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Romance - Spring / Summer

Consider Winnipeg to be that strand of spaghetti between Lady and the Tramp — we’re going to help bring those lips together.

They may say Paris is “the City of Love,” but here in Winnipeg we are willing to toss our hat in the ring for that title, especially when you follow this itinerary:

You may not be able to have a stylish marriage, particularly if you can’t afford a carriage, but we guarantee you two will look sweet, upon the seat(s), of a bicycle built for two.

Yes, what better start to the day can two lovebirds have than peddling the city together on tandem bikes from Bee-2-Gether. With several stations in the city, including The Forks, The Forks Waterfront, and Assiniboine Park, these bike rentals are ideally situated to see some of the nicest — and most romantic — spots in the city.

Should you choose The Forks route, we recommend exploring all the curves along the river pedaling over the Esplanade Riel — Winnipeg’s très sexy pedestrian bridge — to St. Boniface, Winnipeg’s French neighbourhood which is oozing with the sort of French flavour that will make you say oh là là.

In a little nook tucked-in behind the St. Boniface Cathedral is where you’ll find La Belle Baguette, a little eatery that is cuter than a husky puppy. The bakery itself smells like heaven, while the pastries, breads and baked goods that come out of its kitchen are guaranteed to be love at first sight. Get a small selection of pastries, have a seat on their sunny patio, then hand feed each other like they do in the movies — a charming way to start your morning.

Seemingly all of St. Boniface is teeming with delightful patios, with one of the best ones found at Promenade Café and Wine, which provides stunning vistas of all of downtown. Promenade itself is an excellent restaurant for French fare, so you should also include a glass of wine and some moule frites as part of your romantic plans if you are looking for an early lunch.

Should the Red River (which you’ll have cycled over and spied from Promenade) be calling to you two, answer that call on a trip along Winnipeg’s winding rivers with Splash Dash Guided River Tours. These river taxis take off and pick up passengers at multiple stops throughout the Assiniboine and Red rivers while providing stunning perspectives of our riverbanks and architecture. You rdate will love it, we swear.

Handholding is of course a great way to get together, especially when it is during a leisurely stroll through a park teeming with gardens, wondrous works of art, and the sounds of the summer. For this, take your date to Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg’s verdant 1,110-acre masterpiece.

You two will smell the abundance of flowers in the Formal Gardens while marvelling at the tree lined paths that will lead you into the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. This tranquil garden contains more than 300 awe-inspiring works from Mol, the renowned Ukrainian Canadian sculptor. These include depictions from Greek mythology like Europa and the Bull that, if you know your classics, is pretty much foreplay. Throughout summer free jazz performances are a regular occurrence here, adding some extra amour to the ambiance.

From there, have a picnic amongst Assiniboine Park’s expansive green spaces. You could pick up lunch from The Park Café at the Qualico Family Centre then take a seat in one of Assiniboine Park’s six other gardens where floral fragrances hang in the air like your wanton desires.

Once you’ve sufficiently taken your fill in nature, do as the locals do and get yourself over to Bridge Drive-In (BDI). No spot in the city can claim to have kindled more relationships than BDI, the spot where teenage couples get soft serve cones before taking a romantic stroll over the Elm Park Bridge. This love affair often continues later in life, as elderly and middle-aged couples have made BDI their Sunday night tradition, honouring the site where their love first caught flame. It’s seriously too cute.

Much of the same can be said about Corydon Avenue, Winnipeg’s Little Italy, where the gelato shops and sunny patios are filled in the summer with lovebirds sharing sips and icy treats.

If you are looking to get real steamy, boy do we have a spot for you. It’s called Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature, a Scandinavian spa so exquisite that its very name, when whispered amongst the pines of the Fort Garry neighbourhood, will bring you to pure, sensual bliss, as if its eucalyptus vapours were nibbling at your ear. All you need is a bathing suit, a robe and some flip flops, and this place will do the rest with its hot thermal pools, steamy and dry saunas, and cold pools and waterfall, which are all meant to use in a hot-cold-hot cycle. Thermëa is ideal for couples, as you’ll need someone to rub the invigorating and exfoliating lavender salts on your back between steam room sessions. Plus, they have tantalizing cuisine for lunch and dinner where dining in robes is mandatory.

Or for a different take on rejuvenation, the luxurious Ten Spa at the Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre offers a couple’s hamam treatment that is out of this world. Well, out of this continent at least, as the hot air bathing ritual has roots in Turkey, where this cleansing method brings physical and spiritual purification. Couples will be enticed with a sensual warm shower, salt rub, olive oil wash, and ultimately a full body massage, as you are fully renewed by this sumptuous treatment.

As well, Inn at the Forks’ Riverstone Spa — cited as one of the best hotel spas in Canada by enRoute magazine— is more than a treat. Riverstone has three different couples packages — Spa for Two, the Aaaaahhh Package and Together We Will Escape — that involve couples massages, hand and foot therapy, an overnight stay in the beautiful hotel, and breakfast in SMITH restaurant (or room service), that will make for the ultimate 24-hour pampering.

As night falls, head out to one of Winnipeg’s celebrated tapas restaurants because nothing entices like sharing bites. In Osborne Village you can savour Spanish flavours at Segovia — Winnipeg’s most acclaimed restaurant. If you get there early be sure to get a seat on the charming little patio where you can sip some cava and feed one another delectable bites.

Post-dinner, take a romantic stroll down the city’s famed Assiniboine Riverwalk, where the babbling waters sound like sweet nothings in your ear. Surely you’ll hear birds sing overhead as if to say, “Get a little closer.” While holding hands is not mandatory, I bet you do, you smitten little lovers you.

After this abundance of romance you’ll surely need a place to stay, and the one Winnipeg hotel tailor made for romance is Mariaggi’s Theme Suite Hotel, a highly rated hotel where every room is an exotic, worldly location. TripAdvisor has listed Mariaggi’s as one of the10 most-romantic hotels in the world, so you can’t argue with that.

Go get ‘em, tigers.

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