I’m not really much of a fan of Valentine’s Day. The whole thing has always seemed fake and insincere to me, but then, at the same time I definitely like flowers, nice dinners, and romantic gestures. Vancouver, like most of North America, really gets into this Valentine’s thing, so for once, I’m going to embrace it.
In the spirit of the somewhat dubious Saint Day*, here are some of the top romantic plans for an A+ Vancouver Valentine’s weekend.
*Not actually a real saint day in most churches — and no concrete evidence St. Valentine ever existed. Sorry.
I know I’ve been disparaging of the Canadian brunch scene in the past (and still think it’s ridiculous how late cafes open and how breakfast items are only served on weekends), but there are some pretty amazing contenders around these days. Skip the busy dinner reservations and check out one of these spots:
Cafe Medina: It’s reopened and still amazing. Waffles are the best I’ve ever tried.
Cafe Deux Soleils: Great veggie options and lots of seating means is a winning combination on a busy weekend for this Commercial Drive favourite
Lear Faye: The best egg benny’s I’ve found in Vancouver. There are actually quite a few good cafes near here, which is handy because this spot is not huge and can get pretty busy.
Abigail’s Party: A dimly-lit restaurant to cozy up inside. The brunch here is pretty damn good and again, there are some decent nearby options, like Cafe Zen, if you just can’t wait.
Like the idea of a weekend away but don’t want to break the bank? Get out of the city and cozy up in a cabin. There are plenty of places to choose from — we are actually heading out to Manning Park to attempt cross-country skiing this weekend and will be holing up in nearby Hope.
Other options include Mayne or Galiano Island, or if the weather is right, hiking/snow-shoeing up to Elfin Lakes for a more communal experience (the cabin can’t be booked and sleeps about 30 people) or Keith’s Hut (sleeps about 14).
Embrace Your Inner Wino
I like wine, so wine tastings will pretty much always be high on my list of romantic/fun/adventurous/lazy things to do. It’s not a long weekend in BC (it is in the States and other Canadian provinces) so a trip to the Okanagan might be out of reach, but thankfully, there are still nearby options for winos to enjoy. Wine tastings are available at Vancouver Urban Winery and Salt Tasting Room, or you can drive out about an hour out of town to the Fraser Valley to check out some 22 licensed wineries. Tours are available if you don’t trust yourself to spit out the samples (and drive safely home).
Take in the View
Whether you feel like being lazy or being fit, the views at The Chief at Squamish are spectacular. Hike up or take the new-ish Sea to Sky Gondola. Other hikes in Vancouver could be an option, but recent rain could mean a muddy trail… check conditions (and how up for adventure your partner is feeling) before suggesting anything too big.
Go for the ultimate romantic — or cheapskate — gesture with a free wedding at Robson Square Ice Rink. Before I knew about this, I was simply going to post “go ice-skating”, but why fork out for skate rental when you can get hitched for free?
An officiant from Young, Hip and Married will be on hand to offer complimentary vow renewals and wedding ceremonies from 2pm to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 14.
Not ready to commit? There will also be a “skate to romantic music” from 9pm to 11pm. Maybe just don’t turn up early if you’re night quite ready to put a ring on it.