Family at the heart of happiness, poll suggests.

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Don’t worry about disappointing sports teams. And sluggish economy be damned. At the dawn of a new year, nearly two-thirds of Ontarians responding to a Forum Research survey said they’re either “extremely” or “very” happy with life.

A big reason for that is family; 30 per cent of respondents said they fill their spare time with family — the top answer in the survey. The Star reached out to some local families to talk about what made them so happy in 2015.

Erella Ganon, right, and 22-year-old daughter, Celeste, are a close-knit family unit, which Erella is quick to emphasize as a major source of happiness in her life.

Brian B. Bettencourt

Erella Ganon, right, and 22-year-old daughter, Celeste, are a close-knit family unit, which Erella is quick to emphasize as a major source of happiness in her life.

Erella and Celeste Ganon

Erella Ganon and her 22-year-old daughter, Celeste, are a close-knit family unit, which Erella is quick to emphasize as a major source of happiness in her life. But she also likes to think of family in a looser sense, extending to her siblings and their children, and even to others unrelated by blood. “Wandering around and thinking that everyone is my family fills me with joy,” she said. “It is like have a superpower. Every small connection or hug becomes more powerful that way.”

Friday night is family night at the Gobins’ apartment. Rainer and Rachel Gobin and their daughter Sahana will watch Netflix over homemade pizza and savour their quiet moments of togetherness.

Vince Talotta

Friday night is family night at the Gobins’ apartment. Rainer and Rachel Gobin and their daughter Sahana will watch Netflix over homemade pizza and savour their quiet moments of togetherness.

Rachel Gobin

Friday night is family night at the Gobins’ apartment on Dupont Street. They’ll watch Netflix over homemade pizza and savour their quiet moments of togetherness. “During the week it’s so hectic, so to just disconnect everything on a Friday afternoon is just so peaceful,” said Rachel Gobin who lives with her husband Rainer and daughter, Sahana, who is 5. “The focus is family togetherness and family fun, forgetting the hubbub of the week and focusing on each other.”

Frederick Ferguson and Jini Jung

For Frederick Ferguson and his husband Jini Jung, it’s all about perspective. The pair has been together for 18 years, and each came to Canada as immigrants from the U.S. “We both feel that happiness is appreciating what you have,” said Ferguson. “If you can’t do that then it’s hard to imagine how you can ever be happy, regardless of how much you have.”

Danielle Appleby, with her husband Andrew and  their children Juliette, 7, and Emilia, 3, says part of the key to hanppiness in their home is laughter. Lots of it.

Andrew Francis Wallace

Danielle Appleby, with her husband Andrew and their children Juliette, 7, and Emilia, 3, says part of the key to hanppiness in their home is laughter. Lots of it.

The Applebys

If happiness is a room at the Applebys’ house in Etobicoke, the key to get in is laughter. “We laugh. A lot,” said Danielle Appleby, who lives with her husband, Andrew, and their daughters, Juliette, 7, and Emelia, 3. “Andrew brings out the silly in us. He is a big kid,” she said. Rounding out the ingredients of their happiness are strength, a quickness to forgive and gratefulness for the life they share, Danielle said. “God has blessed us beyond our dreams and we are so grateful.”

01/01/2016 12:31  By: TORONTO STAR

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