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Photo provided by Happiness Habits 613

Happiness Habits 613 offers 29 days of community events to cultivate happiness—starting 02.01.20

By Stephen Bierbrier on January 28, 2020


Stephen Bierbrier is co-lead of Happiness Habits 613 and a contributor to Apt613. In between his roles as super dad and a legal beagle, Stephen is a community fitness advocate, runner, hiker, yogi, and cyclist.

Do you want to be happy? Of course you do!

Well, Happiness Habits 613 takes that “happy” factor up a level in February as they cultivate happiness for the entire city. How? 29 days of community events that are linked to the 9 pillars of happiness. For example, creating meaningful experiences, feeling gratitude, being in touch with nature and being part of a community all contribute to our happiness quotient. Why 29? Well, it takes 21 days to make a habit whether it’s flossing your teeth daily or switching up your nutrition plan.

Created in 2015 through local visionaries Manal Nemr, Amy Longard, and Kate Durie, the idea was to launch a community to foster happiness through intentional, every day actions. Happiness research tells us that 40% of our happiness stems from internal activities that we can fully control, while 10% is due to external factors and 50% is from our genes. What we think, say and do impacts our well-being.

Created in 2015 through local visionaries Manal Nemr, Amy Longard, and Kate Durie, the idea was to launch a community to foster happiness through intentional, every day actions.

2020’s co-leaders Stephen Bierbrier and Amanda Cottreau want to build on this solid foundation, and ‘turn it up to 11’.

“February felt like the perfect month to launch the 2020 version since it’s generally a tough month for people to get through, especially when you add in the bonus Leap Year,” Stephen says. “Our offering to the community is simple: connect, take what you need, and inspire others. Happiness has a positive ripple effect on everyone.”

Amanda loves the synergy of February with the Happiness Habits 613 partners. “February is Winterlude which is amazing. So playing off this unique winter festival, we also get to showcase our partners like the Rideau Sports Centre, the National Arts Centre, the Peace Room, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Ottawa Public Library, Danielle Allard, Saje Wellness, Venus Envy, Authentic Relating Ottawa, Fairytale Princess Parties, Fembassy, Bliss Yoga and Thai Massage, The Dancing Healer and Younion Meditation. It’s win win… and it does not cost the public a thing to participate. There really is something for everyone – young and old, new to the city, families, LGBTQ2S+, T-Rexs too – during the month.”

“There are so many amazing weekly and monthly community events in this city year-round that align perfectly with Happiness Habits 613, so we decided to showcase as many as we could in 29 days. Fitness and wellness groups like Ottawa City Run Club, Somerset Runners, Moov Ottawa’s Th3rd Fridays, Arboretum Hill Club, Capital Sessions, Pow Wow Workout, and Movement in Meditation are making a huge difference, and more people should know about them,” Stephen adds.

HH613 events are open to anyone looking to explore and nurture what makes them happy: from learning how to stretch and unwind after a long week at Décathlon yoga, to increasing the heart rate outdoors on a snowshoe hike in Gatineau Park, to sharing your feelings at book club, to making delicious meals for the community at the Parkdale Food Centre. There’s even movie night on Monday, February 24 at 6:30pm where they will be showing … you guessed it … The Happy Movie.

The HH613 launch party featuring DJs, storytelling, dancing and more is Saturday, February 1st at 1pm at The Bridge Public House in the Rideau Sports Centre (1 Donald Street, next to the Adawe pedestrian bridge). Tickets on Eventbrite are free, but there ara only 100 and they are selling out fast.

Be happy.

HH613 is a grassroots volunteer-led initiative that aims to increase happiness and build community in the Ottawa and Gatineau are. Info and events can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Eventbrite.