There are so many wonderful things to do in Toronto, and not all of the wonderful things accessible in the city cost a lot to enjoy. Enjoy some quality time with your loved ones or friends during one of these 10 inexpensive date ideas in Toronto.
See Some Local Art
Toronto has a slew of street art through many of its popular neighbourhoods.
Pie and The Annex – one of my longtime favourite places to work from my laptop is a great bistro that serves eggs benedict and perogies. Start your afternoon with one of their 4 varieties of pies, 8 varieties of cakes, or 8 varieties of cheesecakes and wander around to see street murals.
Landsdown and the Moca – If you have yet to visit Toronto’s own Museum of Contemporary Arts, the food alone is worth the visit. But, take the subway, and as you walk to the museum you’ll see a range of colourful murals in parking lots and along restaurant fronts. A great area to spend an afternoon.
Canary District – down the end of the Bayview extension is a new area that is packed with brunch spots, waterfront trails, and parks with sculptures. The Corktown Commons is an incredible park, and the whole neighbourhood was designed for connection.
Chinatown – did you know you can tour the AGO and its exhibits for free if you are 25 and under. Just register for a free membership online and go enjoy all the latest displays.
During the winter, Toronto has plenty of free public and private rinks in operation. Find your nearest one and choose a slow time to go lace up your skates and get your heart rates up. Finish with hot chocolate and a bath.
This has been an activity I have re-connected with this winter and it’s a great workout! If you haven’t been too active during the most recent round of lock-downs, plan for just half an hour out.
Toronto has a wonderful food scene, and there’s such a wide range of specialty stops. Check out chocolatiers, top-rated bakeries, or a new pastry shop for a fun afternoon out.
Soma Chocolatier – Down on King Street West, there is an amazing chocolatier with just as incredible coffee. When looking for Valentine’s day chocolate, make sure to look for ethically sourced beans and transparent supply chains.
Kensington’s Donut Shop – Modern Jelly used to be down in this area, but now they only operate in Calgary. Since their closing, I have found Dipped, which serves interesting flavours from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Craigs Cookies – Maybe the most indulgent cookies ever. They have 4 locations across Toronto and are stocked in an additional 3 cafes. Plan a quick walk after to burn off your sugar rush.
There are a ton of used book stores all over the city. Head to one of these great ones and pick out a book for your partner.
BMV Books – There are currently 3 BMV locations in Toronto. And they don’t just carry books. There are board games, comics, and collectibles.
Doug Miller Books – Located on Bloor West, this little hole in the wall offers a great range of titles and frequently publishes their latest finds online.
Monkey’s Paw – If you want a book but don’t know where to start, pop over to this adorable shop with a vending machine that gives you a title for 2$. Let the fates decide your read.
Picnic in the Parks
One of my favourite things about midtown Toronto is just how many parks there are. There is an incredible network of trails through the city, and it’s easy to feel like you’re spending time in nature without a car trip. Some of my favourite Toronto Parks include; Sherwood, Serena Gundy, Taylor Creek, and the Toronto Islands.
Tips for Packing a Winter Picnic
It’s not impossible to enjoy a meal outdoors in our cold Canadian winters. You just have to be prepared.
Bring something waterproof to sit on if there are no benches or tables where you are headed. If there are seating options, consider bringing a small shovel or trowel to help you clear snow from where you want to sit. Bring blankets or extra layers to bundle your legs when you’re not moving.
Tailor the menu for the weather. Soup in a thermos is a great way to keep warm, and easy to eat from a mug with your gloves on. If you have another idea for the menu, consider bringing hot chocolate or tea along as a drink.
Snow Fort Competition
Let loose a little and head to your nearest park. Look for large snowbanks and get creative. You can build one together or see who can build a better one. You can even put a message, or cook dinner for the other on the line to up the competition and continue your date.
If you want to get outside and play in the snow (we can all use some playtime) but a fort seems a little ambitious, try snowmen!
Elevated Movie Night
Not just an evening sitting on the couch with your partner. Clean the space up, light a candle or two, and make some homemade pizza. Pick up some gourmet popcorn and make your favourite cocktail. Pick the movie ahead of time so you don’t sit there scrolling while the food gets cold.
Perfect gift for the homebody who needs a little change in their routine.
Board or Card Games
Get your charcuterie board together and a bottle of wine, and spend your evening playing strip poker, twister, or any other game you may love to spend some quality time together. Turn off your phones and put on some music.
At Home Beer Tasting
Both the LCBO and the Beer Store always have a wonderful range of single cans. Pick up a few interesting flavours, some pickles and some nacho chips and find your new favourite brewery. You could also look for some frozen apps at your local grocery store to enjoy alongside.
Are there any thrifty Toronto Date ideas I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below and enjoy your Valentine’s Day!