VIDEO: A Year of Hugs at Richardson International Airport

WINNIPEG — James Richardson International Airport celebrated its permanent welcoming mat on Friday by marking the 1st anniversary of the Hug Rug.

The circular rug at the bottom of the stairs in the arrivals area greets airport passengers when they land in the city, providing for the perfect spot to wrap your arms around a loved one.

The concept was born a year ago after an airport staff member came up with the idea. Since then, the rug has become a component at the airport and a common gathering place to squeeze someone close to you.

“We’re impressed with how quickly everyone embraced it,” said Felicia Wiltshire, manager of communications and public affairs with the Winnipeg Airpots Authority. “I think it’s a sign of friendly Manitoba that everyone just embraced the Hug Rug at our airport.”

Wiltshire says it was originally only intended to be used for special occasions or one-time use, but once it was brought out it quickly drew the attention needed to stick around.

“People started tweeting and asking us, ‘Where did the Hug Rug go?’ Then it was decided that it would become a permanent fixture.”

The airport has multiple versions of the rug on hand to switch them out while one is getting cleaned, ensuring there won’t ever be a shortage of hugs to go around.

People are also encouraged to post photos of the rug on Instagram and Twitter using the #YWGHugRug hashtag. video