Montreal: the city of love — well, at least on Valentine's Day. With as many love stories as there are people, falling prey to cupid's arrow can be romantic, silly, or even downright steamy.
No, that's not an expression. We mean actual steam. At least, that's how Antoinette Mintcheva and Patrick Tamas got together when they were in their late 50s.
"See, we lived in a high-rise, and we started seeing each other in the swimming pool. And she was swimming and [using the] sauna…and it started in the sauna!" said Tamas.
That was a decade ago, but the couple are still going strong, with plans to eat Valentine's Day dinner at their favourite Chinese restaurant, and exchange gifts of flowers and cologne. Then, it's back home to separate apartments, an arrangement Mintcheva credits for their relationship bliss.
"I enjoy my independence, absolutely. I like my life, I like my time on my own," said Mintcheva.
How are you celebrating Valentine's Day? We hit the streets looking for Montrealers putting themselves in cupid's sights.
Surprises, sweets on sale
Chatting up a storm as they walk arm-in-arm down Ste-Catherine Street, CEGEP students Mahlet Syoum and Jessica Reyes look like an inseparable duo. But this Valentine's Day, Reyes' date is whisking her away to… well, she doesn't quite know.
"I've never been surprised before, so it's nice that he's bringing me out and not telling me [where]. I'm excited to see what he has planned," said Reyes.
As for Syoum, she's stocking up on discounted chocolate once Valentine's Day has come and gone. She's single, but no moping here — she spends the day with friends.
"A lot of people I know, they end up feeling left out, like "Oh, this day is not for me, I need someone for that day," but you don't. It's not actually necessary!" said Syoum.
Limited menu this Feb. 14
Gabriel St-Jean Timmins and his girlfriend usually sit down to a nice dinner on Valentine's Day, but this year, there are a few rules: no raw fish, no shellfish, and no wine. That's right — there's a baby on the way!
"It's our first kid, and it's only been six weeks, so we're really excited. But usually, when we treat ourselves, it was with oysters, or a poke bowl, or sushi, so some of that stuff is out the window," said Timmins.
Some Valentine's Day traditions die hard, though, and Timmins and his girlfriend will still be exchanging heartfelt love letters — with a twist. The couple write in a shared journal that chronicles the rosy and not-so-rosy moments of their relationship.
"After a couple of first fights, the idea was to write down all the fights and the solutions to those fights, so we could look back and say, 'Oh yeah, that's what happened, that's what's happening. OK, let's fix it,'" said Timmins.