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Valentine’s Day Ideas That Break the Mold

Dinner, flowers, chocolate are time-tested and true, but we at Empire think you can do better this Valentine’s Day. Check out our list of unique and unpredictable activities, gifts and grub to indulge in on February 14.



  • Trade in the predictable candle-lit dinner for afternoon high tea at one of the GTA’s many tea rooms and cafes on offer. Our favourite is The Old Mill in Etobicoke.
  • Spend the evening solving a murder at the Mysteriously Yours, Mystery Dinner Theatre on Yonge Street. Watch Harry Whodunit’s magical act go awry and work with some of the greats like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Perrier and Miss Marbles to solve the case. Perfect for the murder-mystery buff.
  • With love in mind, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has published their top picks for an independent tour of their most romantic paintings. Print the list here and lead your love through this romantic stroll of the AGO.
  • For the intellectual couple with a good sense of humor, spend a cheeky evening at the Toronto Zoo as they host a dinner dedicated to the fine art of romance in the animal kingdom. Learn about the elaborate, awkward and hilarious mating rituals of our furry friends and enjoy a romantically inspired dinner.



Stuck on what to give your loved one this year? Try some of our favourite gift guides and pop-up shops for something unexpected.



To-Stay In

As with any holiday that brings hordes of people out to dine, you may prefer to celebrate in the comfort and privacy of your own home. If that is the case, we have you covered.


  • One of our favourite spots for fresh and delicious ingredients, Queen’s Pasta has gotten into the Valentine’s Day spirit with their heart shaped ravioli. Combine with their delicious vodka sauce for a gourmet and festive feast.
  • For a low-key Valentine’s Day, you can’t do any better than Netflix and Topper’s Pizza Heart Shaped Pizza. With locations from Toronto, to Oakville to Brantford they have you covered no matter where in the GTHA you are.