toronto valentines day

Valentine's Day events in Toronto

Valentine's Day events in Toronto are an apt representation of Valentine's Day itself. That is, a mixed bag of food, shopping, and sex--a failsafe commercial formula that taps into our most basic needs, while also assuming that we're inclined to slink into some frilled baby-doll number after a 6-course tasting menu of oysters and foie gras.

So yes, Valentine's naysayers, you have a point, as do those who jump headfirst into this brief reprise from the regularly scheduled barrage of flurries and flu season (or those who use this as a capital excuse to get laid). If you're tired of the same old overpriced jewellery, stiffly formal dinners, and awkward stripteases, give these events a shot, and be rewarded for your out-of-the-box thinking.


Cookies and Champagne Party
Back for another year and presented by the Hip & Urban Girl's Guide and American Express, this event gives a well-deserved nod to the lesser-known girls' best friends: home-baked cookies and champagne. Part networking event, part gluttonous celebration of sweets, the night requires you to bake a set of cookies (no store-bought), and bring it out with an ingredient card, then mingle, enjoy a plethora of baked goods, and take home a swag bag.
Steam Whistle Brewery, The Roundhouse (255 Bremner Blvd.), 7PM, $25 (but selling out quickly)

Mighty Aphrodite
Valentine's might be the only occasion on which the undoubtedly aphrodisiac but potentially stomach-churning combination of oysters and dark chocolate is de rigeur. Attend with your significant other, or treat yourself to a relaxed evening of nibbling on life's simple pleasures.
The Cookbook Store and The Kitchen Studio (850 Yonge Street), 7PM, $50

Show Soup Can Some Love - Fundraiser
February 14th is typically billed as a day of generous giving (of foreplay and the like), but why not give back to local artists? Soup Can Theatre's themed fundraiser will feature Nerd Girl Pinups, comedy, music, sketch troupes and a raffle featuring goodies from The Condom Shack, Hot Docs, and Old Spaghetti Factory (diverse, no?).
Hard Luck Bar (772A Dundas St W.), doors at 7PM, PWYC ($10 suggested)

Gardiner Museum Valentine's Trunk Show
If you're one of those last-minute gift shoppers, stop by the Gardiner Museum for a trunk show and sale of jewellery and accessories from a wide range of designers such as Karen McClintock, Cheryl Gushue, Eliza Kozurno, Alynne Lavigne, Biko, and two of my personal favourites (hint hint) Juma and Chloecommeparris.
Gardiner Museum (111 Queen's Park) 5:30PM Free entry, cash bar available

3D Printing Kissing Booth
An ingenious collaboration between Untitled and Co., Hot Pop Factory, and Draft Print 3D, this two-night event will feature 3D printing and scanning--come with your significant other (or others, no judging), get scanned, and then you'll have the option to purchase a 3D printed miniature of yourselves--truly, a personal keepsake.
Untitled and Co. (717 Queen St W.) February 12-13, 2013 6PM


I Love Sketchfest - Fundraiser
Kicking off the 2013 TOSketchfest season, this fundraiser for the city's sketch comedians is a swanky-meets-hilarious option for pre-Valentine's festivities, with oysters and charcuterie from Oyster Boy, hors d'oeuvres from Daniel et Daniel, and the chance to adopt a sketch troupe.
Steam Whistle Brewery (255 Bremner Blvd.), 7PM, $25

Be Mein Valentine
Because there's really no better way to show your love than with a Berlin cabaret. The night will see a scintillating collaboration between Skin Outta Sight and Boylesque T.O., ensuring that there'll be eye candy for all, as well as a chance to hit the dance floor at the after party, featuring DJ Sigourney Beaver.
Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St. W.), doors at 8PM, $25 (or $30 for VIP cabaret table)

Snakes and Lattes Meet-new-people-a-thon
If I wasn't already as taken as can be, I'd seriously consider joining in on this: games, strangers trying to impress, and drinks--what can possibly go wrong? The knowledgeable folks at Snakes and Lattes are compiling a list of 1-on-1 games to be played in a speed-dating-esque format, followed by group games where you'll meet up with your new romantic (and gaming) match and possibly vie for their attention. Hint: well-chosen resources in Catan make the man. The event is sold out for now, but they might be releasing more tickets.
Snakes & Lattes (600 Bloor Street West) 8PM

Love Near Bellwoods
The Ossington's pre-Valentine's celebration returns for another year, with a night chockfull of V-Day card-making and exchanging, a dance party (with slow dances) courtesy of DJ Humble Mike, and other as-of-yet-unannounced musical guests.
The Ossington (61 Ossington Ave.) 10PM, PWYC


360 Screenings: Valentine's Day Edition
The latest sensation sweeping the cinephile nation, 360 Screenings expertly blends cocktails, film, and dinner theatre, and holds it in historic buildings around the city, with the location only revealed 24 hours prior (and the film unveiled at the event). The previous three screenings have been Fight Club, Ghost and 28 Days Later, and this fourth instalment is sure to give you that lovin' feeling.
7PM, $60 regular ($40 for art workers, under 30s). Cash bar.

Hate Love Art Show
Those who prefer esoteric examinations of human emotions to drunken manifestations thereof should stop by Creatures Creating for the opening of a show that will consider love, hate, and how the two aren't as contradictory as we might think. There'll be food and drinks, and the show runs 'til February 20th.
Creatures Creating (822 Dundas St W.) 7PM

Love 4 A Cure
For the high-roller who wants to do away with the legwork and just buy a date, you'll have your chance at love by bidding on the city's most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, while enjoying champagne, hors d'oeuvres and live music. Jokes aside, the evening benefits Rethink Breast Cancer. Check out the website for more information.
Maison Mercer (15 Mercer St) 6PM, $60

Love a Heart for the Heart & Stroke Fundraiser
You'll sense a trend with this one: as above, this is a bachelor/bachelorette auction with all proceeds benefiting the Heart and Stroke Foundation. $5 gets you in, but there's a $25 minimum for bidding, and all dates come with date packages (including skydiving!).
The Hideout (484 Queen St W) doors at 8PM, $5 at the door

Dance is my Aphrodisiac
It's a well-documented theory that exercising together releases endorphins, and doing new things with your partner is bound to generate closeness--and nothing brings two bodies closer outside the bedroom than partner dance. Stop by City Dance Corps on the 14th, and score a dance class for your partner for just $10 (although you'll have to pay full price).
City Dance Corps (489 Queen St. W.)

Valentine's Day: 1602 Lonely Hearts Club
While you're not likely to be kicked out of 1602 Dundas West if you come as a couple, PDAs might receive a fair share of liquor-fueled glares. Presented by Short & Sweet Cupcakes, the event will answer that age-old question: do bourbon, bitterness, and cupcakes go together? It'll also mark the cupcake shop's 1-year anniversary, so come celebrate with tunes and frosted treats.
1602 Dundas St. West (1602 Dundas St. West)

A Different Kind of Desire
For folks with a literary bent, stop in for reading featuring writers Jeanette Lynes, Grace O'Connell, and Natalie Zina, who will be reading from her book Doom: Love Poems for Supervillains. Rumour has it there are a few erotic nuggets in the bunch, and the brain is, indeed, the body's largest erogenous zone.
Q Space (382 College Street) 7PM

Cupid's Playground
If you're of the mindset that there are many fish in the sea, and wide nets are wont to catch more of them, stop by Crown Bar & Lounge for the city's largest singles mixer and after party. The event is tailored for ages 25-45, with a complimentary drink included with your ticket, as well as free appetizers and sweets, and your chance at prizes ranging from dinners for two to primping packages.
Crown Bar & Lounge (393 King Street West), 7PM, $30 at the door

Les Coquettes present Blush
If you're a fan of date nights with steady erotic builds, Toronto-based cabaret group Les Coquettes are back and in fine form (har har), with a night of burlesque, dance, music, and cirque. Don't miss your chance to see some of their favourite numbers resurrected on the stage, each given a no doubt saucy update.
Revival Bar (783 College Street), 7PM & 10PM, $20-$35

Songwriters Circle of Jerks 5: Premature Ejerkulation
Bonus point for the witty title aside, The Songwriters Circle of Jerks sees local musicians with acoustic guitars in tow singing barebones songs, with a touch of humor. You can no doubt expect some heart-wrenching renditions of love ballads and my-girlfriend-done-gone-and-wronged me country crooning.
Free Times Cafe (320 College St) 8:30PM

Worn Fashion Journal: Heartbreak Karaoke
For those who are lamenting a lost love, there's no better way to exorcise a past lover than screeching out those very love songs that you felt were written for the two of you. Proceeds go to WORN, with each song costing you $1 (unless you're compelled to belt out "My Heart Will Go On;" Celine Dion requests are rightly penalized at $5).
JunJun (374 College Street) 9PM, $7 admission or $5 if wearing red or pink

Be My Valentine
Co-presented by the Orbit Room, the Secret Weapons and Soul Proprietor, this is a catch-all night of live music DJs playing love songs, break-up songs, and baby-making music.
The Orbit Room (580A College Street) 9:30PM

Photo by ariehsinger in the blogTO Flickr pool

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