|Chris Kay Fraser and her partner Ian Koudstaal re-create their first kiss at Riverdale Park, Toronto. (Photo By: Stephen Caissie)
PDA has reached a whole new level with the Canada Kiss Map.
Celebrating its one year anniversary on Valentine’s Day, the site was born out of the Toronto Kiss Map, an online forum where people literally kiss and tell – sharing stories of their first kisses, last kisses, hot kisses and other connections.
Created by Toronto writing teacher and owner of Firefly Creative Writing Chris Kay Fraser, the Toronto map was started in 2011 to help deal with a bad day in the big city. Fraser originally posted the map on Facebook one night, woke the next day and found dozens of stories – the majority from people she didn’t know.
Now, the Toronto Kiss Map boasts 1,244 smooches and the Canada map has nearly 600.
“I think people have a real human need to tell stories, especially to tell stories of love and sometimes of heartbreak and those are stories that are hard to tell face-to-face,” Fraser says.
“The fact that the map is anonymous and the fact that it limits you to 500 characters per story, it seems to have created this wave of telling these intimate stories on public spheres – it’s suddenly easy to do and people have really taken to that.”
Run on Google Maps, there are a few simple rules; keep it family-friendly, stay anonymous (no names allowed) and keep it under 500 characters. Have more than one juicy or memorable kiss? No problem, post as many as you want.
Fraser manages the sites on her own, but got a boost from the Toronto Awesome Foundation last year to help spruce up the websites and the momentum has continued to build.
“On Valentine’s Day last year when the Canada map launched there was a ton of media attention and a lot of people coming to the site – it was really overwhelming ... I probably read 700 kiss stories and I just wanted to cry by the end of the day,” she said.
“Most of them were beautiful and it was really touching to see how much love people wanted to share with the world and I just had to take it all in.”
Although Fraser says she’d love to see the map grow to other cities such as Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax, she has no immediate plans to expand, as all the expenses have come out of her own pocket. However, she still encourages Canadians to pucker up and share their smooch.
“I hope people take the map as a chance to look into their hearts, consider their histories and reflect on those moments of connection, love and touch,” Fraser says.
“I hope they take the time to share that on the map so when we look at the map of Toronto or the map of Canada we don’t just see snow and space - we can see all the beautiful moments of connection spread across the country.”