For a long time I thought Valentine’s Day was nothing but a Hallmark holiday artificially inflating the price of roses and chocolates. My preschooler changed my mind. My son loves all holidays and celebrations and to him, having a day to celebrate the people in your life who you love is a wonderful thing. It reminded me that you can take the Hallmark out of the holiday, and when you do, it can be a lovely way to take time out to show the people that matter to you that they are important in your life.
For those of you who are still looking for something to do with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, here are my local picks:
Take a romantic walk
New West has a number of lovely places for a stroll. If the weather is fine (or if you’ve got a big umbrella to share), I’d recommend taking a ramble through the Queen’s Park boulevards to admire the heritage homes or along the Quay boardwalk to admire the river view.
Enjoy an experiential gift
Chocolates, flowers and jewelry can be lovely, but happiness has more to do with what you do than what you consume. Buy tickets to a show at Massey Theatre or the Bernie Legge, spring for a couples’ cooking lesson at Wild Rice, or support your partner in developing new skills in sewing, dancing, archery, swordplay, art or other interests.
Indulge in a spa treatment
Phoenix Wellness is a lovely spot to go for a facial or mani-pedi. For massages, I’ve heard good things about Shine on 12th St as well. I haven’t tried any of the other spas in town, but there are many to choose from.
Hire a pro to take some couples’ shots
When one of you is always holding the camera, it’s hard to get a good photo of the two of you together. There are a lot of talented photographers who work locally in New Westminster, and a ton of great spots for photo shoots. I’d suggest Tipperary Park, the Quay Boardwalk and downtown as a starting point, but the people who do a lot of photography here all have their favourite buildings and lookout points that are good for a picture.
Go out for a nice meal
The classic Valentine’s Day activity. Wild Rice has a special prix-fixe dinner for Valentine’s Day. Taverna Greka has good food and a great view of the Fraser, and if you’re looking for something a little different, Tamarind Hill‘s Malaysian cuisine is a tasty treat. If you’re going out tonight for an early Valentine’s Day treat, Karmavore is hosting a vegan mingler at their shop on Columbia St.
Stay in and cocoon
Order in and curl up to watch a romantic movie together. Okonomi Sushi delivers their delicious fresh sushi, Yianni’s will do pick up (their Greek-style roast lamb is superb), and Spring Garden has tasty, fresh Chinese fare. If you’re cooking, I’d suggest Queens Park Meat Market for quality meat and a butcher’s expertise, River Market’s Crab Shop for fresh fish and delicious make-at-home crab cakes, and Sapperton’s Bella Cakes for a sweet treat. Pick up a bottle of wine from the experts at Quayside Wine Cellar or go really local with Pacific Breeze‘s wonderful made-in-New West wines (I recommend their GSM blend and their Killer Cab if you like red wine).
Buy something special
For her: a unique necklace or earrings from Cadeaux on East Columbia or Tiny Finery in River Market, a guilt-free faux-leather handbag from Karmavore, pearls from The Urban Gypsy, or something for the home from Lofty Living, Red Brick or Sonse Home Design. If you’re buying flowers, I’d recommend a bouquet or potted plant from KJM Urban Gardens or one of the unique arrangements from Queen’s Park Florist.
For him: A classic pair of quality leather shoes from Copps, a fine bottle of whisky, or a copy of New Westminster author JJ Lee’s book Measure of a Man. If your man is a gamer, a new game from Board Game Warriors or a vintage console platformer from Press Start on 12th St could be just the ticket. If he likes RC toys, you can find a good selection of remote control helicopters and airplanes at SN Hobbies on 12th St and RC cars and trucks at Team 1 Hobbies on East Columbia. High-end pocketknives and similar accessories can be found at DS Tactical on 12th St and Westley Military Surplus on Front St.
What else would you recommend for a romantic Valentine’s Day gift in New Westminster?