It's hard to imagine going on a date that doesn't involve some sort of alcoholic beverage (especially if it's a first date, since alcohol is the usual icebreaker). But there are a bunch of people out there who would rather spend a date sober so that they can really connect with the person they're going out with.
There are a lot of cool things to do in Toronto that have built-in 'date icebreakers' and could serve as replacements for alcohol. Here are 12 of my favourites:
1. David Dunlap Observatory // 123 Hillsview Dr
Ideally, the best way to watch the stars would be outside on a grassy knoll with a couple of blankets and mugs of steaming coffee for two. But because the weather will be rather cold for the next couple of months, the best alternative would be to go to an observatory! David Dunlap Observatory is only a short drive away from Toronto (maybe around 30 minutes away). It also holds a variety of events beginning in May, including telescope observing of celestial objects, space-related arts and crafts and space talks. Although it reopens a few months after Valentine's Day, a visit to the DDO is worth the short wait!
2. Paintlounge // 784 College St
Coffee shops are typical choices for dates, especially in Toronto, since it is teeming with them. But if you were looking to mix it up a little, why not hit up the Paintlounge? The venue has its own Cafe Bar, where you can choose from a variety of different hot drinks, including coffee and teas. And of course, you get to paint some amazing stuff that you can take home and hang up in your room to remember your amazing date together.
3. Urban Capers Scavenger Hunt // 585 Dundas St E
Most people consider their significant other to be the person they work best with in a team. Test this theory out by going on an Urban Caper scavenger hunt! Essentially, you and your partner will be given a clue sheet that takes you to different locations with riddles to solve. There are different themes you can choose from, including Murder at the ROM (sold out), The Mummy's Curse, and Distillery Whiskey Mystery. And, if you guys get the most points, you win a mystery prize at the end!
4. Sunday Antique Market // 125 The Esplanade
Skip the standard Ikea date and head out to the Sunday Antique Market instead. The store is located just across the St. Lawrence Market, and you guys are bound to find things you haven't seen since you were kids. Maybe you can even sneak some time away from your date to surprise him or her with a keepsake to remember you by!
Photo cred - hauntedwalk.com
5. The Haunted Walk // 56 The Esplanade
You don't have to wait until Halloween to go on a scary adventure. The Haunted Walk offers tours of the city's creepy and haunted places. These tours are also perfect for people who are history buffs, since the tours are always accompanied by historical facts of the various sites on your walk. Plus, you could always use the "I'm scared" card to hint at a cuddle with your date.
6. Ontario Science Centre // 770 Don Mills Rd
The Ontario Science Centre is a great place for couples who get bored easily because there's always something in there to keep you occupied. Aside from its several exhibits, the Science Centre also has a variety of engaging workshops to try out, and a gigantic IMAX theatre where you can catch an interesting movie.
7. Helitours // Billy Bishop Airport, Hangar 6, Suite 214
Ever consider having a date thousands of feet above ground level? Helitours offers packages for helicopter tours around Toronto, and also has a couple Valentine's Day specials since it's just around the corner. Share a breathtaking view of your city with your significant other today!
8. Battle Sports Archery // 26 Ashwarren Rd
If you and your partner like delving in all sorts physical activities, then you should definitely hit up Battle Sports for a session of archery. The venue offers introductory lessons for groups of 3 or more people, so it may be better to save this one for a couples night out. Nevertheless, you're bound to have a great time (and all without alcohol!)
9. Theatre Passe Muraille // 16 Ryerson Ave
Theatre Passe Muraille is perfect for those who are in the mood to see a live show but are on a budget. The theatre holds multiple shows throughout the week that are written by local Toronto playwrights. Check out show listings here.
Photo cred - torontoknifethrowing
10. Toronto Knife Throwing // 6 Curity Ave
Knife throwing is perhaps the one activity where it's appropriate to say "just the tip". Toronto Knife Throwing has a range where you and your date can test out your Tris Prior savvy. The venue allows you to BYOB; but for a non-alcoholic date, you could absolutely choose to skip on that.
11. Threshold Aviation // 215 Carlingview Dr
Chances are you're not going to get your pilot license any time soon. But that doesn't mean you can't take your partner on a date in the "skies"! Threshold Aviation has a plane simulator that will give you the total pilot experience. You and your co-pilot will get to decide on which airport to depart from, what the weather conditions will be like, the time of day and much more!
12. iFly Toronto // 2007 Winston Park Dr
How's skydiving for an icebreaker? iFly Toronto is a great way to experience the thrill of skydiving without all the risks. Defy the law of gravity with your date in a safe, indoor setting for affordable prices!
All of these activities should probably be accompanied with some sort of lunch or dinner at a great restaurant to make your date complete. Luckily, Toronto has several amazing eats to choose from. Try something out from this extensive list. Happy dating!