We’re less than a day away from the most romantic day of the year (supposedly), but there’s no need to feel left out if you don’t have a special someone to celebrate with. February 14 has increasingly become a day to celebrate love in all of its forms, whether romantic, platonic or familial, and Montreal is teeming with ways to do just that.
Many E-QIP students come to Montreal from far away to study or work for varying periods of time, and for most of them, celebrating holidays, birthdays and other annual celebrations with loved ones isn’t an option. Enter solutions like "friendsgiving," "friendsmas" and "galentines" (or “palentines”… we’re all about inclusivity).
Whether you’re a thousand kilometres away from your beloved or happily single, check out our recommendations for making the most of ❤️ Day with your pals (or your first true love: yourself)!
Is there anything that feels more decadent than a boozy brunch on a weekday? If you’re lucky enough to have Thursday mornings off, gather a group of friends and hit up one of Montreal’s classic breakfast or brunch spots for mimosas and maple syrup galore—you’ll avoid the lovey-dovey February 14 evening crowds and get to sample some of Montreal’s best brunch options without the usual queues. Try the unconventional, French-inspired offerings at Hochelaga’s Les Affamés, share a milkshake and a plate of pancakes at retro Mile End diner Beautys, discover what the fuss is about at Rosemont fave Régines or enjoy some modern Jewish fare at Arthurs Nosh Bar; all four serve breakfast or brunch throughout the week.
Who says a romantic day at the spa is just for couples? Book a spot for yourself and your best pal at picturesque Montreal spa Bota Bota, which occupies an old river ferry anchored in the Old Port. Bota Bota offers a range of services and treatments, including a number of packages for two. They also have a sauna and outdoor bath heated to 38°—can you imagine any better way to spend a frosty mid-February day?
Who doesn’t love receiving a handwritten card? Every February 14, young students at schools throughout Canada load their backpacks with cards (and maybe a treat or two) for the entire class. That tradition is usually abandoned for good as kids approach secondary school, but why should it be? Pick up a pack of cards from Dollarama or go above and beyond and make your own and send them off to everyone you care about, near and far. Montreal has some great craft and art supply shops just bursting with materials, like DeSerres (which has multiple locations throughout the city).
No one to buy you chocolates on the big day? Buy them yourself! With all of its French influence, Montreal has plenty of chocolatiers worth writing home about. There are so many options to choose from that you just may have to hit up several of them to get a good sampling.
If the handmade cards have got you feeling crafty, why not fully embrace your artistic side with a bit of painting? At Le Céramic Café, you can paint ceramics to take home (either solo or with friends) over a coffee and snack. The St. Denis studio charges by the hour to paint, up to a maximum of $15 for 3+ hours. They’re open until midnight on Thursdays if you want to make an evening of it—or book your spot at a “paint nite" (held frequently at bars and restaurants around Montreal) if 2D art is more your thing!