Your guide to Valentine’s Day gift shopping in Calgary

January 24, 2017

By Sarah Sussman

If you’re looking to score it big with your beau on Valentine’s Day, forgo the dreaded last-minute grocery store bouquets and boxed chocolates in favour of these thoughtful surprises and locally-made gifts. Here’s your guide to finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift in Calgary. [Photo credit:]

Your guide to Valentine’s Day gift shopping in Calgary

Shop local

From Feb. 3 until Feb. 5, 2017, head over to the Chinese Cultural Centre for a special Valentine’s Day edition of Market Collective. The monthly independent local marketplace returns with more than 50 different vendors selling a variety of jewellery, ceramics, clothing, home décor, bath and body products and more.

If you’re having a hard time deciding what to buy your sweetheart this year, drop by the Market for a spontaneous, locally-crafted, last-minute gift idea. Pick up a dainty, new statement jewellery piece from Cinder & Sage or all-natural perfumes and colognes from Adorn Infusions.

The newly opened Velour Clothing Exchange vintage boutique will also be onsite, with rare one-of-a-kind vintage frocks and statement fashion finds. And if you want to play it safe, Flannel Foxes is a Western Canadian clothing brand with a great minimalist aesthetic.

Buy something sweet

Chocolate may be a cliché Valentine’s Day gift, but it’s a classic for a reason. Head on over to Epiphanie Chocolate to pick up a box of chocolates that’s (almost) too pretty to eat in flavours like earl grey, blueberry matcha and mango.

If your partner isn’t big on chocolates, drop by Nordstrom at Chinook Centre to buy some luxury Sugarfina brand candies. The brand’s rosé-flavoured gummy bears and gummy roses have a huge following and are known to sell out frequently.

If you know your sweetie has a soft spot for ice cream, scoop up a pint of locally-made salted caramel Village Ice Cream (and two spoons – of course).
If you want to gift something completely indulgent, drop in to Ollia to pick up a box of artisanal macarons. Popular flavours include rose, lavender and honey, earl grey and chocolate peanut butter.

Let your relationship grow

If you’re not yet ready to commit to raising a pet with your partner, you can test the waters by taking care of a plant together. Increase your chances of success by purchasing a succulent, which will probably keep itself alive even if you forget to water it for a day, or a week or (maybe) even a month.

Head on over to Plant’s newly opened location in Inglewood in the space formerly occupied by DaDe Art & Design Lab for 3,000 square feet filled with succulents, house plants, terrariums, locally-made vases and pots and more. You can even build your own terrarium onsite if you want to really personalize your gift.

If you really just want to keep things classic and gift a bouquet of flowers, head to one of Calgary’s many locally-owned floral shops. Located just off 14th Street on 11th Avenue S.W., Peaseblossoms is a longstanding go-to flower and plant store. Regardless of whether your budget is $20 or $200, the shop’s florists will help you find the perfect bouquet for your budget. The Sweetheart Bouquet is a gorgeous pink and white arrangement filled with a seasonal assortment of Dutch tulips, sweetheart roses, hyacinth, a Polar Star rose and more.

Heat things up

Sometimes the best gifts to give are experiences, not things. This year, book a cooking class so you and your partner can take on a culinary challenge together and bring some new elements into your meals together.

On Feb. 14, SAIT’s two Culinary Campus locations offer a three-hour date night couples’ cooking class. The class runs from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. and costs $100 per person. Couples will be guided through a hands-on cooking class with instruction. Wrap up the night by enjoying your meal with a complimentary glass of wine.

If you’re interested in trying out a more specific class, the Culinary Campus also offers a winter stews instructional (Feb. 15), a sushi-making class (Feb. 17), a curry-making lesson (Feb. 24) and more.

The ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen also offers a seven-course chef-prepared Valentine’s Day feast and cooking demonstration from 6:30 until 9 p.m. on Feb. 14. If you prefer the hands-on approach, sign up for one of the upcoming ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen classes like the Indian cuisine night (Feb. 23) or the Mexican cooking class (Feb. 25).

Get out of town

If you want to book an out-of-town escape in the mountains for you and your lover, Banff and Lake Louise are the go-to getaway spots for Calgarians – and in celebration of the country’s 150th birthday, admission to all national parks is free for the duration of 2017.

If you really want to step up your game this year, plan to take part in one of the many winter activities offered in the mountains. Enjoy a scenic cross-country ski at the Lake Louise loop (4.1 kilometres) or Moraine Lake (15.6 kilometres with return), or rent some ice skates and spend the day skating on an iced-over Lake Louise.

For more adventurous couples, try dog sledding in Banff National Park (courtesy of Kingmik Dog Sled Tours) or go on an ice walk through Johnston Canyon.

While it’s always stressful trying to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, do some pre-planning and shop locally. If all else fails, you have another 364 days in the year to show your sweetie how much you care.

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