How To Celebrate Valentine's Day In Canada From Coast-To-Coast
Posted: Feb 05 2015
Romance isn’t hard to find in Canada, especially on Valentine’s Day. Check Out Our Swoon-Worthy Suggestions For A Romantic Outing From Coast-To-Coast.
It could be that the long and cold days of winter bring something out in us. Read on to discover wonders and delights from coast-to-coast to suit every style - the adventurer, the cosmopolitan, the hopeless romantic and of course, The Chic Canuck.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth in Vancouver
If the heart is the unofficial symbol of Valentine’s Day, chocolate follows closely behind. Ancient civilisations believed it to be an aphrodisiac (one recent study found that women who ate chocolate regularly had a higher libido than those who refrained!), not to mention the many health benefits. Fortunately, Valentine’s Day marks the last day of Van City’s annual Hot Chocolate Festival with a number of participating eateries serving up wild and delicious flavours. Afterwards, head to the posh Market by Jean-George (often listed as one of Vancouver’s most romantic restaurants) for dinner and a movie, where they will be screening the film - how appropriate - Chocolat.
Have a Great White North Adventure
Canada’s North is a magical place, especially in Winter when the nights are long and the northern lights dance. On a clear night, if you’re lucky, you can see them: Collisions between electrically charged particles… what could be more romantic than that? Valentine’s Day is a popular time for northern getaways, to places like Blachford Lake Lodge and Wilderness Resort in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, or Northern Lights Resort & Spa in Yukon. Explore on foot (snowshoeing, that is) or by dogsled - there are countless adventure companies offering dog sledding tours. Then, spend those long nights in the lodge, warming up by the fire.
Say I Love You on the Slopes
Ski trips have always been the ultimate romantic getaway - get your adrenaline pumping on the slopes and wind down with a bottle of wine in a warm cabin or “chalet.” Whether it’s adventure or relaxation seek - Whistler Blackcomb has it all. Enjoy the stunning mountain views while perusing the trendy shops and eateries, or spend the afternoon snowmobiling and zip-lining. Start your day of romance with something sweet from Whistler’s adorable Crepe Montagne Creperie - you’ll feel like you’re in the French Alps. Then, snuggling up to your sweetheart on the peak-to-peak gondola ride between Whistler and Blackcomb. Then, enjoy a massage après le ski at Whistler’s Scandinave or Taman Sari Spas before dining at a top-notch restaurant like Araxi or Rimrock Cafe. Of course, for those who can’t make it out west, Blue Mountain in Collingwood and Mont Tremblant are solid alternatives, offering the best of the lifestyle on a smaller scale.
Melt Away in one of Canada’s Hot Springs
Western Canada boasts some of the best natural hot springs in the world. It’s a rare opportunity to be outdoors in a bathing suit in winter, and of course, hot tubs are the perfect way to get up close and personal with your valentine. But natural hot springs also have some really great health benefits - aside from the relaxation factor, geothermal springs are rich with minerals like magnesium and epsom salts. Enjoy the mountain views at hot spring hot spots like Alberta’s Banff Upper Hot Springs, or Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park. Springs can flow at temperatures of up to 54 degrees celsius - things are bound to get steamy.
Discover the Heart of Canada
A few years back, a study reported that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was the most romantic spot in the nation. Perhaps it has something to do with the quaint bridges that cross the river and its small but mighty skyline, or the fact that it has one of the highest rates of restaurants per capita in the country. It could also be that the small town of Love, Saskatchewan is only a few hours drive away. Every year, tourists flock to the small village, just Northeast of Prince Albert. This year, Love, Saskatchewan is hosting their 44th annual “Valentine’s Festival” featuring a steak dinner, various winter activities, fireworks, a cabaret and the appointment of the official festival “king and queen.”
Show Your Love for the Game
This year, valentine’s day falls on a Saturday - which is better known in this country as “Hockey Night in Canada.” How fitting then that the Winnipeg Jets are playing the Detroit Red Wings on Valentine’s Day at 7 pm. So chances are, if you live in Manitoba, your romantic evening is going to intersect with the Canadian tradition of hockey on Saturday nights. The Jets are on fire this season and Winnipeg has a chance to make the playoffs for the first time in decades. For those who can’t make the trip to Detroit to catch the game live, Winnipeg has a great selection of gastro pubs and lounges including The Grove Pub and Restaurant, Yellow Dog Tavern and Peasant Cookery Lounge.
Take In Toronto’s City Views
Toronto’s skyline is arguably one of the most recognizable and beautiful in the world. Until recently, the CN Tower, completed over 40 years ago in 1976, towered over the international architectural community reigning as the tallest free-standing structure in the world. Today it sits at number 6, lighting up the town in various colours every night - and it will surely glow red on Valentine’s Day. Toronto’s modern architecture and skyscrapers can best be appreciated from one of the city’s top (pun intended) restaurants, such as the Park Hyatt Roof Lounge, uptown favourite Scaramouche, the Thompson Hotel Rooftop Lounge or from within the action atop the financial district at Canoe. Of course, for the ultimate 360 degree dining experience of Toronto, nothing beats the timeless romance of the revolving restaurant atop the CN tower. No matter how many times we’ve been, it never fails to get our hearts racing.
Skate the Rideau Canal
Ice skating is such a classic Canadian pastime - it’s not only a fun activity and workout, it’s nostalgic. This is especially true if you’re skating along a Unesco World Heritage Site - the Rideau Canal is over 200 kilometers long and in winter, becomes the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink. Many of us in Canada had skates on our feet the moment we learned to work. But if one of you as, well, two left skates, simply hold onto your sweetheart tightly and let them be your trusted guide. Bonus: Valentine’s day also happens to occur during Ottawa’s Winterlude or “Bal de Neige,” Ottawa’s annual festival of all things ice and snow, and includes ice sculptures by prominent artists, entertainment and food from top local restaurants.
Fall in Love at Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls goes by the nickname “The Honeymoon Capital of the World,” and with good reason. World-renowned for the beauty and magnificence of its water falls, tourism to the region dates back to the 1800s when the city became a North American honeymoon hotspot. Today, lovebirds flock to the frozen falls for Valentine’s to take advantage of one of the many stay and spa packages offered by its hotels and resorts. Visitors can choose from a fallsview room or head to a bed and breakfasts in nearby wine country. Spots like Harbour House, Queen’s Landing and The Shaw Club and Spa have year-round charm - but for the best view of the falls, get a room with a jacuzzi at the Marriott.
Time Travel to Montreal’s Historic Old Port
Located in Old Montreal, along the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the old port was used as far back as the early 1600s by Fur Traders as a trading post. Today, you can bundle up and stroll along the Rue de Commune or visit one of Montreal’s hottest spas, Bota Bota spa-sur-l’eau. Located inside an actual boat, it is literally a spa on the water, complete with a water circuit, spa treatments, yoga-pilates, a restaurant and stunning views of the river and port. The Old Port is also home to some of Montreal’s best restaurants including the very romantic Gibby’s, which is housed in a 200 year-old building. The stone walls, beamed ceilings and fireplaces all add to the atmosphere but the food speaks for itself. Other excellent options include Club Chasse et Pêche, Garde Manger and Mercuri.
Spend the Night in a Historic Chateau
Built in the late 1800s, Chateau Frontenac is a grand hotel and monumental focal point of Quebec City. Located on the St. Lawrence River, the hotel has hosted royalty, political figures and celebrities over the past century. Today, it continues to be the centrepiece of Quebec City’s fairy tale ambiance, offering visitors a unique opportunity to spend a night in a historic chateau. Known for its opulence and grand scale, it’s more than a place to stay - it’s an experience, a chance to feel like royalty for a night or two. When the cobblestone streets of the old city are covered in snow, espace into a modern day castle.
Explore the Enchanting East Coast
Winter offers a unique and starkly picturesque side of Atlantic Canada. Destinations like Nova Scotia’s Peggy’s Cove see fewer tourists and the ice and snow can make for gorgeous embellishments. Perhaps one of the best examples of this stark beauty is the haunting and otherworldly landscapes of Newfoundland’s Fogo Island, one of the “four corners of the Earth,” which features the works of brilliant international architect, Todd Saunders. This includes the Fogo Island Inn, which is offering a special packages for Valentine’s Day. Romance is easy to find throughout the East Coast: New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy is home to the Lover’s Arch at the Hopewell Rocks as well as the Hartland Covered Bridge - a National Historic Site and the longest “Kissing Bridge” in the world. The Atlantic region offers a range of accommodations to suit any style, from cabins and bed and breakfasts to luxury resorts - try Halifax’s Historic Waverly Inn or a Titanic-themed stay at the five-star inn, Ryan Mansion in St. John’s. Of course, for many East Coasters, romance means getting close over an ice fishing hole with your lover at a cozy cottage or lodge.