Back To Magazine

February 01, 2010

Love, etc

Calgary and area’s best bets for a Valentine’s Day to remember

Pepper Rodriguez

Article Photo Enlarge

Some say it’s about romance, others say it’s rampant commercialism at its worst. But, for better or for worst, Valentine’s Day is here to stay. In fact, recent numbers from the Retail Council of Canada show that 81 per cent of Canadians intend to show their spouse or partner they care on February 14, and 52 per cent planned to show their affection to a member of their family including children also on this day.

Historically, Saint Valentine’s Day is a Western European Christian holiday that originated as the Roman feast of Lupercalia, a day dedicated to celebrating health and fertility. One of its widely accepted origins is that the feast was Christianized in memory of the martyrdom of St. Valentine in 270 A.D., who, in medieval times, came to be associated with the union of lovers under conditions of duress.

In modern times, the holiday is celebrated on February 14th by the exchange of romantic or comic verse messages called “valentines.”

Esther A. Howland created the first commercial Valentine greeting card produced in the United States in the 1840s, and today the exchange of cards and other items of endearment has become an annual worldwide ritual to signify love and affection.

Interestingly enough, the Discover Card’s Valentine’s Day Shopping survey found out that when asked what they hoped to receive for this occasion, both men and women (62 per cent) said a night on the town was their preferred gift. Other high-ranking gifts on men’s wish lists included entertainment products (45 per cent) and candy (26 per cent), whereas women would most like to receive flowers (55 per cent) and jewelry (44 per cent).

So, we here thought it might be fun to come up with our own Valentine’s Day wish list, great ideas on where, when and how to spend this amorous occasion in town. After all, a gesture of love is Cupid’s arrow. Here’s a quiver full:

A romantic getaway
Romance the night away — that is, away from the kids, work, and other stress-related items. Try a romantic, secluded spot like the Mountain Zen at Silver Creek Lodge in Canmore. It is a 75-suite luxury hotel/condo vacation property with terrific mountain views, a trio of outdoor hot tubs, the excellent Wild Orchid Asian Bistro & Lounge (they have an extensive Sake list), and the luxurious Bodhi Tree spa. It will surely set the mood right for a night (or weekend) of romance.

Kal Kanaan, who handles marketing and sales for Silver Creek Lodge, says a special package awaits guests for Valentine’s with wine and chocolate in each room and maybe even a couple’s massage thrown in.

For an in-town experience, you can try The Consulate at the Elbow River Manor luxury bed-and-breakfast in Mission, close to the Stampede grounds and at the heart of Calgary’s entertainment district. Built in 1910, The Consulate at the Elbow River Manor is currently undergoing a transformation to enhance an already unique and unforgettable experience for guests. It already has a fully restored 4,000-square-foot arts and craft style vintage inn that features multiple guest common areas on the main floor level and in the outdoor patios and gardens.

Dinner out
There’s a lot of romantic dinner choices in Calgary, depending on your taste, the kind of mood and setting you want and budget of course (we may be climbing out of the recession but its always good to think of the cost of a night out).

Some of the more popular choices would be the Rouge in Inglewood, Teatro by Olympic Plaza, and enduring favourite, the Calgary Tower with its exciting new restaurant, Sky 360.
Rouge’s restaurant is a heritage site and is the former home of one of Calgary’s most prominent citizens, A.E. Cross, and its late Victorian setting does produce a distinctive romantic appeal. Chef Michael Dekker’s award-winning creations will make it a night to remember.

Teatro is housed in the historic Dominion Bank building giving it a rare turn-of-the-century look with a very modern twist with its 18-foot coffered ceilings and Corinthian columns, and 19th century iron gates from Paris that frame the dining room. The culinary style is Italian but Executive Chef Romuald Coladon was raised and trained in France bringing his own unique sensibilities to the table. Teatro is perfect for Valentine’s or any other day for that matter.

Muse Restaurant & Lounge in Kensington has recently landed in an informal Twitter survey as one of the most romantic spots in town. It features eclectic French & Canadian cuisine served in a casual yet elegant surrounding. Its unique atrium style restaurant has been transformed into a sexy and contemporary space with several dining levels including a special 8-10 person Chefs table and a comfortable full service lounge and bar area. Its location close to the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium makes Muse a favourite destination for the theatre and concert crowd.

Calgary Tower may be a traditional favourite for Valentine dinner but what many don’t know is that it has a new restaurant with a totally cool look that makes dinning 57-stories up an even more remarkable experience. The Sky 360 restaurant has been garnering rave reviews since it opened in October 2008. Elevation fee is waived off for the price of an entrée, which has undoubtedly affected its popularity, but its offering of international cuisine is as good a reason as well.

Valentine’s Day shopping
Looking to spend some dough for the beloved this Valentine’s? Hey, we can afford to splurge once in a while. Calgary does offer some options when looking for that sentimental, romantic and memorable gift without having to go the cheesy route (no mugs with hearts, please).

For men, lingerie is always a safe, sexy bet and Calgary has a bunch of specialty stores to choose from.

Hanky Pankx at the Avenida Shopping Centre off Macleod Trail in the southeast, offers original Tara Paardy Designs plus Dreamgirl, Shirley, Leg Avenue and QT Intimates in its lingerie line. They can also host private parties and can also make custom made bridal shower and lover’s baskets.

MisChiff’s Closet has fun, sexy lingerie and fantasy fashions including a selection of playful shoes and boots. The Kensington store also has adult fashions in PVC for both men and women.

For something a little more edgier, try boudoir photos — intimate photos of you and your loved one.  Editions by Frederick specializes in this kind of photography, using their patented CyberSet set-up to merge the digital world with traditional photography, they and create fantastic backdrops and the most lasting and memorable images for their clients.

If all else fails, then you can always count on home-grown chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut and their sweet creations to make Valentine’s Day a toothy affair. Their chocolate truffles are hand-rolled round chocolate balls, dusted with cocoa powder or nuts and so delicious they put to rest the argument whether chocolates are an aphrodisiac or not. Because these certainly are. 

Condo Living Insider

Grand Openings, Magazine Previews & More...

May 01, 2019

Section23 acquires Baywest Homes

Section23 Developments announces that it has reached an agreement with Bordeaux Properties to acquire its ownership of… Read more about Section23 acquires Baywest Homes

May 01, 2019

Pet-friendly StreetSide

StreetSide Developments wears its love for pets on its sleeve. Not only are their multi-family developments all… Read more about Pet-friendly StreetSide