You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day itself to celebrate the day. After all, when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday like it does this year, maybe you and your partner will be too busy on February 14 anyway. An early getaway can be found on Saturday, February 11 when the Calgary Farmers’ Market transforms itself into a romantic rendezvous. Playing up the theme of love, the market will be decked out in red checkered table cloths, flowers and hearts everywhere. Duelling pianos act Rowdy Pianos will be on hand to provide the entertainment, along with roaming a capella groups. Not to mention all the fixings for sale that you’ll need to cook your own Valentine’s Day dinner.
A cool alternate choice to going for dinner is to take in a show with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra instead. The upbeat big band orchestra promises a more high energy show than you’ll usually find from most other orchestras. Special for Valentine’s season, the CJO is hosting a show titled “The Art of Romance, The Art of Soul,” to provide an ideal romantic soundtrack to your date night. This show will see the CJO’s talented musicians taking on the work of Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Sam Smith and more. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door, with a $10 discount for students.
An especially elegant option for Valentine’s Day can be found at the Calgary Opera’s fundraising Valentine Ball. Held to support the Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program, the Valentine Ball offers a night of dining, champagne and performance at the Fairmont Palliser’s Crystal Ballroom. The event features a silent auction, and entertainment from the likes of Broadway performer Andrew Love and Canadian soprano Lida Szkwarek. Afterwards, attendees can stick around and dance the night away.
Instead of lamenting the cold weather hanging around in February, there’s plenty of chances to take advantage of the freezing temperatures and hit the ice on Valentine’s Day. Prince’s Island Park in downtown Calgary is a classic option to go for a skate with your date on the park’s lagoon. There’s plenty of other options in the park to make a full day of your excursion, including pathways, cross-country skiing and the River Cafe for a meal. Or, if Prince’s Island Park isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other skating options around the city at Olympic Plaza, Carburn Park, Thomson Family Park, and more. A full list of outdoor skating rinks in Calgary can be found here
Those looking for a more educational alternative for their Valentine’s Day plans will believe it’s true that it’s all happening at the zoo. The Calgary Zoo’s annual In the Heat of the Night event invites their customers into the Enmax Conservatory on two consecutive nights, February 13 and 14, for dinner and a show. A romantic Valentine’s dinner and decadent desserts will be followed by a special presentation all about critter romance, courtship and mating in the animal kingdom. Tables for two at the event go for $100 per person, while tables of six cost $90 per person. Those interested should book early as this popular event usually sells out before the event comes. A full menu of food that will be served at the event can be found on the Calgary Zoo’s website.
Not all the best Valentine’s Day date ideas are designed for couples. At Mt. Norquay, its annual Lifts of Love event has their eye towards looking out for single skiers just a few days before Valentine’s Day. On Saturday, February 11, Mt. Norquay’s Lifts of Love will once again put a snowy mountaintop spin on speed dating. Attendees line up to take the chair lift up the mountain and end up seated beside someone new each time to see if sparks fly in the frigid, winter air. Afterwards, a DJ will take over for a post-skiing mixer. Advance tickets are available for $25, which includes your lift ticket, as well as free transportation for event guests.
Shucking oysters may not seem like the most sentimental option for a Valentine’s Day celebration, but Rodney’s Oyster House is taking advantage of the food’s reputation as an aphrodisiac to host its own event for couples on February 14. With high levels of zinc and amino acids, oysters have a reputation for being great for love and fertility. It’s only natural for Rodney’s to host a “Couples Therapy” night with the tagline that “couples who shuck together, stay together.” Rodney’s is offering a full informative night for couples. For $50 tickets, couples will learn how to shuck oysters together, and receive a shucking knife, four oysters, two pints, a glass of bubbles, and 18 more oysters to take home to do it all over again.
Coming two days before Valentine’s Day, the St. Valentine’s Artisan Market will present the perfect opportunity for panic-stricken lovers to find last minute gift ideas, and for couples to peruse the Valentine’s-themed items for sale. Organized by Tangled Tree Artwork & Events at the Bearspaw Lions Hall, the market will allow customers to buy fine art photography, food and cookware, pottery, oils and bath and body care, and more. Check the event’s Facebook page to learn how to enter to win a prize before you even come to the market.
Organizing an annual comedy festival in Calgary each June, and scheduling 100 comedy shows throughout the year otherwise, the FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival Society is a trusted name for comedy in the city. That means that when Valentine’s Day rolls around, comedy fans can rely on at least one show to entertain them. FunnyFest is hosting a Valentine Comedy Extravaganza this year on Saturday, February 11, featuring the work of three comedians, including two-time FunnyFest Favourite Comic Joe King. Tickets are $29, and the event includes free parking and a full dinner and drink menu.
There may be no more romantic pairing of food and drink than the delectable combination of chocolate and wine. Willow Park Wines & Spirits is leaning into this commonly held belief with a special Valentine’s Day event all about pairing hand crafted chocolates from Old Coal Chocolates with Willow Park’s own showcase variety of wine selections. The experts on hand will be able to provide advice about the best possible pairings to get the most out of both drink and dessert. Tickets are on sale for $45 to attend the decadent two-hour event.