Take a stroll through one of the world’s most admired botanic gardens. (Photo: Space for Life)
Montreal may well be North America’s de facto romance capital. Sure, that’s a bold claim, but it only takes a brief jaunt to the city to understand how it earns the title.
Perhaps it’s the linguistic exoticness that makes Montreal an epicenter of seduction. French has always been the language of love, and nowhere on the continent is it spoken more than in this Canadian metropolis. Plus the city is just so darn easy on the eyes.
Whether you gaze upon muted tones of autumn, sparkling winter nights or sultry summer sunsets, Montreal delivers a dreamy backdrop for young sweethearts and silver-haired couples alike.
If you’ve got love on the brain, this is your playbook for romance in Canada’s most sensual destination.
A Rose by Any Other Name…
The city’s largest garden, Jardin Botanique, is one of the most respected botanical gardens in the world. With 190 acres of themed spaces (from Japanese to First Nations and plenty in between), the garden is a horticultural wonderland — the perfect place to steal some smooches.
Each autumn the annual lantern festival in the Chinese Garden (Gardens of Light) offers a kaleidoscopic backdrop for walking hand-in-hand.
Stroll Through Old Montreal
Ground zero for charm is Old Montreal. With cobblestone streets and a mishmash of Beaux Arts architecture, the neighborhood is essentially a film set for a romantic movie. The centerpiece of Old Montreal is the stunning Notre-Dame Basilica, which is, incidentally, where the queen of love songs — a local legend named Celine Dion — was married in 1994.
Visitors should tuck into Garde Manger (and order the oysters because you know what they say … ). After dinner, see a concert or art film at the whimsical Phi Centre or explore the otherworldly installations at DHC/ART, a foundation for contemporary art.
Kiss at the Top of Mount Royal
Montreal’s largest park, Mount Royal, was designed by the same man who also envisioned New York’s Central Park: Frederick Law Olmsted. Gazing at downtown Montreal from the Kondiaronk Belvedere at the top of the mountain is popular for good reason: The sweeping views over the downtown skyscrapers and slow-moving river are the perfect backdrops for a selfie with your sweetie.
Alternatively, stoke your evening’s flame by heading to the northern side of the hill to Saint Joseph’s Oratory at dusk. Ascend the 100 steps to where — whether you are a religious person or not — the sunsets are divine.
Make Things Steamy
While sunsets might be thwarted by clouds, and roaming through a rose garden is less appealing in the rain, a trip to the spa is a reliable, weather-safe bet. One of the most popular options in Montreal is a former ferryboat turned Nordic spa called Bota Bota, which is permanently docked on the St. Lawrence River.
Sure you can enjoy eucalyptus vapor, the dry Finish saunas or a couples massage, but the distinguishing factor is the superb waterside views of Old Montreal.
For a nature-based setting (without leaving the city), Strøm Spa offers a few acres of greenery and a variety of sensual packages. The spa’s monthly “Fridays Under the Stars” event is both steamy and dreamy: live acoustic guitar, a meal and a cocktail.
Picnic in the Park
A summer afternoon spent lounging in Parc Lafontaine is one of Montreal’s most emblematic romantic outdoor activities. Grab a blanket, a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine (permitted in the context of a meal) and snuggle while watching the world go by.
In the winter months the pond freezes. Rent skates and glide to the soundtrack of classical music. #perfectdatenight