By Carly Basian
The weather may be cooling off, but that doesn’t mean your relationship has to. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, we all have budgets to follow. But don’t let that get in the way of indulging your romantic side. Take this chilliest of seasons to show how much you care with your hat on, boots tied and less than thirty bucks in your pocket.
Skating and hot chocolate Price: Free-$5
Whether it’s skating at the Harbourfront overlooking the lake or at Nathan Phillips Square, this classic date can be fun, romantic and walletfriendly. You can replace skating with any other winter activity, like a snowball fight or sledding at Riverdale Park. Afterwards, you both can head over to a nearby café — be it an intimate local spot like Rooster House Coffee or the nearest Starbucks — and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or steaming apple cider.
Explore Toronto’s cultural scene Price: FREE
There’s something very sexy about museums and galleries. Don’t believe me? Try sneaking off to a corner to create your own performance art. The Art Gallery of Ontario offers free admission to both its permanent collection and its temporary Maharaja exhibition to visitors 25 and under until April 3. The Royal Ontario Museum has free admission for university students on Tuesdays, and to the general public on Wednesdays between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Travel the world Price: $15-$30
Toronto is filled with ethnic communities. You can head to Chinatown, Little India or Little Italy for an international experience on a domestic budget. It’s fun to walk around hand-in-hand, and there are lots of cheap restaurants to choose from, like Swatow, New Ho King, Little India Restaurant or The Lakeview. Not only is it a nice way to explore new areas of the city, but changing up your routine with your sweetheart adds a new level of excitement to your relationship and will help you bond. Make sure to bundle up though: you might be out for a while.
Outdoor adventures Price: FREE-$10
Don’t let the cold winds and thick snow stop you from enjoying the great outdoors. Bundle up and take a walk through Allan Gardens, U of T’s Philosopher’s Walk, Kensington Market, or the Distillery District. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants to visit in these areas, from the Distillery’s Balzac’s Coffee Roastery and Soma, to Kensington’s Ideal Coffee and Wanda’s Pie in the Sky. If you do end up at the Distillery, you could check out a performance at Soulpepper Theatre — they have rush tickets for a low price — and there are musical performances around Kensington Market.
Have a movie night Price: $15-$30
Going out for dinner and a movie could easily mean dishing out some serious cash. Why not keep the party at home? Choose a meal you both enjoy, pick up what you need at the grocery store and cook dinner together. To make sure dinner isn’t the only thing heating up, try mixing culinary aphrodisiacs into your meals. Asparagus (helps you reach orgasm), eggs (increases sex drive), and figs (which resembles the, um, female anatomy) are cheap and delicious ways to spice things up. When you’re done in the kitchen, light some candles, pour some wine and enjoy your intimate meal. Then cuddle in front of a movie you both enjoy (The Social Network comes out on DVD next week).