Sometimes it’s the circumstance — you’re caught in a snowstorm or an elevator. Or the moment — a glance, a missed train, or the time you picked up the wrong coat. But sometimes it’s the place that leads to fireworks and passion. Canada can help. Without any ado, here are the top spots for a romantic getaway across the country.
Port Rexton, Newfoundland and Labrador
A charming small-town maritime getaway
Port Rexton, three hours north of St. John’s, feels like a place time forgot, in a good way. There are the charming saltbox houses dropped onto the windswept landscape like a sprinkling of colourful Jujubes. Then, there’s the white picket fences and meandering country lanes. If you’re parched, try the artsy microbrewery overlooking the cove. The surroundings are just as satiating as the beer. You’ll be treated to the sparkling sapphire sea with the occasional iceberg drifting by. The emerald cliffs and lupin-carpeted hills are like something out of a Victorian novel making for the perfect place to spend some quiet time with your partner.
The Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino on Vancouver Island, BC
Storm watching on the wild Pacific
Lapping waves are lulling, but the surf that pounds Tofino’s wild West Coast is nothing short of electrifying. Add to that a candlelit tub with a view of the Pacific and a couple’s massage in a cedar cabin perched above the crashing waves and you've got something pretty special. “The Wick” is not only romantic, but secluded, sophisticated, and elegant. This is especially the case in winter, while the storms rage on outside, and you’re inside — cocooning in a luxe robe.
19th century romance
If you prefer your romance vintage-style, you have to visit pretty Niagara-on-the-Lake. Just under two hours from Toronto, this historic 19th century village is refined and genteel, perfect for strolling arm-in-arm past graceful Victorians and handsome brick manors lined with overflowing flower baskets. Dine out then pedal between the area’s 35 wineries, sipping the region’s world-famous icewine. Unwind at the end of the day at an antique-filled mansion: The 1864 Prince of Wales in town or perhaps the 17-acre Riverbend Inn & Vineyard overlooking the grape vines.
Waterton Lakes, Alberta
A fairy tale setting in the Rockies
Waterton Lakes looks like something out of a fairy tale. Especially when fleeting beams of light illuminate the Prince of Wales Hotel set high up on a grassy bluff overlooking the glaciers reflected in the glassy lake. It’s an icon that’s been capturing travellers’ imaginations for decades — and it’s still just as magical. Reserve a room in the Old World, chalet-style lodge, just north of Montana and Glacier National Park. After an evening chapter of your own making, get up early, find a cup of coffee and watch the sun paint the scene just for you two.
Aurora Village, Northwest Territories
Witness the magic of the northern lights
When it comes to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it’s hard to beat catching an elusive aurora borealis show with your partner in a secluded village. For the ultimate experience, head to Aurora Village in the Northwest Territories, which is considered the best place in the world to see the northern lights. Indulge in a gourmet meal and spending hours admiring nature’s most extraordinary light show with a warm drink in hand and heated outdoor viewing seats that swivel 360 degrees.
Cape Breton Highlands’ Skyline Trail, Nova Scotia
Walking on top of the world
What’s more heady than feeling like you’re at the top of the world, together? That’s the Skyline Trail, a poetic landscape in stunning Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the crown jewel of Cape Breton Island, North America’s No. 1 island according to Travel + Leisure. Plan your descent of the easy 8.2-kilometre loop at sunset to watch the sun melting into the Atlantic. The glow over the water as the two of you wind down the wooden boardwalks towards the ocean cliffs will stay with you long after the day is done.
Ice Hotel, Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Quebec
Cozy in a frozen fortress
There’s nothing wrong with a good fantasy — and that’s the stuff of whimsical Hôtel de Glace. Unique in North America, this is an entire fortress-like structure made of ice and snow that stands for three months a year just outside Quebec City. It’s all there: Fur-lined beds made of ice blocks, champagne flutes chiseled in glass, vaulted ceilings, glittering chandeliers, elaborate snow carvings and even a hot tub under the stars. Tied in the romance department with the Ice Hotel is Quebec City’s iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, one of the world’s most photographed hotels thanks to its castle-like architecture and commanding post over the St. Lawrence River.
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
Dogsledding through the snow
An adventure together is just as romantic as a candlelit table for two. Try explorer-style adrenaline with a backcountry dogsled ride for two through the Yukon. Sundog Retreat just outside Whitehorse can arrange dogsled expeditions from your base at a private cottage on 160 acres of wilderness. Learn to mush or just enjoy the exhilarating ride through the hushed forest. Wide-open landscapes mean larger-than-life vistas and winter is optimal for a shimmering northern lights show, too.