Montreal cafe spreading love this holiday season — with free hugs


Julian’s Comptoir is not asking for a lot for Christmas. There’s just one thing they need.

Hugs — free hugs from everyone and for anyone who want the extra affection for the holiday season.

“It’s just amazing to see the reaction of people,” said Julian’s Comptoir co-owner Danny Van Dam. “The smile and joy in their eyes, that’s the spirit of the holidays at the end of the day — it’s not the gifts, it’s not anything material.”

The snack bar and cafe located in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal is offering free hugs to those who may need.

“A hug is simple for some but for those that don’t have family, that are lonely, it can mean a lot,” said co-owner Ruben Pimentel.

The idea came about when the owners thought they should do something to cheer up Montrealers who are suffering from the holiday blues.

“A lot of people are suffering from the winter blues and holiday blues,” said Pimentel. “If we can do our part and inspire other people, why not?”

“People need hugs, need love, so it’s amazing,” said client Manon Picard.

Pimentel said the reaction from the public was unexpected but heartwarming.

“Some are shy, you know, but some of them really want,” he said. “A couple of people came yesterday and would say, ‘yeah I’ll have a coffee and I also came for the hug’.”

“People are freaking out, they love it. They’re smiling, they hug us and they ask for a second one,” said Van Dam.

Some even came for seconds. As Pimentel offered free hugs outside his restaurant, a woman took the offer — and then took it again.

“You see some really need that hug, the lady I just hugged I felt that so deeply,” said Pimentel. “It’s making me emotional.”

The free holiday hugs will last throughout the weekend.