Generate some heat this February 14 and celebrate winter as well. Here are five ways to spark romance across Alberta on a Valentine’s Day date.
First date: explore Edmonton’s Ice Castles during the Silver Skate Festival
Wander through a true winter wonderland inside the Ice Castles at Hawrelak Park. This sprawling Frozen-meets-Narnia spectacle, hand-built from icicles and water, features caves, tunnels, ice slides and ice plazas that sparkle blue by day and glimmer a kaleidoscope of colours by night, thanks to thousands of LED lights embedded in the ice. Afterward, check out the Silver Skate Festival, an annual celebration of winter. Go skating on frozen Hawrelak Pond (rentals are available from the skate shack) then cozy up together for a warming hot chocolate. Or, sip something stronger at nearby Bar Clementine.
Active date: ski, stay and soak up the romance at Lake Louise
Snuggle up on the Paradise chair lift and then ski laps through some of the best snow in the Canadian Rocky Mountains on the backside of the mountain at Lake Louise Ski Resort in Banff National Park. Après ski, head to historic Deer Lodge, just up the hill from the village at Lake Louise. Enjoy cocktails by a crackling fire in intimate Caribou Lounge, which has an awesome trapper’s cabin vibe. Take advantage of a deal that gets you lift tickets and an overnight in one of the lodge’s well-appointed rooms. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit to enjoy the view of Victoria Glacier from the rooftop hot tub.
Parents’ date night: Couple’s Therapy at Rodney’s Oyster House in Calgary
Escape the rigors of child rearing and rekindle the romance with the help of a few bivalve aphrodisiacs at a Valentine’s Day event that promises to be a shucking good time. At Calgary’s iconic oyster bar, the two of you will learn how to open up oysters in the shell using a traditional shucking knife. In between slurps of raw shellfish – considered the cuisine of Casanova – you can toast your love with bubbles or beer. Best of all, each couple gets to bring home 18 oysters to keep the flame lit after day is done.
Off the grid date: escape to Waterton in winter
Snowshoe the shape of a heart onto a fluffy white field in the frosty wilds of Waterton Lakes National Park in the southwest corner of the province. Or shout your love to the mountaintops. You’ll likely get an echo – the village has limited services in winter and you may have the place to yourselves. How romantic! Take advantage of the offer at the newly renovated Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort and choose free rentals of snow shoes or cross-country skis during your stay. Après, cuddle up at Vimy’s Lounge and Grill. Dress is casual, dining is divine. And the view is to die for.
Pop the question: propose during a private sleigh ride at Heritage Ranch
Glide past 20,000 twinkling lights as a team of horses pulls you and your partner over the pretty trails as part of a date night deal at Heritage Ranch in Red Deer. This 207-acre parkland provides a lovely setting for a romantic evening – or something more serious. If the answer is “yes,” the champagne will be chilled and waiting for a celebratory toast after the sleigh ride. Then, sit down to a five-course candlelight dinner of fresh fish, duck breast or rib eye at Westlake Grill, located on the ranch. Hmm…possible wedding venue?