What do you do when Cupid is on a budget?

Graphic Jennifer Kwan
Graphic Jennifer Kwan

He’ll catch you if you fall
Sara Baron-Goodman
Assistant life editor

Harness the bone-chilling Montreal winter and take your valentine out for a spin on one of the city’s free ice skating rinks.
A skating date might sound like a cliché, but anyone who has ever seen Serendipity (which, incidentally, everyone should) will recognize the indisputable classic romance and winter wonderland magic of it all. I can’t guarantee that your valentine will fall head over heels, but the chances of falling on skates are infinitely higher.
To keep warm, consider packing a thermos of hot chocolate if you’re feeling wholesome, or buttered rum if you’re not. Of course, the best way to avoid hypothermia is good old body heat—I’m sure you can all figure out for yourselves how to make that work.
For an old-timey romance vibe, head to Parc Lafontaine, where you can weave in and out of ice paths and delight in the way the snow reflects the sparkle in your partner’s eyes (if you’re into that sort of thing.) Entrance to the rink is free; you can rent skates for seven dollars and helmets and lockers for three dollars. Skating hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every weekday in the winter, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
Alternately, there’s the rink at Bonsecours Basin in the Old Port, which has daily musical themes to offer a soundtrack to your skating. Admission is six dollars and it’s open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Wednesdays and open until 10 p.m. from Thursday through Sunday. As you may have guessed, the musical theme on Thursday is ‘romance’— I’m thinking some Michael Bolton.

Night at the museum
Sara Baron-Goodman
Assistant life editor

For those of you with an appreciation for aesthetic culture, take a gander around one of Montreal’s museums.
There are always interesting exhibits going on, but the house collections are just as impressive and are usually cheaper entry.
Le Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal charges eight dollars admission for students and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and stays open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. Entrance to the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal is free for the permanent collections, which can be visited between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week.
For something a little different, I recommend the Montreal Creative exhibition at Place des Arts. The exhibit itself is tiny but the interactive nature of all the pieces lends well to playful antics and banter. The exhibit is only on until February 16, and open until 6:30 p.m. every night.
Afterwards, pick up a baguette, some cheese and a bottle of wine and indulge in Euro-style romance. Art always opens up for titillating dialogue and the touristy vibe of going to a museum lends an exciting and sophisticated note to the evening.

Retro theatre night
Jade Adams

While a standard dinner and a movie date can leave you wondering if you’ll have enough money left to spring for popcorn, Dollar Cinema offers admission for two and snacks for under $10. Most of the big movies make their way to Dollar Cinema after a few weeks so you and your date might have the chance to catch one of the flicks you missed during the holidays or the first few weeks of semester. It’s admittedly not the most glamorous movie theatre, but there’s a certain charm in going to a movie where the lobby boasts an interesting collection of old sofas and the man working at the counter might be up to personally discuss the movie you’re going to see with you (depending how long the line is.)

There’s no age limit on boardgames
Jade Adams

Pub Ludique Randolph would be a great date idea for any couple with an underlying competitive spirit. Cover costs about five dollars each, giving you access to dozens of board games. They also offer coffee, soda, cocktails, beer and light snacks such as quiche and sandwiches. After you claim a table, you wave down one of the animators on duty and let them know either which game you want, what they would recommend, or give them the opportunity to surprise you with one of their personal favorites. It might not be one of the most traditional Valentine dates, but Pub Ludique Randolph will definitely leave you with a night to remember. Aside from all of the fun you’ll have together, think of the potential bragging rights you’ll win by the end of the night.

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