Student Life

Looking for cute winter date ideas?

During the warmer months, there are so many cute date ideas: going to a driving range, walking by the river, having a picnic in a park, taking a bike ride in a quaint neighbourhood, etc. But what about the winter? While it may seem more difficult to come up with cute date ideas when it’s cold outside, Montreal actually has a lot to offer other than your basic dinner/drinks and/or a movie. With Valentine’s Day not far away and my love life being more void than a black hole, I took on the hard task of finding fun activities for your winter dates and compiled a list for you.

For the outdoor activity lovers

I hate winter so these don’t feel natural for me but I am aware that many people enjoy spending time outside, regardless of the weather. 

  1. Lace up those skates! Montreal has so many skating rinks (Canada, duh) that you can go to for a cute date. From large outdoor rinks like the one in the Old Port, Beaver Lake or Centre de la Nature in Laval, to your assortment of small neighbourhood rinks or indoor arenas like Atrium Le 1000, a sheet of ice isn’t too far away. Or, you know, you can just wait for freezing rain and skate on the street the next day.
  2. Take a hike. Really. It may not be the most ~intense~ hike of your life, but trekking up Mount Royal to get to the Belvedere in the snow might be enough physical activity for one date. You can do it for the hike or for the cute view at the top—stargazing and all that good stuff, you know? You can also go snowshoeing or cross country skiing around Mount Royal Park or, again, at Centre de la Nature if you’re up for taking a short trip north (it’s really not that far).
  3. Take it slow. If you like the outdoors but aren’t super into the more strenuous activities mentioned above, you can always take a stroll in the Old Port or downtown. Go cafe hopping, do some people watching, do an improvised architecture tour of the city—so many options!

For the indoor activity lovers

If being outside for longer than the time it takes to get from inside a building to inside a vehicle sounds dreadful, fear not. There are plenty of cute date activities for you too!

  1. Chat it up. If you want to spend a lot of time talking to the person you’re on a date with, you have quite a few options. These are kind of miscellaneous but somehow all related: escape rooms, axe throwing, batting cage, rage rooms, indoor roller rinks, karaoke, or attend a cooking class. 
  2. Let’s get competitive. If you and/or your date are more competitive in nature, there are plenty of options for date ideas in the city—it just so happens you can be in close proximity to your date while potentially kicking their butt. For a one-stop-shop, the Forum is a great place to play pool, try your luck at arcade games or go bowling. If not, there are plenty of mini-putt locations around the city. If you really want to stay away from any physical activity at all, Randolph’s—the board game place—is a great option to get a bit of friendly competition going.
  3. Get around. If you want to go on a date but also explore some cool spots in the city, you also have a few options. If you’re into this kind of stuff, going to record shops, bookstores or vintage/thrift stores to peruse their collections will likely be a fun time and you might even find a rare gem. You might also be able to create an impromptu photoshoot out of it—for the ‘gram!

For the artsy types

Whether you like looking at art or making it, these are for you.

  1. Do it yourself. Ceramic Cafe is a great place to spend time chatting and getting to know someone while also getting your art on. Whether you make something for the other person or even work on a larger piece together, it’s a great option for bringing out the creative side of you. Another option is to attend a wine and paint night.
  2. Be the observer. If you can appreciate art but aren’t really into making some of your own, there are so many museums you can attend. Pro tip: the first Sunday of every month, there’s a variety of museums that offer free admission. There’s also the Montreal Science Centre in the Old Port or the Biodome that you can visit.
  3. Catch a show. I don’t mean a television show; I mean go to theatrical performance, go to a jazz bar or even a comedy show. And, I guess, if all else fails, you can just make a fort in your living room with all the cushions and blankets available on the block and put on a new series.


Graphic by Sasha Axenova

Student Life

The art of being single: Not every date is a “date”

When you spend time talking to someone and make a plan to meet up, is it a date? Is it just getting together to hang out? How do you know the difference?

A lot of people think that any get together between themselves and their newest interest is a date, but that isn’t necessarily the case. By calling every “date” – a meet-up with a love interest or someone you’re getting to know, in whichever sense – a date, there are certain connotations and expectations. 

With a date, there comes the expectation that this might lead somewhere more than just hanging out with the person. There’s also confusion of what exactly is appropriate as an activity if this is not a date, but just a meet-up; you wouldn’t necessarily go to the movies or out to a nice restaurant with someone you have no interest in pursuing more than platonically, would you? Going bowling, on the other hand, or grabbing a quick drink (alcoholic or not) could be a more platonic activity and not have the same connotations.

Not every “date” is a date. I’ve been on many non-date activities where there was a mutual acknowledgement that it was not a date, that nothing more would come of the time spent together than a good time spent together with good conversation. On the other hand, I’ve met up with people who called it a date because they called every meet-up a date, regardless of their intentions.

The problem is there are expectations that might not be met. If one of the two people thinks it’s a date but the other doesn’t, and this fact comes up during their time together, things can get awkward very quickly. What do they expect from me? What do they mean by “date”? I don’t want them to get the wrong idea. Does that mean they’ll pay for me/I’m expected to pay for them? All these and more are questions that can arise because of a lack of communication.

It is possible for non-dates to turn into dates through a change in activity, i.e. going from getting a coffee to grabbing a meal in a dimly-lit restaurant, to a movie or mini-putting. Again, because certain activities have certain connotations, some are dates while others can simply be platonic. 

Honestly, the best way to avoid confusion about whether your next meet-up is a date or not is to communicate. Talk about your intentions, expectations (in a non-creepy way), or like, straight up say “I want to take you out on a date.” If you’re still not sure while you’re actually doing whichever activity, pay attention to body language. It’s usually a good signal to whether the other person thinks it’s a date or not. And again, you can always just ask if you’re really clueless.

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