Huron Hygge initiative aims for a cozy, relaxing winter
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Building upon the success of Huron County’s “In Your Backyard” campaign this summer, aimed at showing residents all the county has to offer, this winter it will all be about Huron Hygge.
Hygge – which is pronounced “hoo-ga” – is a Danish concept that focuses on being “cozy” and emphasizes self-care, contentment and well-being, especially through the long winter months.
Rick Sickinger, the county’s acting tourism officer, said the concept is very popular in North America right now, but for Huron County, it made perfect sense as the follow-up to the In Your Backyard campaign that urged residents to remain in Huron County and discover all of the unique and wonderful things about their community.
Huron Hygge will be the same, but through the winter, a time in which Huron County residents haven’t traditionally done much travelling anyway. In fact, Sickinger jokes, Huron County residents have engaged in hygge for years, they just didn’t know it had a name and a Danish heritage.
Sickinger said the county’s tourism and economic development departments will be encouraging residents to engage in the hygge lifestyle this January and February with plenty of online packages and events to keep people home, cozy and safe this winter.
One of the first initiatives of Huron Hygge, he said, will be pre-made boxes featuring unique products all made in Huron County. Working with 519 Tours, Sickinger said that hygge boxes will be premade, featuring some creative items from throughout the county. Some of the businesses and items that will be included, Sickinger said, even surprised him.
These “Hygges in a Box” can be ordered online and delivered to your home once the site goes live at ontarioswestcoast.ca. Sickinger said initial plans were for Huron Hygge to run between January and February, but there is so much enthusiasm around the project that some content may be available as early as later this month, Sickinger said.
Another aspect of the program is to encourage creativity at home through several online workshops with local businesses.
For example, Sickinger said, Huron Hygge will be working with Jennifer Triemstra-Johnston from the Fashion Arts and Creative Textiles Studio (FACTS) in Blyth for some winter crafts.
People can order a box for the workshop, which will include all the items they’ll need to make the item, then they can participate in the online workshop during which Triemstra-Johnston will demonstrate how the item is made.
Other potential Huron Hygge experiences will include livestreamed concert nights that will coincide with purchasing take-out meals from local restaurants and then enjoying the show from the comfort of your home. There will even be an online book club. The club will be run by the Huron County Library, bringing together people to all read the same book by a Canadian author, leading up to an interactive event with the author after members have finished the book.
Sickinger says the Huron Hygge section of the ontarioswestcoast.ca website will include all of the activities and a calendar of events, once the section of the site is live.
The program is coming together nicely, Sickinger said, with plenty of entertaining activities set for the winter. Not only does he hope residents who choose to take part in Huron Hygge enjoy what they get through the program, but he’s also hoping they’ll learn a bit more about the county along the way.
He has been surprised at some of the merchants and artisans who have turned up to take part and they may be hard to find for many unless you’re specifically looking for them. Through Huron Hygge, a lot of these talented people will get some exposure they may not have otherwise had.
For more information, visit the website at ontarioswestcoast.ca.