While the weather outside may be frightful, your date nights can be quite the opposite this winter in Toronto. Extend beyond meeting up at your local coffee chain in the city, and plan a (hot) winter date at a beer festival, poetry slam or neighbourhood culinary event.
Winterlicious: Enjoy a high-end meal at a low-end price
The city’s premier winter culinary event Winterlicious returns in January and is the perfect opportunity to indulge in a three-course prix fixe meal with your date at that trendy restaurant you’ve been dying to visit. More than 200 restaurants participate in the celebration of Toronto’s culinary scene. Winterlicious runs from January 26 – February 8, 2018.
Mahjong Bar: Share a drink “in secret”
If you’re wanting to keep your love life low-key or just want the thrill of drinking in a modern-day speakeasy, grab a table at Mahjong Bar. Mahjong is a dining and drinking hideaway that is tucked behind an unassuming pink storefront. Behind it is a spacious bar perfect for a cozy date night. The bar’s House Cocktails are top-notch (there’s even one called Stay Cosy for the lovebirds), wine thoughtfully curated and there’s a selection of 10 beer and ciders on tap. Mahjong also serves up Chinese small plates (tapas) from Wednesday to Sunday. If you find yourself in Kensington Market, Cold Tea provides another hideaway drinking spot tucked away in Kensington Mall.
Toronto Poetry Slam: Be moved by the power of words
If you’re looking a night of riveting heart-felt performances that will have you both laughing, crying and snapping your fingers, head down to the Drake Underground for the Toronto Poetry Slam‘s twice-a-month spoken word competition. In the words of TPS themselves, “this ain’t your grandma’s poetry.” An open-mic is available for sign-up before the competition starts, so feel free to serenade your date on stage. Tip: Admission is only $7.00, allowing your wallet some wiggle room to treat your partner to a nice meal at The Drake’s Lounge beforehand.
Toronto has its fair share of amazing beer festivals featuring pours from the city’s local craft breweries throughout the year. How do you make this even more Canadian? Host it outdoors… in the middle of winter. Steam Whistle Brewery does just that with their Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival in February. You and your date can throw on your best retro ski gear and enjoy pints from thirty-three different breweries that include Flying Monkeys Brewery, High Park Brewery, and Lost Craft. Food vendors will also be on site to pair your food with a delicious bite.
Hot Chocolate for Two: Sip on a cup of the good stuff
Warm up with a cup of the unofficial official drink of the season, hot chocolate. MoRoCo Haute Hot Chocolates are made with handcrafted ingredients with six different flavours of wild and fun concoctions that are 100% Instagrammable. Grab two S’more Loves (topped with whipped cream, graham cookie crumble and toasted marshmallows), and make your relationship Instagram official if you haven’t already. Afterwards, you can stroll south down to Yorkville village and hit up one of the many independent art galleries in the neighbourhood with hot chocolate in hand.
Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival: Watch the best in Canadian cinema
A date to one of Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival screenings will be sure to please any cinephile or casual movie fan. The festival celebrates and promotes contemporary Canadian cinema, helping to raise awareness of Canadian achievements in film. Ten films are selected to be presented at the festival and 2018’s selections include Sadaf Foroughi’s Ava and Alanis Obomsawin’s Our People Will Be Healed. The festival runs from January 12 – 21, 2018.
Allan Gardens Conservatory: Transport yourself to paradise
If the cold weather is getting you down but you don’t have the budget for a spur-of-the-moment romantic getaway to a tropical destination, head to the Allan Gardens Conservatory. The Conservatory features two Tropical Houses, where you and your date can walk hand-in-hand and take in a wide variety of interesting plants. There is also the Palm House that is home to a collection of palms, bananas, and tropical vines as well as a Tropical Landscape House and Arid House, home to a massive display of unusual cacti.
Toronto Raptors: Watch DeRozan dunk
The Toronto Raptors are one Toronto franchise that has consistently made it to the NBA playoffs since 2014 with key players showing the team love and loyalty. Because of this, their fans are known as some of the loudest in the league. Raptors games are always a guaranteed fun night out, with t-shirt giveaways, hilarious inflatable Raptor mascots and entertainment during timeouts.
DJ Skate Night: Skate under the stars
The Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel ice rink takes skating to a whole new level with their free weekly DJ Skate Nights. The “block party on ice” features DJ sets that include a set from 1 Love T.O. and a performance by Soul on Ice. Skate around the rink together while listening to local talent mixing it up. DJ Skate Nights runs Saturdays from December 16, 2017, to February 17, 2018.