Love is love and during pandemic times we feel the urge to share the love with every living breathing being in our world. Why not? It’s time to break out all the heartfelt words and send off a few thoughts to let others know how much we cherish them. Wait…not just others but ourselves too! Treat yo’self! What’s that saying? In order to love others, we need to love ourselves first? Yeah, it’s something like that.
Of course, we don’t have to restrict ourselves to do everything on February 14th! Why not be a little more “outside the box” and share the love on another day? We’re on board with this idea and it means that local flower shops and take out/delivery restaurants won’t be crushed all on one day. Heck, we don’t even know what day it is anymore, anyway!
With that in mind, we’ve got this year’s Valentine Day gift guide for anyday!
LIBBY’S TOP PICKS:
UFFICIO may be one of Toronto’s most romantic restaurants, but in lieu of being there in person, stealing glances in their stunning space of your stunning date, you can grab delivery or pickup from this Dundas West darling. Three-course pescatarian or plant-based menus showcase why this is one of the city’s best. Get your order in early- and see the full menu here. From $140 for two people.
For $109.99 Brickworks Cider is bringing you brunch (in bed?). Dubbed “Apple of my Eye Brunch Kit“, you and your special sweetie can soak up the cider, donning totes cute toques while you nosh on some nifty nibbles and quiz each other on something other than what to make for dinner, again, with thoughtful inclusions from local vendors like Outer Layer, Lohn Candles and Opening Night Flowers. Pickup only from their Queen East location, from February 1-12th.
A nice effort for the ‘Galentine’s’ on your list, consider KANDL and their invigorating and immersive custom candle making event for that special sweetie. Kits are sent to participants in advance, with add-on options of delectable desserts, bubbles for any troubles and a few other lovely optional accompaniments. Virtual Valentine’s Date Night Experience is priced per package, hosted online from February 12-14th at 5pm or 8pm. Kits include 15 essential oils for you to craft your perfect base, middle and top notes, creating a scent that is memorable and undeniably you. Customization includes choosing the candle’s vessel, and the option to ‘name’ your creation. Candles are produced and sent off within ten days of the event, so consider making one for the person you’re missing the most. Find out more and get all the details here.
Clink glasses and socialize over an eight kilos sommelier-led wine tasting. This Ontario only online wine shop is set to ship labels not-found-at-LCBO curating a virtual event for your long-lost loves. Choose your date and tasting time and eight kilos will provide lux doorstep deliveries to anywhere in Ontario.
Cookies for the cuties on your list offer a simple and sweet way to mark the day. We adore these beautiful creations from local Toronto shop @blessed.cookies. Shop directly from their IG, and get your orders in ASAP!
Move over Chocolate Bombs, Tea Bombs are the next big-ticket, and we are smitten with these locally made options from Powder for Texture. These prisms of sugary goodness provide just the right amount of colourful fun to your cuppa. Following the same format, these sugar bombs dissolve with hot liquid, releasing freeze-dried fruit pieces and tea powder.
There’s nothing sweeter than the simplicity of strawberries. We love Elysha Varenbut Sweets who has just rebranded to Choc/Ed, and is still supplying GTA with vibrant and delicious sweet treats, including pastel and perfect strawberries with a kid-in-a-candy-store zeal of toppings. Get a custom order with your beau’s initials, or get a dozen and double binge during Bling Empire.
K-Y Canada is presenting The Love-In with TV and Podcast host, Lynzie Kent, founder of Love by Lynzie. The event, hosted live on Valentine’s Day from 4:30pm-9:30pm can include yoga, speakers like Dr Jess O’Reilly, cooking classes with The Food Dudes and entertainment intertwined with love as the theme to this very romantic day. Options for inclusions feature sipping Chandon California Brut and Terrazas Wines, Negroni’s from Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers and of course chocolate, bath salts and candles to get you (and hopefully an IRL partner) in the mood. Make a splash for your sweetie and customize your experience, from $289-$349.
SONYA’S TOP PICKS:
I can pass on lunch and head straight into Afternoon Tea and the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto has the perfect take-away indulgence! Swoon over the tower of sweet and savoury bites from their culinary team at Cafe Boulud with a selection of premium teas. This isn’t your auntie’s crustless egg sandwiches fare, it IS the Four Seasons after all! Expect nothing less of gorgeousness with each morsel a work of art. This is stunning and beautiful all around. Their exclusive Valentine’s Afternoon Tea($55 per person exclusive of tax, gratuities, and add ons) is available February 12 to February 14. Available for pick up only at the hotel. Call in advance to order 416-963-6000. Minimum 24 hours notice. View the full menu here.
Make a playlist! There are songs that remind us of special occasions – first dates, weddings, anniversaries, vacations. Mine include Here and Now (Luther Vandross), Sexual Healing (Marvin Gaye), Always on my Mind (Da Ville), and a whole bunch of songs by BoysIIMen. Take it another step further and upgrade your love’s headphones or earbuds. I love my Apple AirPods and gave a set to hubby, but did you know the cases can be engraved for free? Apple AirPod Pros ($329), AirPods with Wireless Charging Case ($269), AirPods with Charging Case ($219)
You’re the sweetest valentine around? Then you’ll want to order up this S’mores Skillet Kit for Two from The Rolling Pin ($60). Kit contains a pre-seasoned 6” cast iron skillet, with a heat resistant sleeve for holding. This can be re-used for future use. Kit also contains house made chocolate sauce and marshmallows, seasonal fruit and delicious treats for dipping. You’ll also want to check out their hilarious assortment of sugar cookies that are are so on point with today’s covid times. Order in advance on their site.
I adore Shop Luuee (Etsy artist!) and her cheeky accessories for the home. The little catch-alls are perfect reminders that love can be expressed in many different ways. Custom made orders from this Toronto-based artist. Various prices.
Secret Cupid is on full sweet mode with this delicious V-day pack from Papabubble Toronto. Goodies in this year’s edition includes the their hand-made artisanal Valentine’s candy mix 130g, Cherry Lips, sugar cookies by Vanilla Beanbag, and a card by Queenie’s Cards ($24.99). All made with love right here in Toronto. Perfect for families, friends, teachers, favourite front-line worker…you get the picture.
We often create the fondest memories through scent and that’s why we turn to Madison Living for their Sweet Dreams Wellness Set ($55) which includes a comforting neck wrap made with rice, organic flaxseed and lavender essential oils that can be used for heat or cold therapy for instant relief, a sugar body scrub (either Lemon Coconut or Lavender Bergamot scents) made with fine sugar, virgin coconut oil and essential oils, and their popular all-natural Love Room Spray made with a romantic blend of ylang ylang, bergamot and orange that can be sprayed in the air to set the mood for a relaxing and cozy time.
Madison Living also has an adorable idea for the little luv bugs in your life, these Valentine’s Mini Pocket Heart Warmers ($15) are the perfect gift for the winter months outdoors. Various patterns available while quantities last.
Pandemic Valentine’s Day cards are on our minds and we love Tone on Tone Paper (Etsy Artist!) for keeping things light and 6 feet apart. All hand made and made in Canada.
Don’t forget about your pets! Their unconditional love has kept us grounded throughout this whole pandemic so of course they deserve a little treat. We can’t help but fall head over heels with this cute Top Paws Red Silk Pet Robe ($10.99 at PetSmart) for the perfect movie night in.
Local Toronto-based Etsy artisan REDSDOGGO makes our hearts skip a beat with her beautifully handcrafted bowties and bandanas for our furry friends. Owners can get matching sets of face masks by request. All made-to-order.
CAROLE’S TOP PICKS:
Get your Zoom fired up on February 14 and take a virtual couple’s cooking class with Vanessa from Aphrodite Cooks. You will make a romantic dinner for two together and what you do after the Zoom class ends, is your business. You also have the option of doing your shopping yourself, getting an ingredient kit delivered or even picking it up yourself, if you live nearby. The class will happen between 5 and 7pm cost between $50 and $60, depending on how you deal with the ingredients.
Wynona is one of my fave east end restaurants and they are offering a great dinner with a bottle of wine for your romantic adventures but you need to get that order in by February 10th.