5 sexy Valentine’s Day getaways in Canada
Reignite your love life with a romantic getaway to a wintry destination in Canada. From awe-inspiring snowy nights to ah-inspiring spa delights, we’ve got you covered when it comes to sexy Valentine’s Day weekend ideas
Northern lights in the Yukon
The aurora borealis, a.k.a. the northern lights, is a phenomenon that is wrapped in myth and mystery. As ribbons of colour dance across the dark sky, it's difficult not to feel like you've witnessed something that will be one of your most cherished experiences as a couple. One of the best place to see Mother Nature's most spectacular light show is in the Yukon. Visitors come from around the world to see it, especially couples from China and Japan, who believe a child conceived under the aurora borealis will have extraordinary intellect and good luck.
Kick up the wow factor by watching them from the steamy comfort of an outdoor hot tub. Book a room at the Northern Lights Yukon Resort & Spa, a 160-acre property in Whitehorse that offers aurora viewing packages (including three nights and dinner and breakfast).
By day, head to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, where you can strap on cross-country skis and visit the habitat of woodland caribou, elk, moose, wood bison, muskox, Arctic fox, and Canadian lynx.
Image courtesy of Northern Lights Yukon Resort & Spa
Spa weekend in Winnipeg
When it comes to planning a spa weekend, Winnipeg may not come to mind. But savvy spa goers know some of Canada's best are found here - seriously. How about an authentic hot and steamy Turkish hammam to set the mood? At Ten Spa in the Fort Garry Hotel, experience the real deal with the Hammam 101 package. Lie back and let the attendant work some magic for 1 1/2 hours - stretching, scrubbing, rinsing with olive oil and massaging. Post-treatment, come back to earth with Turkish sweets before crashing on a dreamy spa bed for a nap.
The newest addition to The Peg's spa scene is Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature. Just 20 minutes from downtown, it taps into Scandinavian wellness rituals. The idea behind thermotherapy is to start with heat (a good sweat in the sauna), then cold (a chilly soaking pool), followed by rest, to get your bliss on.
Once you've detoxed and you both feel good about doing something healthy, it's time to "retox" with some stellar food and drink. Winnipeg has plenty to offer. A local favourite is Segovia Tapas Bar in Osborne Village. Fill your bellies with small plates of Spanish-inspired nibbles. Try the grilled octopus, chorizo, baked pork ribs and aged Iberico ham.
Image courtesy of Fort Garry Hotel
Star-crossed love in Jasper
Is there anything more romantic than staring at a starry sky cuddled up to your beloved? Make a wish and it may come true, especially if you're stargazing in Jasper, Alberta, home to the second largest dark-sky preserve in the world. Optimal light conditions make spotting those falling stars easy without interference from urban light pollution.
Jasper is less commercialized and less busy than Banff, its cousin to the south. It really feels like you're getting away from it all, surrounded by pristine nature, the Rocky Mountains, wildlife and glaciers.
For the adventurous, options are plenty. Sign up with SunDog Tours to learn how to be an ace dog musher and lead a team of Alaskan huskies. Or take a guided nighttime tour of Maligne Canyon to explore frozen waterfalls and fossils embedded in its limestone walls - perfect for stealing a smooch in the dark.
Warming up afterwards is just as fun. Hardy types can snuggle up by a firepit while camping at the Wapiti Campground. The stillness of winter gives the area a magical feel, perfect for sharing your innermost thoughts. For couples who prefer maximum comfort amid pristine wilderness, check in at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, where luxury cabins provide cozy sanctuary. Or soak up the heat by the wood-burning ovens at Jasper Pizza Place when stomachs begin to growl.
Image courtesy of Tourism/Jasper/Parks Canada/R. Bray
Gourmet dinner in Waterloo County
Playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote: "There is no love sincerer than the love of food." Twosomes passionate about eating well should visit this picturesque pocket of Ontario, encompassing Kitchener, St. Jacobs and Cambridge, where bucolic farmland produces wonderfully fresh ingredients.
One of the area's best chefs, Jason Bangerter, works his magic with them at Langdon Hall, an elegant Relais & Châteaux inn built in 1898. In a candlelit dining room, couples can order the chef's tasting menu, a flavourful journey focusing on items like foraged mushroom and foie gras. With tummies full, retreat to a cozy guest room, complete with wood-burning fireplace. Or explore the forested grounds stretching out more than 75 acres.
Pick up ingredients for an intimate dinner at local markets. The Cambridge Farmers' Market is one of Canada's oldest, operating since 1830. Continue the culinary theme into the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market, famous for its charming setting next to a village frequented by the Old Order Mennonites in the area who still travel by horse and buggy. Many sell homemade goods, from sausage to apple fritters. Sample, savour, love.
Image courtesy of Langdon Hall
Storm watching in Tofino
As couples know, love isn't all sunshine and rainbows, so it's fitting somehow that storm watching has become the centrepiece of romantic escapes to Tofino, where rainforest meets ocean on Vancouver Island. Cozying up at Pacific Sands Beach Resort to watch the wind whip up big waves outside your window, makes arguments over toothpaste blobs in the sink seem tiny. Fearless types can slip on rain slickers and stroll the beach to feel the mist on their skin.
When it's calm, take a paddleboard lesson with Tofino Paddle Surf. Looking sleek in your wetsuits, you'll have a chance to fall and embarrass yourselves in a quiet cove before heading to open water. If you prefer something warmer, make the trek to Hot Springs Cove, where virtually untouched pools of geothermal water chase the chill from your bones.
When hunger hits, book a table at Wolf in the Fog, voted Canada's best new restaurant for 2014 by enRoute. Dive fork first into platters of local octopus and mussels, and sip on creative concoctions like fig-infused rye made creamy with condensed milk. Another fave is SoBo, helmed by the talented Lisa Ahier, known for its killer fish tacos and SoBo Margaritas, so wickedly potent, there's a two-drink max.
Image courtesy of Pacific Sands Beach Resort