Valentine's Day is always on February 14 and in Toronto there are many options for celebrating, whether as a couple or group of friends. Specific events vary from year to year and the city doesn’t have any marquee events representing Valentine’s Day such as a parade or annual celebration, but there is no shortage of fun and romantic things to do. Toronto has numerous romantic restaurants to choose from, but be sure to make a reservation well in advance if you want to ensure a table on February 14. In addition, there are plenty of other ways to show your love or just celebrate love in and around the city.
Here are some Valentine’s Day ideas for anyone looking for something fun to do on February 14 that can also make for a romantic way to spend an afternoon or evening in Toronto.
Go on a Skating Date
Toronto is home to numerous outdoor skating rinks perfect for an active Valentine’s Day date. The rink at Nathan Philips Square and Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre are two of the largest and most popular and both have skate rentals available. For an added twist, on Saturday, February 9, 2019 you can head to a DJ Skate Night at Natrel Rink wherein you and your date can skate to the sounds of a DJ at one of the best winter parties in the city. The fun happens from 8 to 11 p.m.
Plan an Indoor Picnic
Snagging a seat at your restaurant of choice on Valentine’s Day can be tough so instead of scrambling to find the ideal table for two, plan a romantic DIY picnic. Head to one of Toronto’s best gourmet and specialty food shops and stock up on some goodies like cheeses, olives, bread, local preserves and whatever else you think will round out the meal. Add a well-priced bottle of wine and you’re all set to have a cozy night in with some delicious food and drink – minus the hefty price tag.
Alternatively, if you’d rather celebrate with some of your favorite people, coupled or otherwise, plan a Valentine’s Day potluck wherein everyone brings their favorite dish and drink of choice.
Check out the Toronto Light Festival
Located in one of Toronto’s most picturesque neighbourhoods, the Historic Distillery District, the Toronto Light Festival is well worth checking out on or around Valentine’s Day. Much of the pedestrian-only district is transformed into an Instagram-worthy light show, filled with light-based art installations well worth coming out of hibernation for. The event runs until March 3, 2019 and admission is free. Make an evening out of it and stop for a drink or something to eat at one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants found throughout the Distillery District.
Explore Ontario Place Events
Why not put Ontario Place on your Valentine's Day itinerary to take advantage of the winter events on offer at the iconic Toronto attraction? There’s a lot going on to explore during the month. First up, is the Winter Light Exhibition, a series of installations using light along with various other artistic forms to create a winter wonderland. In addition, there’s the chance to skate on the synthetic skating rink (rentals are available), see the extensive series of fairy lights covering 150 trees that make for a romantic backdrop to an outdoor date, warm up at the bonfire area, or have fun at the skate party happening on February 9, 2019.
Take a Winter Island Getaway
Toronto Islands aren’t just a spring and summer destination. So long as the weather is fairly cooperative (as in, there’s no mega wind chill or a massive blizzard), bundle up and take the ferry (a mere $7.87) across to the Islands for a fun, budget-friendly Valentine’s Day. While there’s not as much to do during the winter as there is in the warmer months, you can still enjoy an outdoor escape minus the crowds you’d see in the summer. Active couples can spend some time cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
Play Some Board Games
Toronto’s interest in board games is so far not waning. In fact, bars and cafes dedicated to board game culture continue to thrive. So if you and your Valentine are feeling a bit competitive, spend the evening with your favorite games. There are plenty of options when it comes to where to play, including Castle Board Game Café, Snakes and Lattes (which has three locations), For the Win Café and A-Game Café. Up the stakes by having the loser be responsible for drinks or dinner afterward.
Book a Couples Spa Retreat
Feel like you’re on vacation – at least for a little while – with a couples spa package. Elmwood Spa in downtown Toronto offers several options for couples, all of which include use of the spa’s water therapies for an added dose of romantic relaxation. Most packages also include dinner for two at the spa so you can make a whole afternoon of it Check the website closer to Valentine’s Day to take advantage of any additional packages or deals to be had, but do book well before the 14th to ensure you get the dates you’re looking for.