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Relationships have evolved, and with them, Valentine’s Day. In addition to red roses and chocolates, Feb. 14 presents an opportunity to explore your passion for design, style, food, travel and more. Caitlin Agnew offers some novel ways to indulge in what you love this year, whatever your relationship status



Designed to share

From the loveseat to the tandem bike, some of best designs were made for two. For design lovers, they’re a gift that can be appreciated every day, such as Thrush Holmes’s Cube. The Toronto-based artist has sprayed boxes made of Russian birch with paint from recharged fire extinguishers, making the Cube both a sculpture and a functional surface. Take a cozy nap for two on CB2’s new tufted daybed, which was inspired by the look of a lazy cloud. Or, fill Canadian design staple Umbra’s new Exhibit photo frame with visual memories of your relationship for some sentiment with style.

Christina Gapic/Thrush Holmes

Thrush Holmes Cube, $350 through


Umbra Exhibit photo frame, $60 through


CB2 Tufo tufted daybed, $1,799 through


Solo style

There’s a certain sense of pride in having something nice all to yourself. Fluffy furniture, such as this chair from Mobilia, is the adult version of a teddy bear and part of a major texture trend that adds comfort and warmth to any space. Studio Lani’s Talking Stool, meanwhile, is made with handwoven mat for a pop of cheerful colour that works as solo seating or an accent piece. Or, channel the Zen lifestyle of a Japanese monk with IKEA’s new Borstad dustpan and brush. Made of natural materials, it will spark joy as you sweep away the old.


IKEA Borstad dustpan and brush, $15 through


Mobilia Evella fabric accent chair, $600 through

Studio Lani

Studio Lani Talking Stools, $1,108 each through



Reserve a private dining room

Escape the lovey-dovey crowds by booking your own dining room for some privacy, which is, frankly, hard to come by these days. The new Aburi Hana, a Japanese fine-dining restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, boasts five private dining rooms devoted to their 15-course menus of Kyo-Kaiseki. The Garden Room at Calgary’s Deane House can be booked for its limited Valentine’s Day tasting menu with optional wine or non-alcoholic beverage pairings, made with Seedlip. And at the Salon Rogers at Montreal’s Bar George, delight in English-inspired dining in an historic venue.

The new Aburi Hana restaurant in Toronto.

The Salon Rogers private dining room at Bar George in Montreal.


Cook an elegant entrée at home

Cooking for one means there’s no compromising on who gets to choose which recipe to try. Spice things up on Feb. 14 with the Kanel Discovery Box, a selection of the Montreal company’s most popular salt and spice blends including Summer Black Truffle Salt and Stockholm Lemon and Dill. Le Creuset’s recently reissued oval casserole is part of one of the brand’s oldest collections of stoneware and is just the right size for baking a single serving – with welcome room for seconds. Or, experiment with a loving recipe from Duchess at Home, a new cookbook from Edmonton’s Duchess Bake Shop founder Giselle Courteau, which draws on her French-Canadian heritage.

Kanel Discovery Box, $36 through

Le Creuset 2.4-litre oval casserole in Cerise, $140 at Le Creuset stores and through

Penguin Random House

Duchess at Home, $35 at bookstores.



Wine bars to snuggle up in

Parisians may have invented the bar à vin, but there’s no longer a need to fly to France to get your fix. Canada’s wine bar scene has exploded over the past few years, with new options pouring thoughtful selections in romantic spaces across the country. At Vinvinvin in Montreal, which opened last summer, the focus is on clean wines, many of which are sourced from Central Europe. Two Faces in Guelph, Ont., is a cozy, candle-lit sanctuary ensconced in original stone walls dating back to 1856. Vancouver’s Juice Bar YVR, meanwhile, reopens Feb. 14, just in time for a lovers’ tête-à-tête.

Vinvinvin in Montreal.

Two Faces in Guelph, Ont.


Break the rules at a speakeasy

There’s a spirit of rebelliousness in the air at prohibition-style speakeasies across the country. Tucked down alleyways, behind hidden doors and requiring secret passwords, these illicit-esque establishments revive the excitement of a drink at a bar, and with it, a sense of adventure. Find Gift Shop innocuously tucked behind a barber shop on Toronto’s Ossington Avenue, while a dim Montreal alleyway leads to the plush Atwater Cocktail Club. At Betty Lou’s Library in Calgary, a 1920s-worthy code of conduct plus passwords for guests with reservations ensure a sophisticated atmosphere for ladies and gentlemen.

The Atwater Cocktail Club in Montreal.

The password-protected Betty Lou’s Library in Calgary.



Create custom Canadian jewellery

To commemorate your relationship with a piece as unique as your love, look no further than one of Canada’s talented jewellers. Customizing jewellery offers a daily reminder of the love you have for each other. Create a one-of-a-kind ring with ethically sourced precious stones from Ecksand or design something hand-carved by goldsmith Elana Ginsberg of K&Co Bespoke. Buildable necklaces by Melanie Auld combine symbolic charms such as hearts and moons as well as gemstones with options for engraving, always a welcome personal touch.

Ecksand custom rings, price on request (

K&Co Bespoke custom rings, price on request (


Pick up a little something flashy

A then-single Beyonce made right-hand rings a thing in 2007 when she famously wore a massive diamond sparkler on her right ring finger to the Golden Globes. Whether an investment piece or simply something sparkly, the trend of gifting yourself jewellery is here to stay. Rediscover a classic with G.Sherman Jewels, the revitalized mid-century costume jewellery brand from Montreal. Channel your inner A-Lister with a creation from Jenny Bird Toronto, whose work has been worn recently by Awkwafina and Selena Gomez, or go dainty with a delicate gold piece by Vancouver’s Leah Alexandra.

Jenny Bird Before Sunset earrings, $135 through

G.Sherman Jewels Aries Midheaven brooch, US$340 through



Curate a high-tech at-home experience

As the world has gone high-tech, so has setting the mood, with innovations being made to bring couples closer. Dosist is a new-to-Canada cannabis brand offering pens that deliver a precise dose of mood-enhancing THC and CBD in six different formulations. Look for Passion, which was designed to increase personal connection. For a new element between the sheets, try the Kushi shell vibrator by Iroha+, which has a marshmallow-like texture. And if you’re in a long-distance relationship, Apple’s new iPad makes videos calls even more realistic. You can still whisper sweet nothings over your AirPods.


Dosist Dose Pen in Passion, $52 at select cannabis retailers (find stockists through

Iroha+ Kushi Shell, $124 through


Apple iPad, 7th generation, from $429 at Apple.


A relaxing spa treatment with something extra

The benefits of visiting the spa have been upped considerably given recent advancements in aesthetic technology. At Calgary’s XO Treatment Room, owner Annie Graham’s customized XOA Facial has the option of radio frequency combined with micro current for cheekbone-enhancing results that Graham describes as envy-inducing. Montreal’s Etiket boasts the country’s sole Tata Harper treatment room, a temple to natural skin care. Find the independently owned Dr. Yves Hebert Clinic of Aesthetic Medicine located one floor above for any desired medical aesthetic treatments. And the Miraj Hammam Spa at Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel has recently partnered with French beauty brand Biologique Recherche on new offerings such as the Hydrating + Lifting Body Treatment.

The reception area at XO Treatment Room in Calgary.

The Tata Harper treatment room at Etiket in Montreal.



Find romance at home

With a recent royal endorsement, Canada’s romantic side is no longer a national secret. Staying in the true north for a couple’s holiday also allows for taking a more serene method of transportation. Cozy up while storms rage on either end of the country at the Fogo Island Inn or at Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn, or make a wish for a happily-ever-after on the Château Frontenac’s lucky staircase in Quebec City, which has long been considered an auspicious spot for young lovers. On Feb. 14, the Fairmont hotel is offering guests a living room picnic including a cold platter, main dishes and desserts with a bottle of wine.

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.

Jeremy Koreski

Storm watching at the Wickaninnish Inn on Vancouver Island.


Book a staycation at a hotel with a buzzy bar

Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, making it the ideal weekend to book a fabulous staycation where enjoying a nightcap is incredibly convenient. With hotel bars (and their snacks) experiencing a renaissance, there’s no reason to wine and dine by your lonesome. The Rawbar Platter of Ocean Wise sushi at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim makes for an Instagrammable conversation starter (and they’re easy to share), as does the 13-layer King’s Cake at the St. Regis in Toronto. At Marcus in Montreal’s Four Seasons, low lighting and lounge seating are likely to lead to love.

The Lobby Lounge and Rawbar at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel.

Louix Louis at the St. Regis hotel in Toronto.

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