By: Suzie Balabuch
“Give me a kiss to build a dream on,” crooned Louis Armstrong. But how about a kiss to build an adorable website on? Chris Kay Fraser, creative writing teacher and founder of the Firefly Creative Writing workshop, became inspired to try to map kiss landmarks across Toronto after a particularly irritating streetcar ride that was brightened by the memory of a great kiss.
Ms. Fraser describes the moment when the memory of a special kiss managed to change her mood and inspire her to create what would become the Toronto Kiss Map, soon to be the Canada Kiss Map.
“I was on a streetcar heading down Queen Street, and I was in a really bad mood. You know how it is on the streetcar, it was moving too slow, and everyone was sweaty and it was raining out and I was just feeling really grumpy. Then I passed this spot where I had this amazing kiss years and years before. Everything just started feeling better.”
After her initial inspiration, Fraser saw the opportunity in her idea and was able to secure a grant from the Toronto Awesome Foundation. “Toronto is full of beauty and connection. I was like, “I wish there was some way I could capture that, so I could always be able to look at the city through that lens.”
What started with a plea to her friends to submit their kiss stories turned into a deluge of kisses of all kinds plotted on a Google map. Now, Fraser is taking the heartwarming project nationwide, launching the Canada Kiss Map on Thursday, February 9, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
As for some particularly popular kissing hot spots, U of T readers will be proud to know that the campus ranks high on the list for kissing landmarks, along with the Toronto Islands and, surprisingly, the Yonge and Eglinton area.
“The map creates a new story of our city. Too often people see Toronto as a place of cold shoulders and missed connections and anonymity, whereas it’s impossible to look at that map and not see it as a place of love and friendship.”
The interactive kiss tracker is open to all submissions of 500 characters or less, and is completely anonymous. Now people all across Canada will have the opportunity to map the spot where they shared a great kiss.
Fraser sums up her project. “I think that that’s the whole point of the kiss map. Telling personal stories creates really beautiful connections between us and our community, between us and our pasts, between us and our readers, and it kind of locates us in that web of human connection.”
Here’s to many more mapped kisses.
To submit a kiss, visit www.torontokissmap.com or www.canadakissmap.com. For more information on the project and Chris Kay Fraser’s writing workshop Firefly Creative Writing, check out the Facebook page.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-inside/kiss-me-canada/.