Ontario's Greenbelt stretches across 1.8 million acres and offers many options for romantic getaways. From enchanting winery experiences along the Niagara Escarpment, to the exploration of Rouge Park in Markham, one can find the romance in the nature all around the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. It is all about the birds and the bees after all, isn't it?
As many people are choosing to support local and enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures, Ontario's Greenbelt is a great option for people looking for a great Valentine's day date close to home.
"The Greenbelt is for everyone. Whether you're a young couple or enjoying your golden years, there is so much to do in the Greenbelt that can suit any age or budget, " says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO at the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
At Hillebrand Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Winemaker Craig McDonald is proud to call the Greenbelt home and is a part of this year's list of romantic dates in the Greenbelt.
"We love being a part of Ontario's Greenbelt. There is something amazing about being able to produce your wine and dinner from the same soil," says Mc Donald. "Why would you fly halfway around the world when the best is already in your backyard?"
Hillebrand Winery was the region's first producer of ice wine in 1983. Another first, is this year's Greenbelt Guide to Romance compiled by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
Here is the Foundation's short list of some of the most romantic Valentine's Day destinations:
Hillebrand Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Lunch and Wine Tasting - $65.00 per person
This Greenbelt winery has been crafting their award-winning bubbly for over 20 years. Enjoy an intimate lunch hosted by a member of Chef Frank Dodd's culinary team as they share local food and wine stories. The experience will begin with a sparkling reception in Cellar 63, leading into a 3-course menu featuring wine and food grown in the same soil.
Nestled on the Niagara Escarpment, the Pretty River Valley Country Inn showcases the best of the Greenbelt and has been rated one of the top B&B’s in Ontario. This package brings you two nights weekend accommodation, complimentary sparkling wine, full country breakfasts, two all day passes to the world-renowned Scandinave Spa, and a local wine and cheese tasting. When you’re not basking in the Finnish Sauna, you can visit the Inn’s farm animals and enjoy their homemade maple syrup.
Rawhide Adventures, Shelburne
Range Riders Night - $250 per person
Get a taste of the ranch life at this Greenbelt corral. Enjoy two days of relaxed horseback rides through meadows and the rolling hills of the Niagara Escarpment. Then tuck in for a hearty dinner, cowboy breakfast, and a cozy cabin complete with toasty woodstove.
Rouge Park, south of Markham
Guided Nature Hikes - Free
Located just outside of Toronto, Rouge Park is Canada’s largest urban national park, and the perfect spot for a Valentine’s promenade. The knowledgeable staff run guided hikes all-year round: enjoy a leisurely stroll while you identify animal tracks and medicinal plants, go on an energetic fitness hike through the forest, or bring your pup along for a photography excursion. There are paces suited for everyone, and a large variety of styles.
Good Things Come to Those Who Bait
Victoria Inn and LetsFish Guiding, Rice Lake
Ice Fishing Weekend - $375 – $450 per person
Combine the great Greenbelt outdoors with graceful heritage accommodation. This weekend package brings you two nights stay, six to eight hours of ice fishing daily in a clean, comfortable hut, and two breakfasts, hot lunches and a gourmet dinner featuring local food. They’ll even cook the day’s catch for you! If fishing isn’t your thing, they also offer a weekend massage retreat for couples.