Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is on its way. The pressure to plan the perfect date can be crushing—and sometimes it feels easier to convince your significant other that, truly, staying in for a Netflix binge is the most romantic way to spend date night. But Toronto is one of the best cities in the world to be on a date and it’s a shame to miss out on all this city has to offer. Take a look at these top picks for perfect winter date ideas.
#1 – Go dogsledding in the Ontario countryside
Can you really call yourself a Canadian if you’ve never been dogsledding? Toronto Adventures runs winter dogsledding tours north of the city—and will pick you up and drop you back off at Keele subway station. Treat your sweetie to a day of dogsledding through the unparalleled Ontario countryside, followed by roasted marshmallows, s’mores, and hot chocolate by the fire. Playing with puppies is an added bonus.
#2 – Check out a romantic tour of Toronto’s Distillery District
The Distillery District is especially magical during winter days. You can check out the galleries, go shopping, and have a romantic meal. Even better, check out Go Tours Canada’s classic Distillery Walking Tour where you’ll learn all about the history of this district, discover some shocking stories of Toronto during prohibition, and enjoy samples of warm sake, hearty craft beers, and Soma hot chocolate. Depending on your budget, check out dinner at one of the Distillery’s gourmet restaurants after or take in a play at Soulpepper. And don’t forget the obligatory Instagram shot under the heart sculpture.
#3 – Get creative with wine at Pinot’s Palette in the Junction
If you’d rather not venture outdoors this Valentine’s, get cozy at Pinot’s Palette in the Junction. This isn’t like your public school art class—here they walk you through the creation of your own masterpiece step by step, helping you with color mixing, paint application, and composition. Not to mention, they have a licensed bar, well stocked with all the liquid courage you’ll need for date night. Located in the heart of the Junction, grab a drink at one of the nearby watering holes after or check out who’s playing at the Junction City Music Hall.
#4 – Put on your plaid for BATL axe throwing
What’s cozier than a lumberjack fantasy? Put on your plaid and work up a sweat with your sweetie at this newest Canadian pastime, axe throwing, at one of BATL’s four locations in the GTA. Check out their drop-in hours for a laidback date for two: Friday 5pm–8pm, Saturday 11am–2pm, and Sunday 2pm–5pm. If you end up at BATL near the Distillery make sure to drop into Soma for a Mayan hot chocolate after. It’s so delicious!
#5 – Cruise Toronto’s bars on a late-night cocktail tour
Canadians know the best way to stay warm in the winter is the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. Stay warm on the inside with your date on Toronto Food Tour’s awesome late-night cocktail tour. You’ll have an opportunity to see the city like never before, skip the lines, and meet other night owls who live and breathe Toronto’s exciting nightlife.
#6 – Learn to make your own cocktails at the Toronto Institute of Bartending
Rather than just tasting the cocktails, how about learning how to make your own? And we’re not talking about mixing the dregs of your liquor cabinet with whatever mix you’ve got in the fridge. Right in the heart of Toronto’s trendy Distillery District, check out the Toronto Institute of Bartending. Book their private 90-minute cocktail-making class, finally learn what the heck bitters are, and sample everything that you make. Next stop—the LCBO, and midnight margaritas can finally become your thing.
#7 – Try your hand at a cooking class in the heart of Little Italy
Going out for dinner is a go-to date anywhere, but how about taking a cooking class instead? Dish Cooking Studio is a favorite among foodies who love gourmet food they can make in their own homes, from warm Middle Eastern dishes, classic Italian fare, French bistro, and Canadian comfort food. This wonderful and well-designed studio in Little Italy offers special date night cooking classes where the two of you can savor everything you make and pick up some kitchen hacks to take home with you. After the class you can go for a nightcap in one of the many bars nearby.
#8 – Make some funky clay bowls together at Clay Design Studio
If you’re both not afraid of getting your hands dirty, try out a pottery making class in Harbord Village. At Clay Design Studio you can sign up for a pottery class and finally figure out what all the fuss about the potter’s wheel is about. You don’t have to be good at it—the point is to have fun. The studio is located at Harbord and Brunswick, so skip down the street to Harvest Kitchen for a tasty meal after the class.
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