Now that summer has officially entered our lives, it’s time to take our budding romances to the streets (metaphorically speaking, of course). With a city as interesting and diverse as ours, there is no shortage of venues and activities in which to participate with our significance others. For those looking for something hotter than the typical dinner-and-a-movie night out, check out our list of unique date ideas.
Stand in line for ice cream
Ice cream is a perfect after-dinner destination, but if you’re hoping to get in and out of any of these downtown scoop houses in less than twenty minutes, you’ve clearly lost your mind. You’re surrounded by vapid conversation, trying to avoid being captured in everyone’s Instagram shots; you’re exhausted, arms folded, struggling to maintain your composure while leaning against a rickety railing. By the time you reach the desk, you’ve got 10 seconds to choose from 4,000 options. Why deny the inevitable? Make the most of that long, awkward wait and hit your date with the hard questions. Ice cream: a true ice breaker.
Experience the forest under the stars
The couple that plays together stays together. And there is no better place for adventurous mates to practice togetherness than inside one of Treetop Trekking’s zip lining and aerial games parks. With five Ontario locations, two of which are in the GTA, these outdoor forest areas are a dream for climbers and thrill-seekers looking for something more than an ordinary date. Book a night trek and swing amongst the treetops under the stars. Nervous? Bring another couple (or two) and take advantage of reasonable group rates.
Watch some birds
Seriously—bird watching is not just for retirees and weirdoes. The Toronto Ornithological Club and Bird Studies Canada are two great organizations that offer up a ton of FREE information on birds both transient and native to the downtown core. Visit their websites for more info on outings, where to look, what to bring—or how to start your own adventure.
Take a painting class
Create a work of art on your next outing with the help of the fine folks at Paintlounge, a social painting concept studio with three locations in the GTA. Partake in a beginners workshop, try an intense freestyle session, or participate in a number of special events this summer, including technique seminars and a dual yoga/paint class. The sky’s the limit.
Pick some berries
Nothing says summer like a stroll through the berry patch. For a romantic, and economical, morning-afternoon date, visit one of the many farms just outside of the GTA and get your pick on. Perennial favourites like Downey’s and Whittamore’s are a safe bet.
Camp—or glamp—under Toronto’s Light Polluted skies
Looking to sleep under the stars—in your own backyard? It’s not as crazy as you think. For those outdoor junkies who love to smell like campfire and bug spray, we’ve got the romance package for you. Glen Rouge Park, the only campground within the City of Toronto, is a unique sleeping venue for your next date (maybe even your first date –no judgement). Rouge Park, just north of Rouge Beach off of the Kingston TTC line, offers breathtaking nature with urban amenities just within reach. Want to get a little further out of town? Check out these alternatives.
Play a game of lawn bowling
Who knew that Toronto had so many organizations devoted to throwing big, heavy balls at lighter, tinier balls? Members at multiple GTA clubs—both private and public—are gearing up for another sunny season of the classic British pastime, and joining in on the fun has never been easier. For intermediate-level players, check out the bowling clubs in Leaside and Lawrence Park; for beginners, the West Toronto Lawn Bowling organization offers FREE games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
For a city resting atop one of the Great Lakes, and located south of five thousand other mini-lakes, you can expect to get your hair wet every now and then. If you’re looking for romance on the high seas without leaving the 416, we’ve got the next best thing. There are literally dozens of businesses renting or selling quality water gear and vessels for your next shore thing summer afternoon. Toronto Adventures, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, and Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre are a few of the trusted names where you can get your surf on. Interested in a double date? Group excursions and tandem tours tend to be less costly, and just as fun.
Catch a play
From a slew of big budget, Tony-winning reproductions, to some independent and original creations, there is a ton of theater culture to experience this summer. If you’re tired of the big Cineplex, bring your date to one of over thirty houses in the all-encompassing Toronto Theatre District. Show times here.
And of course, a music festival
Pulsating thumps, mosh pits and port-a-johns. If this sounds like your idea of romance, then you and your date are in luck. Summer in Toronto means more music festivals than you can shake a Selfie Stick at. Some of the big events coming your way include: TURF, Time Fest, and Camp Wavelength, just to name a few. Of course, if you can swing a ride and book off the time, WayHome or Riverfest Elora are sure to feature good vibrations. For the smoother, sexier sounds check out the legendary Toronto Jazz Festival.
(Superfriends image: Basheer Tome)