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Toronto shop gets praise for how it’s using billboard

Last Updated Dec 2, 2016 at 11:34 pm EDT

An auto repair shop in Toronto’s west end is getting community praise for how it’s using its personal billboard space. Instead of the usual sales pitch, Master Mechanic High Park is using its store front sign to display messages to anyone who may need some encouragement.

“Sometimes you hear stuff and it’s constantly negative, you just want to bring back the positive and pay it forward,” said Josie Candito, owner of the shop located at the intersection of Dundas Street and Howard Park Avenue.

In their latest billboard, the business has kicked off a kindness campaign that reads “I’m Not Lost! Please take me with you if you are cold. #CommunityHug.” Below, a line of newly purchased scarves taped all around the structure, for anyone who may need it, especially on days where the temperature is cold and frigid.

“One hug equals one scarf, it’s like me personally giving you a hug,” Candito explains. “It’s a reminder for everyone this season, maybe give something up, be nice to someone, or be there for someone who’s gone through a hard time.”

Candito, who has owned the shop for 17 years, started this act of kindness on the night of November 28th. She says 60 out of the 100 scarves purchased have already been given away. So far, Candito and her co-workers have spent $1,500 purchasing the scarves, which she says are needed by people in her community.

“People don’t have pressure, they can just go get one, and a reminder that someone does care about them,” Candito said.

Although the giveaway is a first for the business, using the billboard to display positive messages, is nothing new. For the last three years, Master Mechanic High Park has displayed encouraging messages, everything from spreading love and positivity to paying tribute to beloved pets.

Mechanic 8

“I have people who have emailed me who said they’ve been having such a terrible day, crying and it’s made their day,” Cardito tells CityNews. “It warms my heart to know that I can do something to make things better.”

The billboard is changed every couple of days with a new message, but this latest sign might stay up longer than intended. The #CommunityHug campaign was only supposed to run for a week, but Candito says with the high demand, the shop will continue offering the scarves here throughout the winter months.