With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s time to think about the best way spoil the special person in your life. From a romantic dinner to chocolates and flowers, there are lots of different ways to express your affection. However, if you’ve got a holiday to Canada booked, why not really show off by treating your partner to a special, indulgent experience while you’re out there? The country has so much to offer when it comes to romantic settings, from stunning mountains to chic cities and intimate natural spots, so there is something for every couple to enjoy. Here are our top experiences for a romantic escape to remember:
Ride into Banff National Park
Just a short hop after your flights to Calgary, Banff National Park is famous for its pristine ski slopes and its breath taking views of the Rockies. Banff town may be adorably quaint and cosy but it is mere moments away from the wilderness Canada is so renowned for. Why not have a unique view of this beloved national park by exploring it from a true Canadian view point – on horseback?
Banff Trail Riders offers an incredible experience for those couples who love adventure and want to be at one with nature. Make your way from lodge to lodge with an equine companion and enjoy the true backcountry of Canada. Melissa from Banff Trail Riders is assured that their breaks are the right blend of wildness and comfort:
“I think you only have to look at our images to see how special the experience is riding into the backcountry of Banff National Park. You’ll experience remote parts of Banff most visitors just don’t see. We are one of the few outfitters in Canada to offer lodge to lodge horseback riding trips and the only outfitter in Banff National Park that has their own backcountry lodges and campsites.
“Those backcountry lodges are warm, cosy with just the right amount of rustic. With comfort features like solar power, hot showers and food, great food that makes you run when the dinner bell rings.”
A new way to say it with roses
Just upriver from the famous falls, the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens are the heart of serenity and are perfect for couples looking for a quiet mooch in each other’s company. In the summer, the botanical gardens are alive with colour while in the winter months, the blanket of snow puts a spell of quiet over the place. Chelsey from the gardens informed us of the beauty of the area:
“Our beautifully maintained gardens include a diverse collection of perennials, rhododendrons and azaleas, a formal parterre garden, herb and vegetable plantings, and our world-famous rose garden that features over 2,400 roses. Guided horse and carriage tours of the gardens are available daily during the summer months.
“Located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, our beautiful glass-enclosed Butterfly Conservatory is filled with lush vegetation, trickling waterfalls and thousands of vibrantly coloured butterflies from Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Philippines. Guests can also visit the emergence window within the conservatory to witness butterflies drying out their wings as they prepare to take their first flight.”
After enjoying a little peace and quiet together, continue upriver to the picturesque Niagara on The Lake. Shop in the beautiful boutiques and find the perfect gift for your significant other.
Find your new favourite vintage
For couples with a foodie focus, spend an afternoon enjoying Canada’s well-established wineries. Wandering through vineyards and sampling their produce is a wonderful way to while away a day with a significant other. The prime wine regions in Canada are Niagara in Ontario and Okanagan in British Columbia. Jackson–Triggs Niagara Estate is near the famed falls and was founded in 2000 and since has been devoted to beautifully premium and high-quality produce. Enjoy a tour to understand the process and have a sneak peek behind the scenes of your favourite drinks. Cristal told us about the experience for guests:
“When visiting Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate, one receives a rare glimpse behind the scenes at how our winemaking team crafts award-winning wines in this state-of-the-art, gravity-flow assisted facility that was designed exclusively for the production of premium VQA wines. Wine education tours begin with sparkling wine in the Great Hall, overlooking the vineyard, where an intimate group experience becomes an adventure in every aspect of winemaking. From initial pressing of the grapes, to barrel aging in the cellar, guests can enjoy sampling a variety of wines throughout the tour.
“Guests are invited to relax in the Entourage Room or on the patio to enjoy a unique food and wine sensory experience. Shop in the wine boutique where exclusive vintages can be found.”
Watch a perfect sunset
For couples that are happiest together in the waves, there is no better spot for you than Tofino. Located on Vancouver Island and renowned for the rugged beauty, it is on the edge of the Pacific Rim National Park and Long Beach is one of the highlights of the area. With endless beaches and a reputation as a surfer’s paradise, it is the perfect place for you to suit up and enjoy the sea before relaxing on the beach and taking in some of the most glorious sunsets Canada has to offer. For those who would rather stay out of the waves, there is still lots of fun to be had. Storm Chasing and beachcombing are popular activities, and with so much wilderness on your doorstep, there are a plethora of wildlife tours. Elizabeth from the Sidetracked Travel Blog thinks Tofino has a lot to offer all year round:
“Nestled among the rocky coastline and lush rainforest on the western edge of Vancouver Island, the little surfing town of Tofino is one of the most romantic destinations in Canada! In the summertime, you and your significant other can stroll one of the many long beaches in the area, sign up for a personalized surfing class, or experience Orcas breaching the ocean surface on a whale watching excursion. The colder months don’t disappoint either – the town is famous for winter storm watching, an activity that calls for cuddling up with a hot drink in hand in one of the rustic accommodations while gazing upon the storm clouds building over the ocean. Or, head out for a romantic dinner to try some of the freshest Pacific seafood at one of the incredible restaurants – Wolf in the Fog and Shelter Restaurant are two of my favourites!”
The food in the area is also not to be sniffed at with a burgeoning gastronomic scene in the town.
Enjoy the architecture in Victoria
It is the sixth year in a row that Victoria in BC has topped Amazon Canada’s chart of most romantic cities in Canada, and it’s easy to see why. The grand Victorian architecture blends seamlessly with charming boats at the wharf. This city combines a cultural hub and glorious unspoiled nature, so is perfect for the couples who are looking for a diverse break.
Jay and Gretta from the Travelling Islanders blog think Victoria is a great city for couples:
“Fall in love all over again in Canada’s #1 romantic city of Victoria. You’ll feel the romance the moment you step onto the streets together and are surrounded by the warmth and charm of this stunning oceanside city. Step off the street and into a Victorian style horse-drawn carriage as you share a blanket, soaking in the gorgeous inner-harbour views. Step into the 5 star Empress Hotel and experience a romantic afternoon high-tea date. The romantic moments captured together abound. Consider what to do next over a cup of coffee. From more adventurous whale watching and kayaking activities to fine-dining restaurants and award-winning cocktail lounges, you simply can’t go wrong when choosing Victoria for your romantic vacation getaway.”
Soak in nature’s hot tub
Just outside Toronto is an oasis of indulgence, the ultimate escape for couples who enjoy being pampered. Rest and re-centre yourselves at the Blue Mountain Scandinave Spa and embrace nature, Scandinavian techniques and silence as you either make your way through a series of baths or immerse yourself in the sensory nirvana of a massage. Opt for a duo massage to unwind as a couple or wend your way through hot and cold installations before finishing off your day in one of their relaxation areas.
Mylisa Henderson from Scandinave Spa, says, “The spa is a special place to reconnect with each other but also an opportunity for personal reflection. Couples enjoy the outdoor environment, nestled in the forest, and the peaceful, tranquil experience of relaxing in the Scandinavian Baths, Sauna, Steam room, solariums, etc. Scandinave Spa also offers massage treatments for couples that include access to the Baths experience.
“The value of silence and tranquillity is a big part of the experience here. The Guests that truly embrace this aspect of their visit, gain the most wellness and health benefit. We cannot relax the body without relaxing the mind (this includes disconnecting from our cell phones). Silence heightens your other senses and improves mind-body connection. It also is respectful to the other Guests!
“We recommend guests spend 3-4 hours at the spa. This gives Guests more than enough time to circulate through the hot, cold, relax sequence 3-5 times for optimal health benefit.”