Illustration of a winter scene in a village with dark blue sky and crescent moon overhead

Illustration by Lauren Emery

5 feel-good stories to make you smile

Kick back and wrap up 2018 with some of the heartwarming reads we fell in love with this year

Need the perfect antidote to December’s overload of turkey, eggnog and obligatory socializing? Here it is: good-news stories about people who are doing awesome things across the GTA. Just snuggle up on your couch (with one last cookie if you like; we’ll join you!) and dig in to five of our fave stories that will warm you up from the inside out.

First, check out the profile of Haniely Pableo (a.k.a. Han Han), an operating room nurse by day and badass Tagalog rapper by night. (The video of her performing is a must-see.) Then head over to the photo essay starring residents of Toronto’s Danforth area, who displayed inspiring resilience—and unconditional love for their neighbourhood—in the wake of July’s shooting.

We really enjoyed learning about the people who volunteer with Special Olympics and keep it running year after year. We loved hearing what it means to them—and to kids like Alma, who adores her Special Olympics coach—to be a part of this organization. We think you will, too.

Next, check out the story of the Parkdale Roadrunners, a fierce group of women who helped newcomer girls run their first big race. And find out how the group has positively impacted all of their lives.

Last, but definitely not least, we fell hard for Kirsten McGoey’s photography project called #aboycantoo, in which she showcases boys of all ages doing and being things that aren’t traditionally considered “masculine.” Check out her photos and discover her inspiration and intentions behind this project.

Happy holidays!

Alma and her mother stand in a field. Alma is dressed all in red and stands with her hands on her hips. Her mother crouches down next to her and holds a blue ball.

Volunteers for Special Olympics change lives—including their own

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The coaches, kinesiologists, event officials and drivers who make Special Olympics possible benefit, too
The rapper Han Han stands in front of a microphone performing with dancers behind her

Operating room nurse by day, badass Tagalog rapper by night

Meet Haniely Pableo (aka Han Han), who is uniting her community one inspiring rap song at a time
Group of women from Parkdale Roadrunners holding up medals

“In the running group, everybody always has your back”

How the Parkdale Roadrunners helped newcomer girls run their first big race—and make strides in their lives.
A male dancer in a black shirt laying back as he's lifted by his peers

“When I was young, I looked at dance as something I had to hide”

How Canadian photographer Kirsten McGoey is celebrating the fact that, yes, boys can too
A young, smiling man in a white polo shirt stands in front of a row of parked cars on Danforth Ave

“The Danforth felt like the safest place ever. And it still does”

We asked residents what makes #DanforthStrong and what they love about the community