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1. Book after hours at the aquarium: After dark and without kids, aquariums—with their tranquil vibe and mood lighting—make a surprisingly romantic setting. No wonder many offer V-Day specials; this year, Vancouver’s got a three-course meal (and sleepover!) while Toronto’s Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is hosting an evening of romantic songs played by a local jazz band.
2. Take a dance class: If you’re thinking ballroom or slow waltzes and rolling your eyes, get with the times already! Dance class in 2016 is far cooler—and much more fun—with classes in hip hop, swing, belly dancing, street jazz and even Beyoncé.
3. Hit the rink: Since we’ll likely be buried in snow and ice come February, best to embrace it, bundle up and dig out those dusty skates from the garage. Glide along to sappy love songs at your neighbourhood rink or brave it out in the wilderness atop your local pond. Don’t forget the warm hot chocolate after-party—spiked with Bailey’s for the grown-ups—to warm up and get snuggly.
Check out our delicious Canadian Hot Chocolate recipe. Yum!
4. Try axe throwing: For an adrenaline rush you’d never get at a rom-com, look to a local league to learn to throw axes (but not at each other). The Backyard Axe Throwing League in Toronto and Axe Hole in Edmonton both showcase the new sport, which usually includes a professional throwing lesson followed by round robin tournament. It's perfect for a little good-hearted competition.
5. Get a couples’ massage: If your love is a little lazy—and there’s nothing wrong with that—trade sports for the spa, where a couples’ massage is just about as lovely as it gets. Expect a private room, side-by-side tables and, if you splurge for the V-Day offering, maybe something extra special like champagne and strawberries.
Editor's picks: The 5 best spas across Canada
6. Travel back in time: For your history-buff or Bond-loving hubby, Mission Escape games—where you’re locked in a room with an hour to solve the mystery and get out—are all the rage and a total rush. Toronto’s Casa Loma has one set in 1920s Prohibition, plus a 1941 submarine mission and a post-war spy mission sure to get the blood moving.
7. Go on a binge: A binge watch, of course. A well-planned all-night Netflix-a-thon is a great date for the stayer-inners (and budget-keepers) among us. Send the kids to the babysitters’, order takeout for two and enjoy a bottle of bubbly from beneath a blanket. This one's super simple and extra enjoyable every time.
15 classic romantic movies to watch this Valentine's Day
8. Paint a picture: Yes, you heard that right! Many studios (or even regular restaurants) host paint dates where you and your sweetie will be walked through a fast art lesson—all while sipping and snacking. Don’t be nervous though; you needn’t be van Gogh to pass this class. And best of all, you’ll go home with adorable matching paintings to enjoy all year round.
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