February 13 is Galentine’s Day, a day to celebrate friendship with your besties.

How To Spend Valentine's Day (Or Galentine's Day) on a Budget In Toronto

Published: February 3, 2023

You don’t need to spend a lot to show someone that you care. Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love (in all its forms!), not about going into debt to impress. You can make magical moments at home or at budget-friendly spots around Toronto that you can get to with UP’s affordable fares!

From DIY gifts to easy-on-the-wallet outings, these inexpensive but thoughtful celebration ideas will have your significant other or BFF feeling the love this Valentine’s Day.

Best Valentine’s Gifts Under $100

Is it possible to find a great Valentine’s Day gift on a budget? Absolutely! It’s not the dollars you spend that add value to a gift, it’s the thought and effort that you put into it. A great gift comes from the heart, not from your wallet. You can still make your sweetie feel special with these homemade and outside-the-box ideas for Valentine’s gifts under $100 — some are even free!

Beautiful Budget Bouquets

A bouquet of pink tulips is a budget-friendly choice at most Toronto flower shops.

It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day roses! Supply and demand creates premium prices for red roses at the Toronto flower shops around Valentine’s Day. Your Valentine’s gift budget will go further if you choose tulips, calla lilies, hydrangeas, or daisies. Inexpensive flowers still make a beautiful bouquet and you can show your thoughtfulness by choosing your SO’s favourite colour or flower, rather than sticking with the clichéd red roses.

You can also save money by skipping the flower delivery in Toronto and opting to show up with your bouquet in hand. It’s budget-friendly AND romantic! There are lots of Toronto flower shops that are easy to get to with UP. Victoria Flowers (1582 Bloor St. W) and Guy Young Flower Shop (2475 Dundas St. W) are both located within a 7-minute walk of Bloor UP Express Station. Near UP Express Weston Station, you’ll find Royal York Florist (2049 Weston Rd) and Rainbow Florist (2026 Weston Rd) just a 9-minute walk away. If you’re heading downtown Toronto to UP Express Union Station, Flower Creations (121 King St. W) has ready-made bouquets and it’s a 12-minute warm indoor walk via The PATH.

Or, for a truly unique bouquet that’s a great fit for a foodie, head to your local produce market or grocery store and create a vegetable arrangement. Think broccoli and cauliflower florets, leafy stalks of Swiss chard or kale, carrots with tops, and cherry tomatoes on skewers. This gift pairs perfectly with a Valentine’s Day date of home cooking — see our suggestions below!

Speak the Love Language of Food

Cooking a meal is a fun and inexpensive Valentine’s Day date activity.

Why do so many holidays seem to centre on food? Because preparing and sharing a meal together is a wonderful way to show your love for the special people in your life. Restaurants book up fast for Valentine’s Day and often are pricier than usual, but cooking at home is budget-friendly, romantic, and fun!

If you and your SO both love cooking, you could create a meal together as your Valentine’s Day activity. You can even start the fun a few days before the 14th, and visit the St. Lawrence Farmer’s Market on Saturday to pick out ingredients together — it’s just a short walk from UP Express Union Station and our fares are budget-friendly!

If you’d rather prepare a meal as a gift for your sweetheart, you could recreate the meal that you ate on your first date, cook your loved one’s all-time favourite foods, or get fancy and create a DIY #charcuteriebouquet!

Get Crafty With a DIY Valentine's Card

Inexpensive craft supplies can be turned into an original Valentine’s Day card.

Are you looking for Valentine’s gifts under $100? How about under $10?! Head to your local dollar store and grab glitter, glue, markers, and heart-shaped stickers (you’ll find plenty at this time of year). Then it’s time to unleash your inner crafter.

Sure, you could buy an inexpensive card and just sign your name, but your sweetheart will love the time and effort you spent to create a homemade one. Make it extra special by printing out a photo of the two of you and gluing it on the front of the card! If you’re short on perfect pics of the two of you, head out with your honey before Valentine’s Day and snap some shots at one of Toronto’s best photography spots — there are some great ones close to UP Express Union Station and UP Express Bloor Station.

Spark Some Fun With Love Coupons

Use those same dollar store arts and crafts supplies to create a booklet of love coupons for your sweetie — it can be a gift and it might lead to your Valentine’s Day date activity! The coupons can be for all kinds of things and since they’re completely customizable, they’re the perfect Valentine’s gift for him, her, or them.

Do you need love coupon ideas? It’s up to you and your imagination! You can make them simple and sweet, like these suggestions:

  • 20-minute back massage
  • You get to pick the movie!
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Your choice of date activity
  • I complete a chore of your choice
  • I bring you coffee from your favourite cafe (Balzac’s at UP Union Station is a great choice!)

Or, you can spice things up with some playful or cheeky (pun intended) coupons for romance. But we’ll let you come up with those ideas!

Create a Personalized Music Playlist

This gift costs absolutely nothing but will show your special someone that you’ve spent time and thought to create something just for them. Choose your SO’s favourite songs, or songs that have special meaning for the two of you — a song that played during your first date, the first song you danced to, or even the theme music from a series that you love to binge together. Your sweetie will love listening to their personalized playlist on the way to work or school, or you can each take an ear bud and listen together while you ride the UP Express to your Valentine’s Day date location (don’t waste your data — use our free Wi-Fi onboard and in stations).

Romantic (and Budget-Friendly) Valentine's Day Outings

Yes, a trip to Europe or the Caribbean would be an amazing Valentine’s getaway, but that’s not the only way to impress your sweetheart this year. Skip the pricey Valentine’s Day events and exotic destinations. There are plenty of opportunities for inexpensive but romantic outings that are right here in Toronto and easily accessible with affordable UP travel.

Take a Romantic Walk

snap pics with your sweetheart at The Distillery District Love Sign, made from many colourful locks

Walking hand-in-hand through one of the picturesque areas of Toronto is about as romantic as it gets — and it’s free! All of these great locations are easy to get to with UP’s frequent service so you can enjoy a relaxing ride together before your romantic stroll.

Take local transit from UP Express Union Station and explore the cobbled walkways of the Distillery District. There are so many things to do in the Distillery District that this could easily be a whole day activity. Grab a coffee at Balzac’s and some sweet treats at Cacao 70, then admire the art galleries and stay for the Toronto Light Festival when it gets dark.

Bundle up (in matching couple’s hats and scarves?) and discover one of Toronto’s most romantic winter walking trails. High Park is an easy stroll from UP Express Bloor Station and an ideal place to enjoy the winter wonderscape and kindle some romance with your sweetheart. 

Stroll along the waterfront trail at Trillium Park. It can get chilly down by the lake, so you might need to cuddle up to keep warm!

For that romantic fairy tale atmosphere, climb the Baldwin Steps and walk past the front of Casa Loma. Be sure to snap some selfies with the castle in the background!

Enjoy the Tropics in Toronto

A trip down south might be out of your budget, but you can still enjoy a tropical experience! Visit the Allan Gardens Conservatory and imagine you’re walking together through a tropical paradise. You don’t need to leave Toronto, though — just take local transit from UP Express Union Station.

Stay In & Cuddle

If you’re not into winter weather walks, and you want to avoid the expensive indoor Valentine’s Day events, you can save money by celebrating at home. With a little effort and creativity, you can make an extra special celebration from the heart!

Take a Holiday at Home

Instead of splurging on an international vacation, make your own vacation at home! Choose one of your SO’s bucket list travel destinations and create a mini version in your living room. 

If you and your sweetheart dream of going to Paris, hang up a poster of the Eiffel Tower, watch a French movie, eat macarons from Nadège, and sample French wines.

Get creative and come up with an at-home version of your ideal destination!

Grab Some Takeout

Get cozy at home on Valentine’s Day with your significant other and some tasty takeout to share.

Maybe you’re not into cooking, but you still don’t want to spend big on a Valentine’s dinner out. A budget-friendly alternative is finding a local dining spot that’s offering a Valentine’s Day takeout menu or just a great takeout restaurant. You’ll save money and still have a special meal, and you can get cozy together on the couch! 

Not Feeling Romantic? Celebrate Galentine's Day!

February 13 is Galentine’s Day, a day to celebrate friendship with your besties.

Remember, this time of year doesn’t need to be only about romantic love. Friendship should be celebrated, too! If you don’t have a significant other this year — or even if you do! — show your BFF some love.

Parks and Rec fans will know that Leslie Knope dubbed February 13 as Galentine’s Day, a day for “ladies celebrating ladies”. But we think it’s awesome for besties of all genders to get together and celebrate platonic love.

What should you do on Galentine’s Day? Well, whatever you and your BFFs like to do! But, if you’re stuck for ideas, we have a few suggestions for fun activities that are great for groups. And, they’re all easy to get to on UP, which is perfect for affordable group travel — especially with PRESTO discounts!

Get Creative

Enjoy wine, beer, and painting with your besties at Pinot’s Palette. Located in the Junction, Toronto’s hippest neighbourhood, you’ll have plenty of cool shops to browse in on your walk to Pinot’s Palette from UP Express Bloor Station.

Have a Laugh

Your best friends are the ones that you laugh the most with, right? So, what better place to celebrate your BFF love than at a comedy show? The Comedy Bar on Bloor Street is an easy walk from UP Express Bloor Station and will leave you and your besties in stitches!

Try Something Different

Try your throwing hand at something new! Connect to local transit from UP Express Union Station and head to Batl Toronto Port Lands for a little axe throwing. You’ll enjoy a cutting edge experience. (Perfect for friend groups who love puns!)

Make It Fun!

Par-Tee Putt promises “nostalgic and quirky fun” at their indoor mini golf club. You and your friends will have a blast feeling like kids again, and it’s just a 20-minute walk from UP Express Union Station.

Embrace Budget-Friendly Valentine's Day

Get creative and try new things — spending less just might lead to having the best Valentine’s Day ever!