulting and several local businesses to step out of their comfort zones and say “Hi!” to strangers. The hashtag #sayhitoastranger will serve as a conversation about these experiences on all social media platforms.

Though this campaign started as a result of Chelsea Pescitelli’s article Single in Vancouver: The Asocial Single Society, Kaare Long of a Cue Creative Consulting suggests the loneliness affects everybody, not just the ones who aren’t partnered up. Who wouldn’t benefit from a friendly encounter? A smile and a ‘hi’ could go a long way in brightening someone’s day.We’re all busy – rushing off to somewhere or the other – and are probably thinking of a million things along the way. But a smile and a ‘hi’ can make those hectic days just a little nicer. And who knows? They could even spark up a light conversation or even a friendship.

As parents, we are hyper-aware of people we don’t know around our children and we warn our kids about stranger danger. And while that caution is necessary for children, there’s also the saying that a stranger is simply a friend you haven’t met yet. As adults, we have more control over our interactions with other adults – we aren’t bringing harm to ourselves if we flash a smile and a hello when catching someone’s eye at the grocery store. And giving a friendly nod at someone walking in the opposite direction in our bustling downtown core doesn’t pose a risk.

Here’s a fun video presented by Kaare and Adam in response to the article about Vancouver’s frigid personality.

To entice you to join this movement, during the weekend of Feb 13-Feb 15 Vancouver businesses will be giving out free food, drinks, gifts and other promotions in exchange for the code phrase, “Say hi to a stranger!”

For more information on the checkpoints and sponsors of #sayhitoastranger, you can visit and find them on Facebook www.facebook/com/sayhitoastranger

In my experience, a city is only as friendly or as unfriendly as you want it to be. It’s rare that one can be kind and courteous without seeing the same thing back. Taking the initiative can feel like a challenge initially, but is probably one of those things that gets easier with practice.

What do you think about saying hi to strangers? Do you do it? 

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