They say what you focus on grows, so by sharing 7 unique date night ideas in Toronto, I’m hoping to get more of them! Hint, hint, babe 😉
In January, Andrew and I celebrated our 11-year Anniversary and 22 years of couple-hood. Our long-time courtship has meant lots of date nights – well not lately, because well, hello kids! But if you’ve been following our Insta snaps and stories, making more deliberate time for each other is on our list of intentions for 2017 & beyond. Although energy for “us” is hard to find in parenthood, effort and importance is not. We feel investing in our marriage matters, and models to our children that tending to our relationship matters, which has benefits to all of us.
Having been together so long, we’ve kind of been “around the block” in our beloved City of Toronto. Just 30 minutes south of us, TO is a diverse, multicultural and modern city famously coined “The Six” by Toronto-born Rapper Drake, he says represents TO’s main area code 416, but also the six boroughs the city used to be broken up into comprised of Old Toronto, Scarborough, East York, North York, Etobicoke and York.
Immersed in “The Month of Love” that is February, we wanted to share some of our fave things to do in #thesix sans kiddos (sorry babes), as well as some that are on our hit list of things to try. But really, no matter what you do, we’re sure you’ll find this city an incredible place to visit.
This edition will focus on unique date night ideas in Toronto we enjoyed during our cooler Fall/Winter months. Spring/Summer edition to come!
1) Romancing in Yorkville – A 24 Hour Whirl
Last fall, we spent a glorious 24 hours in Toronto’s quaint, chic and bustling Yorkville area, best known for some of Toronto’s most sought after dining spots and home to the famous Toronto Film Festival. This date was more of a “splurge and spoil” mission, as we were fitting in a very delayed 10-year Anniversary date (8 months overdue!). We booked ourselves into The Park Hyatt – one of the city’s most sophisticated hotels, conveniently located a stone’s throw from many shops, trendy restaurants and The ROM, Canada’s largest natural history museum. Its also a popular spot for star-gazing during the City’s world-renowned Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)!
Here’s our suggested itinerary:
Begin your romantic whirl with lunch and bevvies at Sassafraz , followed by window shopping along Bloor Street – known as the “Mink Mile” for it’s prestigious array of high-end designer shops.
Make dinner reservations at the delicious, friendly and casual Trattoria Nervosa. Amazing Southern Italian Cuisine here. I’m still drooling over the Risotto Nervosa – delizioso!
Book a couple’s massage at The Stillwater Spa (*currently undergoing renos, set to re-open late 2020, check out other Top Spas in TO in the meantime*) A little parent pampering is SO necessary and I guarantee you won’t remember the last time you felt so relaxed. We had the best sleep in years that night.
To cap off your kid-free break, go for breakfast at Flo’s Diner – a friendly, 50’s-style diner just a short trek from the hotel. Don’t forget to stop for a smooch at The Kissing Corner (outside Knar Jewellery beside The Park Hyatt), which reminds you to “Enjoy the one you’re with.”
2) A Walk Through Toronto’s Historic District
Grab your honey and take a jaunt through the enchanting Victorian-era Distillery District, coined “Hollywood North” as it’s old world charm has been the backdrop to many big name films and TV shows, including Chicago & Cinderella Man. This pedestrian-only village has wonderful cafes and restaurants, and is now the location for two new, incredible experiences in Toronto – 1) The Christmas Market & 2) The Toronto Light Show
Alternatively, try a guided Food Tour of St. Lawrence Market & Old Toronto (*partner*) Your friendly guide will take you through the market to a variety of vendors to sample delicacies, such as Jewish bagels, Ukrainian pierogies, Portuguese treats, Indian candy, local cheeses, and the peameal bacon sandwich—enjoyed by chef-celebrities such as Guy Fieri, Emeril Lagasse, and Anthony Bourdain. Along the way, hear about Toronto’s abolitionist movement, the clown riots, and the underground whiskey tunnel during prohibition.
3) Dinner & Drinks Under The Sea
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is a great family venue by day, but did you know they also have adults-only events at night? In February, be part of the “Sea of Love” and enjoy a Valentine’s Day dinner or Jazz + drinks on select Friday nights! They’ve also added Paint Nights – sip a drink and enjoy a unique time painting your marine-themed canvas.
4) Dinner & Comedy Show
Humour (and coffee or drinks!) are our parenting fuel. Nothing like connecting and igniting the dopamine surge over some good laughs. Here are two great joints we’ve cry-laughed hard at that would fit the bill for a unique date night in Toronto :
Yuk Yuk’s Toronto
One of our favourite spots to laugh it off in Toronto. Nothing amateur about these acts, they have incredibly talented up & coming Stand Up Comedians– we even saw Russell Peters here before he made it big time! You can dine 1 hour prior to the show at the venue, or some of our faves near by are The Keg, or Burger Priest for more budget-friendly fare.
Meridian Hall – Toronto’s Hub for arts, culture & entertainment
This venue hosts some of the world’s best Comedic acts. Being half Italian and having an IBM (Italian By Marriage), we saw Sebastian Manascalco here on his “Why Would You Do That” Tour – hysterical! Chris Tucker, Jerry Seinfeld & more are on the event calendar this year. Our fave dining options before the show are Ki Modern Japanese + Bar and Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill
5) Outdoor Skate Date
Get outside and get the endorphins going with a romantic skate date. There are two stand-out locations right in the City:
This outdoor rink is named the “most scenic rink in the City,” given it’s proximity to the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Perks – heated indoor change room, free admission and warm food and drink available rink-side. Beat the Winter blues, get the blood and endorphins flowing with DJ Skate Nights – every Saturday from 8-11 p.m. (Dec 17 – Feb 18)
Skate outdoors among Toronto’s City Hall landmark and home to the iconic 3D Toronto Sign installed for the 2015 Pan Am Games, open mid November until mid-march. This location is not as amenity-friendly as the Natrel rink, but a great time nonetheless.
Or check out this list of outdoor rinks in and around TO.
6) Dinner Date
Of course, a simple dinner date out is quite appealing in parenthood. Not exactly “unique” but uninterrupted conversation and a chance to enjoy a warm meal from start to finish is quite the rare luxury.
One of our favourite ways to dine is during Toronto’s Winterlicious celebration – a chance to discover new culinary specials with three-course prix fixe menus at nearly 220 of the City’s top restaurants. On annually from the end of January to mid-February.
7) Casa Loma – Escape the Castle
We’ve heard lots of cool stuff about the Escape Room experience, and came across this one we want to try at Toronto’s historic Casa Loma landmark – a castle in the city built by Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt. Put your couple brains to a challenge and see if you can conquer the Escape Casa Loma experience among the secret passageways, majestic towers, sweeping staircase and 800-foot tunnel.
2019-2020 Addition(s) – Date Night Ideas Toronto
*This post was originally created in 2017, and while the previous seven are still some of our faves, we’ve added some of our latest*
Just 30 minutes outside the downtown core of Toronto, experience the City’s latest nighttime illumination experience Terra Lumina at the Metro Toronto Zoo! Teleport to 2099, immerse will all your senses & reflect on how humans can live harmoniously with the natural world. Enjoy the Zoo after dark like never before! Quick service eateries open on-site. Terra Lumina begins December 2019 until mid-April 2020.
Salt Cave Detox
Visit one of Toronto’s Salt Caves (*partner*) & treat yourselves to the detoxing & rejuvenation benefits of Halotherapy, said to offer relief for allergies, skin & respiratory illnesses. Enjoy Himalayan salt healing via float pods, salt scrub massage, sauna and/or the unique salt cave experience.
What other fun ways have you and your partner enjoyed in The Six? We’d love to hear some of your unique date night ideas in Toronto!