No matter what time of year, Toronto offers scenic backdrops and views for all romantic occasions.
Toronto’s neighbourhoods are filled with romantic alleyways and scenic views for every season and reason. Even in the colder months, there’s no reason to shy away from going on romantic strolls as it’s a great way to get outdoors and stay active while physical distancing and adhering to current protocols. So bundle up, grab your partner and explore these outdoor spots with treats in hand.
A delicious and magical Yorkville stroll
The snow-covered grounds in the Yorkville neighbourhood are even more magical this year with the addition of light tunnels and warming benches. This ritzy neighbourhood is filled with amazing restaurants offering grab-and-go options along with curbside pickup from many local fashion designers.
For a day time stroll, swing by Goldstruck to pick up some coffee and muffins. If you’re in the mood for an afternoon stroll, I suggest indulging in a Brown Sugar Pearl Latte or a Matcha Cheese Milk Foam tea from Kung Fu Tea on Cumberland street. With these in hand, walk through the lit-up tunnels or nestle up near one of the many street art displays adorning the outside of restaurants and retail stores. I am particularly fond of the spectacular mural painted by Kristen McCrea on York Lane.
To take your date up a notch, bring a blanket and enjoy dinner or high tea outdoors by one of the many large rock displays in Yorkville. d|Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto nearby is offering Take Away Afternoon Tea Sets enabling you to enjoy an outdoor winter picnic in style. The savoury sandwiches and delectable desserts are sure to dazzle your date. If your date is a seafood lover, order some takeout from Sushi Inn, which has been a staple in the neighbourhood for over three decades. Their Sushi Pizza and fresh Sashimi always hits the spot!
Warm up with an active afternoon at Étienne Brûlé Park
Located on the Humber River and known for the famous salmon run sightings, this Toronto park is also a winter oasis. Étienne Brûlé Park offers beautiful snow-covered vistas in the winter and is close by to the Old Mill subway station.
Permit holders can go fishing even in the colder months and those looking to be active outdoors can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. There are trails that connect this park to others so whether you are looking to spend an hour or three, there’s plenty of land to be explored at this park which was once an important trading route for the Indigenous People.
If you grabbed a gourmet hot chocolate from Golden Gecko Coffee nearby, enjoy it whilst standing hand in hand on the Old Mill Bridge. And, if you’d like to surprise your date with a gift, pre-order and do a curbside pickup of flowers, chocolates or jewellery from the Old Mill Flower and Gift Shop nearby. There’s a calmness that engulfs anyone who enters the park and it’s one of my favourite ways to escape the city without leaving the city.
Romantic sunset views at the Waterfront
Toronto’s Waterfront neighbourhood offers many parks and public spaces with front-seat views of the stunning lakefront. Personally, I would time my romantic stroll around sunset because the views are quite epic. Whether you decide to sit under the pink umbrellas at Sugar Beach, sit on a rock overlooking the water at HTO park or take a seat by Corktown Common, you’ll be able to bid farewell to the day with beautiful sunset views.
If you want to have your own little “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” Sound of Music moment make your way to the Toronto Musical Garden for a gazebo stroll (or dance). Pick up a couple of pizzas from Pie Bar to keep you warm during your time at the garden. If you’re looking to spice things up, check out My Roti Place and be warned, their food can be as SPICY as you want! Keep strolling around the waterfront in downtown Toronto because there’s always fun light displays and art installations that transform the area throughout the year.
Crush through ice at the Toronto Islands
Many of us tend to flock towards the Toronto Islands during the warmer months but if you want to experience true winter beauty, plan a romantic trip during the colder months. Frost laden bridges and snowy beaches bring on the amorous feels, that’s for sure. Be sure to check the ferry schedule prior to planning your trip and then get ready to spend your time exploring the ice- and snow-covered waters and paths.
Grab a picnic from Impact Kitchen before you board the ferry because not much is open on the islands during the winter months. Of course, this also means that you will have parts of the island to yourselves! Head towards Gibraltar Lighthouse for some iconic pictures with your beau and enjoy that picnic you brought along. There are many picturesque viewpoints throughout the islands, making it a perfect backdrop for a romantic photoshoot (bring a tripod).
If you’re an adventurous couple, bring along those skates, snowshoes and skis because the island is a perfect spot to enjoy some winter sports, away from the crowds. Just remember to bring extra layers and plenty of warm drinks and food with you.
Birding strolls at High Park
This sprawling park is perfect for bird lovers looking to stroll hand in hand through snowy trees and trails. The park is home to several species of birds who are still very active throughout the winter months. There have been winter sightings of Bald Eagles, Downy Woodpeckers and Blue Jays so be sure to swing by the Black-Oak Savannah and Grenadier Pond during your romantic Toronto strolls.
There are tons of nooks and crannies to be explored at High Park and once you find an area you like, hunker down for a snack. I recommend picking some traditional Polish fare at family-run Café Polonez, which has been serving the neighbourhood for over 30 years. If you did end up going skating or snowshoeing and have a bigger appetite, the Meet Meat Platter for 2 from Barque is just what the love doctor ordered.
There are many more romantic neighbourhoods in Toronto that are filled with quaint shops and local makers but the above are my favourites. Don’t let the winter blues keep you from igniting the sparks of love. Grab your loved one for a healthy dose of the outdoors and enjoy yourselves safely!