Love is blind. It’s also expensive. The average Canadian spends $305.56 for a “fancy” date night (which includes a nice dinner and theatre tickets) according to RateSupermarket’s annual “Cost of Love” survey.
But before you book the cliché, overpriced (and some say boring!) dinner or order the dozen long-stem roses, there are several ways to spice up this Valentine’s Day, without blowing the budget.
We’ve found plenty of options across the country that will delight without breaking the bank.
Southern Ontario Orchid Show
Flowers say romance. But what’s better (not to mention cheaper and more memorable) than buying your bae a bouquet of roses? If you live in Toronto, stop by the Ontario Orchid show. Entry is just $12 and you’ll be able to take a nice stroll and maybe even purchase an orchid or two to celebrate your love.
Toronto Light Fest
If you haven’t already, maybe save your trip to the Toronto Light Fest for V-day. It runs until March 12 and has several stunning light installations, giving you the perfect backdrop to take cute pictures with your significant other. Best, part? It’s free.
Visit the Aga Khan Museum
Learn and reflect with your partner as you stroll through the Aga Khan Museum. Admission is free for Welcome Weekend on February 11-12, 2017. Sadly, a trip to the Aga Khan’s private island not included.
Romantic short film festival
Have a romantic short film marathon at the Feedback Romance Toronto Film Festival on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Carlton Cinemas in downtown Toronto. Tickets are free or pay what you like. Details here.
Hot chocolate festival
If you’re looking to make an impression, experiences beat out gifts every time. This year, why not skip the boring chocolates and take your partner to Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Fest for a nice outing instead. Try an interesting beverage or two and explore the city while you’re at it. Prices vary depending on where you decide to stop.
Free skating in Robson Square
Vancouverites can go for a romantic skate date at Robson Square. Oh, and if your date is going really well, you can get married for practically free in the square, too. Just bring your marriage license and a donation to a local charity.
Stop by the fun and games of Winterlude. It’s free! Take your loved one for a walk through Confederation Park’s Crystal Garden among dazzling ice sculptures. Or have a nice, romantic skate down the Rideau Canal.
Dine with a string ensemble
Enjoy delicious food and sounds from Anthony Bacon & the Canadian Armed Forces String Ensemble at The Albion Rooms, just steps from ByWard Market. Tickets are just $20 for the February 14 event.
Walk under the stars at Mount Royal Park
Take an evening trek through Mount Royal Park on snowshoes or cross-country skis. They’re offering a special Valentine’s Day trip on Feb. 10 and 11 for $23 per person. It includes snowshoe rentals, mulled wine and chocolate truffles.
Enjoy the chocolate festival in Montreal, “Je t’aime en chocolat,” which runs from Feb. 10-12. Adult tickets cost just $2. You can watch master chocolatiers at work or buy your own gourmet treats.
For just $25 per ticket, you and your partner can enjoy the Cinnamon Heartbreak Cabaret, full of dance performances and live entertainment.
Relax in the hot springs
It’s a bit of a drive, but a trip to the Banff Hot Springs might be worth it for you and your loved one. Entry is only $7.30 a piece so you can feel luxurious without spending a fortune.