Between snow shoveling-induced exhaustion and the seemingly never-ending stress and anxiety of Covid, it’s hard to feel romantic these days. But Valentine’s Day is coming up and if there’s one thing every relationship book tells you, it’s that sometimes you’ve put some effort into keeping the spark alive. Below we round up 11 cute—and not too complicated ideas— that parents can use to reconnect for Valentine’s Day in Toronto.
A few of these ideas might even help liven up your love life a little. One idea we didn’t include: Indoor dining. While we can now eat indoors, restaurants are limited to 50 per cent of their usual capacity (as are movie theaters and other indoor attractions). Mid-February is always a busy time for restaurants, and with that 50 per cent cap in place, many places are already booked up. While you can of course always reach out to your favourite spot, if you haven’t already booked your table, the odds are against you. Maybe see if your partner is open to having a romantic dinner out sometime in March instead.
11 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Toronto
Connect Over Cards
Feeling a bit disconnected from your partner? Then get the kids into bed, grab a bottle of your favourite beverage, and use prompt cards to ignite conversations that can bring you two back together. Toronto company Cool To Connect’s “connection prompts” feature 52 cards that, via questions, aim to get you and your partner to tune into each other. The classic deck asks such questions as, “Share something vulnerable about yourself,” while the After Dark deck is a bit more risqué and wonders, “What do you do to get a love interest’s attention.” Each set, which is shipped from Toronto, goes for $37 each or grab a bundle for $66.
Couples Spa Package
Elmwood Spa, 18 Elm St,, Toronto
While we know most parents would love a night away, just the two of them, we realize that might not be realistic for many couples right now. But what about escaping regular life just for the afternoon? Perhaps you and your special someone can skip out of work early, while the kids are still in school, and visit one of Toronto’s most beloved luxury spas, the Elmwood Spa. It features a number of packages that range from two-and-half to six hours in length and feature massage, water therapies, facials, and even lunch. Pricing starts at $448 and up.
Country Adventure Day Out
Heartwood Farm & Cidery, 5438 2nd Line, Erin
Farm experiences aren’t just for the kids, especially when hard cider is involved! Heartwood Farm, located less than 90 minutes outside of Toronto, makes delicious small batch cider that you can buy (and try) on site. While kids are welcome at Heartwood, leave them with a sitter and take the day just for you and your partner to explore this pretty piece of property (which includes a country-style store). Book a 90-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride and cuddle around the fire with your sweetie while you enjoy a cup of hot apple cider (your choice of alcoholic or non-alcoholic). There is no fee to access the farm but the sleigh ride costs $40 each.
Yes, a gift of chocolates is true Valentine’s Day cliché but hey, sharing sweet treats after the kids are in bed is fa un and easy way to spend some time together. Some of the best chocolates in Toronto can be found at SOMA though others will argue that dark chocolate experts ChocoSol or Mary’s Brigadeiro Brazilian truffles are superior. If you’re looking for a decadent alternative to chocolate, check out The Social Blend’s range of Korean-style macarons and dacquoises, available in such flavours as pineapple, rose milk tea, and raspberry. And if you and your partner are more luxury cake people, check out Delysées, which sells such amazing creations as Nutella tiramisu and a “wildberry” cake that features Madagascar vanilla mousse.
Dinner at Home
In-person dining might be back but plenty of restaurants are still offering fantastic, multi-course takeout meals that are perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day at home. North York Italian restaurant Parcheggio is offering a four-course meal for $95 that features housemade squash and ricotta cannelloni as well as an add-on cocktail called the Love Potion. There’s also a special à la carte menu. Downtown, Marben is offering an ‘80s spin on its Valentine’s Day takeout package, which includes
Swedish meatball stroganoff and a fancy take on Lunchables, in addition to its array of usual take-home offerings.
Live in the east end? There are plenty of options for you too! The always popular Mira Mira in the Beaches is offering a three-course package for $160 that features such main dish options as half a Nova Scotia lobster or braised Ontario lamb shank. Meanwhile over in Leslieville, Maple Leaf Tavern is selling a five-course tasting menu for $195 that includes black truffle arancini and an amazing sounding white chocolate, coconut, and raspberry bavarois for dessert. The Maple Leaf Tavern also offers a couple of other tasting menu options, as well as a steak and Caesar date-night-for-two option.
Trecce, 1792 Danforth Ave., Toronto
Here’s another cute dinner-at-home idea to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Toronto: Serve up some heart-shaped pasta. Mediterranean restaurant Trecce is selling heart-shaped ravioli stuffed with your choice of ricotta or meat. One 450g bag runs $16. Also available is Trecce’s Valentine Day’s gnocchi, which features a bag of the classic potato pasta partially coloured red, for a fun, holiday-inspired touch.
Hotel Escape #1: Upscale
Bisha Hotel, 80 Blue Jays Way, Toronto
What’s that? You and your partner can get away for a couple of nights and you want to splurge on a bit of luxury? Then head downtown to Bisha Hotel, which is currently offering a unique Skate & Stay package for February. It includes breakfast for two and a two-hour slot on Bisha’s private skating rink, located on the hotel’s fourth floor terrace (it even has a “winter chalet” where you two can snack on freshly baked goods and hot drinks). If you book your stay from February 12 to 14, you can opt for the Room for Romance package, which includes even more perks, like one dozen roses. Rooms at the Bisha
start around $500 a night.
Hotel Suggestion #2: Sexy
Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W, Toronto
The recently expanded Drake Hotel now features more rooms, more art, and more delicious food and cocktails. Also found at the Drake? Its unique “pleasure menu,” which features a variety of sex toys that you can have delivered right to your room. You can also opt for such touches as a rose petal turndown and sparkling wine on ice. A Saturday night stay in February starts at around $280.
Hotel Suggestion #3: Romantic
Ste. Anne’s Spa, 1009 Massey Rd., Grafton
Are there romantic hotels in and around Toronto? Of course (the historic King Edward comes to mind). But sometimes when you want romance, you also want a beautiful, country setting; peaceful, star-filled nights and hotels where there are no children. You’ll find all of that and more at Ste. Anne’s Spa. Located about 90 minutes outside of the city, this place is worth the drive to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Toronto, or Grafton. Its February package features an overnight stay at a spa cottage, three meals, afternoon tea, a specialty massage or equivalent in spa credit, and access to the hotel’s fantastic facilities, including hydrotherapy pools, trails and even something called a firecircle. This package starts at $469 per person, per night.
Renew Your Vows (Or Actually Get Married)
Bar Mordecai, 1272 Dundas St. W, Toronto
Ever dreamed of a colourful Vegas-style wedding? Here’s your chance! On February 12 and 13, Dundas West’s Bar Mordecai is transforming itself into the Little Mordecai Chapel of Love, where it will serve up the, “elopement of your dreams.” While the Chapel is set up to do real, legally binding weddings, there’s no reason why you couldn’t book one of its 90-minute slots to do a vow renewal. The $2,900 fee includes photos, a Champagne toast for up to 10 guests, an Elvis serenade, and more.
We-Vibe Scavenger Hunt
This is one scavenger hunt that definitely isn’t for the kids. Vibrator company We-Vibe is sponsoring a sexy scavenger hunt across Toronto and five lucky winners will take whole a year’s worth of free sex toys. The first clue for this in-real-life event kicks off over on the company’s Instagram account on February 12 and participation is free.