Affordable Valentine’s Day date ideas across Canada

Affordable Valentine’s Day date ideas across Canada

Movies, string ensembles and hot chocolate on a budget


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.

That’s $28.02 more than last year and up more than $100 since 2015.

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.

(Sharon VanderKaay / Flickr)

(Sharon VanderKaay / Flickr)

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.

(Dominic Santiago/Flickr)

(Dominic Santiago/Flickr)

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.

film festival

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 chocolate1

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

(Travis McCrea / Flickr)

(Travis McCrea / Flickr)

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.


The Chateau Laurier is seen behind skaters on the the Rideau Canal Skateway on the first weekend of the National Capital Commission's Winterlude Festival in Ottawa, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The Chateau Laurier is seen behind skaters on the the Rideau Canal Skateway on the first weekend of the National Capital Commission’s Winterlude Festival in Ottawa, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang


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.  

String music

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.


Chocolate festival

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.


live performance

Cabaret show 

For just $25 per ticket, you and your partner can enjoy the Cinnamon Heartbreak Cabaret, full of dance performances and live entertainment.

(KAZ2.0 / Flickr)

(KAZ2.0 / Flickr)

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.