Celebrating Valentine's Day in Canada

Romantic Places and Traditions in Canada

Couple with balloons riding in rickshaw
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Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada much as it is the United States or other Western countries.

One romantic partner sets high expectations for a meaningful gift and the significant other scrambles to buy that meaningful gift, namely lingerie, flowers, chocolates or something else arguably frivolous.

Alternately, many couples eschew making empty purchases just because the media tells them to and instead spend quality time with their loved ones, eating in and watching a movie. 

Not to mention, the pressure social media adds for partners to exchange gifts that are satisfactory at the least. Many tokens of affection will be posted for all to judge. 

Valentine's Day History

Though many may think of Valentine's Day as a holiday advanced by marketing and commercial forces (ie. the greeting card, lingerie or floral industries), it actually has a history — albeit one that is not entirely confirmed — dating back to the pre-Christian Roman era when a pagan festival of fertility was held in mid-February. 

Later, under the reign of the emperor Claudius, a priest named Valentine was executed for marrying young couples - something that had been banned. About 200 years later, the pope declared February 14th St. Valentine's Day, a Christian feast day.

In the years following, authors like Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare romanticized the holiday in their works until it infiltrated the rest of the world. 

Valentine's Day is every February 14th. It may fall on a weekday or weekend.

How Is It Observed?

Valentine's Day is a business day as usual. Businesses, schools, government offices and retail outlets remain open and transportation runs on a regular schedule.

Generally, couples exchange Valentine's Day gifts. The most popular gifts to give are chocolates, flowers, lingerie, dinner out or an otherwise romantic outing. Restaurant reservations or theatre tickets may be harder to get than usual. 

February 14th is also a popular day for men to propose marriage.

Children at schools may exchange Valentine's Day cards, have a Valentine's Day dance or class party with heart-shaped cookies or cupcakes.

Reservations at restaurants, especially romantic ones, should be made well in advance for Valentine's Day.

Think Outside the Box for Valentine's Day

Restaurants, hotels, galleries, cultural centers, spas or stores may offer special programming geared toward couples. For example, Canadian wineries will generally have packages that include wine tasting, dinner and possibly accommodation. 

Indulge in High Tea at one of Canada's famous and historic railway hotels, now operated by Fairmont hotels.

Book a culinary tour in whatever city you're in or try a cooking class. 

Find an art and wine event in which guests sip wine while learning to paint. 

Canada is very much a country in which to celebrate the outdoors and Valentine's Day offers special opportunities in this regard. Snow shoeing under the stars, bungee jumping, ice skating, romantic back country adventures, and zip lining are all ideas for the more adventurous couples. 

Cities like Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto have a lot to offer on Valentine's Day.

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