How it all started
A large study conducted in 2012 by the Vancouver Foundation showed that socializing is challenging for many residents in the City of Vancouver. Around the same time, many articles and online discussions ensued about Vancouver being a difficult place to meet people.
How did we change this?
We started with one weekend at a time. With a small team of three led by Founder Kaare Long, the inaugural Say Hi to a Stranger weekend took place November 8-10, 2013. Subsequent editions occurred on February 13-15 and August 21-23, 2015. We utilized Social Media as a tool to increase chances of meeting people new. We encouraged the city to say “Hi” to strangers and either film or photograph the experience, or just talk about it on social media with the hashtag #sayhitoastranger.
We started this journey with a skepticism that Vancouver would not respond to our friendly “Hi!”s and that we would be ignored. What Vancouver did was prove us wrong with open conversations, smiles, laughter, joy, and fun. We learned that Vancouver truly can be a social and open city and that most folks need more encouragement to open up and start communicating.
November 2013 and February/August 2015 Campaign results:
- Over 700 instances of engagement with strangers at Community Partner locations
- 20 local businesses Involved as Community Partners
- 6 local neighborhoods involved
- Over 200 buttons given away
- 25 Local Volunteers
- 5 local sponsors
- Over 4000 video views
- Over 7000 website visitors
- Over 2300 mentions of the #sayhitoastranger hashtag (trended on Twitter on November 7, 2013)
- Over 14,000 social media impressions
Thank you to the following individuals and businesses who contributed time, services, or financial contributions during the first editions of Say Hi:
Denise Brennan, Creative Coworkers
Devon Cooke, Storybubble Media
Dina Arsenault, a Cue Creative Consulting
Elina Daoutova, Daoutova Creative
Kelsey Van Lissum
Michela Quilici, Q Consulting Inc.
Mike Martin Designs
Sandra Nomoto, Conscious Public Relations Inc.