How to Celebrate Valentine's Day in Toronto
There's something sweet for everyone in the city for this holiday.
Planning a romantic getaway in Toronto for Valentine's Day weekend? We've been sleuthing to find you some of the best ways to discover the city, enjoy sumptuous feasts and hotel packages, and make it an all-around unforgettable trip.
There are great food tours you can take in the city on Valentine's Day, and we've got the 411 on two of the best. Foodies on Foot has created "I Got Love in My Tummy," an aphrodisiac-themed day tour. Founder Steve Hellman and his team offer five "best of" locations in various neighborhoods, with samples of treats deemed to have the alchemistic qualities. You'll move around on the TTC (either subway or streetcar) and get an insider's look into the shops and streets you visit.
On February 13 and 14, explore the culinary richness and vibrant heritage of Chinatown with A Taste of the World's celebratory Chinese New Year weekend, which includes a special Valentine's Day feast. Hosted by owner Shirley Lum, you'll learn good luck greetings in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese, settle into a curated New Year's dim sum (which means "touch the heart" in Cantonese) brunch featuring auspicious dishes, and tour an Asian grocery, bakery, and restaurant supply store in case you want to recreate any of what you sampled. Finally, you'll welcome 2016, the year of the Monkey. Lum, a sweets expert, may even prepare her famous heart-shaped truffles for lucky guests.
Dinner à Deux
Although most every eatery in the city will be offer a prix fixe dinner service, likely two seatings, they're not all created equal. If you'd like to add some Latin spice to your night, head over to the St. Lawrence Market area's Barsa Taberna, where you'll enjoy a glass of Spanish Cava along with nine courses ranging from curados (cured meats), to del mar (seafood) and del campo (of the land) in a pinxtos and tapas format (from $52 per person). If romance and French fare speak amour to you, perhaps a four course feast at Cafe Boulud might be parfait. Courses include a starter of beef tartare with its accompanying condiments, or a plate of Canadian oysters with a celery and apple jelly, followed by a pike quenelle in a cognac lobster sauce, a main of braised short rib, and a dessert including vanilla ice cream-filled profiteroles drizzled with a candied pecan and dark chocolate sauce (from $86 per person)
Stay a While
The wild and wonderful Gladstone Hotel, in the city's west end, offers a variety of Valentine's programming, including their Heartbreak Karaoke, a lively game of Rom Com Trivia and a Missy Elliot Dance Party which is sure to fill the dance floor. Special hotel packages include the When Harry Met Gladstone Package—it includes champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and breakfast in the cafe. The All by Myyyyself Package features a bottle of wine, a journal, popcorn, and a box set of Bridget Jones' Diary
In the city's entertainment district, the InterContinental's Romance Package (starting at $192 a night) offers a deluxe room with chocolate truffles and strawberries, credit toward a treatment at the on-site spa, breakfast for two and a late checkout. At the boutique Drake Hotel, the Pillow Fight Package offers guests a sleepover in one of the hotel's "crash pads," a custom pillowcase and pillow fight invitation sent to your sweetheart in advance of your stay, plus more (from $199 a night). The requisite late checkout is also available.
Mary Luz Mejia covers Toronto for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter.