By MAGGIE M, Editor, the wedge.LIVE
I remember strolling up Gore Street in late summer 2016, exchanging effusive words with visitors. “This is the wedding town of Ontario,” one young couple intimated. As I traveled, loaded down with my camera and tripod, I witnessed many couples holding hands, cuddling as they swayed, absorbing Downtown Perth’s, “L-factor” (my word.)
One must pause and consider how this town arouses emotions in its visitors.
‘Ooh Ooh Ooh I feel my temperature rising,’ Elvis bellowed in his unforgettable lyrical ode to the object of his affection. I did feel mine rising when I first discovered Perth.
Downtown Heritage Perth is ostensibly the most romantic town in East Ontario–perhaps the whole Province. The wedge chose Perth, Ontario, as its “hunk of burning love,” its Valentine this Month of Love, 2018. And its purveyors of love are at the ready to answer the call of the heart.
LAVENDER & LACE
“He’s setting the mood for a romantic Valentine’s dinner with his sweetheart,” Lavender and Lace Owner, Dawn Mayhew, waxed on the coquetry in the shop’s image above. This enabler of romantic love captures the town’s “L-factor” as no other.
The gorgeous body suit from Arianne, Montreal (made in Canada), and the back drop, a Valentine’s poster featuring acclaimed SAXX boxer shorts, are mere visual temptations for what else you will find within.
The mystery man at the table oozes the unforgettable lyrics of the great Elvis, “The flames are reaching my body, Please won’t you help me.” Well, not quite. But he sets the mood nicely.
I paraphrase Mayhew with Elvis-speak, “Lavender & Lace is the place to quell your fire this Valentine. Ooh, Ooh, Ooh!”
In 2017, I dined with myriad, established couples at Michael’s Table. This was before its resplendent transformation. (It was a great restaurant then too.) I was the lone singleton able to watch and witness the L-Factor–again. I photographed and filmed these enduring couples through the evening.
Co-Owner, Dawn Bell, delivered a warm experience to all present. It felt like visiting a friend in a large home. Michael’s Table is in fact a family restaurant specializing in homemade, Canadian-style, comfort food. But this February you’ll likely see some canoodling at its tables.
The children will exclaim a different, “Ooh!”–a disgust that sends us grown-ups into barreling laughter. We adults will blush, glimpsing their smoldering moments.
Are you feeling the love yet?
PERTH PARKSIDE SPA
Sometimes there is mutual, advance consent in celebrating love–as in watching each other receive the pamperings of the Perth Parkside Spa. The spa is nestled within the beautiful Parkside Inn (Best Western) in the centre of town.
Imagine your man groaning as his feet are massaged with lotion… (I am incorrigible. I would slip a tip to the masseuse requesting her to kick it up a notch. But that’s me.)
Upon arrival you find yourself in the Aveda boutique, a beautifully appointed shop with eye-fetching views of renown Stewart Park and Tay River. Instantly, you know you are in the midst of consummate professionals.
This romantic getaway is a daytime affair with two pedicures, two massages, two glasses of wine and a cheese tray–a perfect prelude to a romantic evening. The Spa calls it, “Couples Valentine’s Day Package.” A mere $298–that’s 149 kisses each.
“Let us help you find your solemate,” Likkuid Sole Co-Owner, Tamarra Nantel-MacCraken quips. This store just opened in August featuring high value footwear and apparel from Canada, America and Europe. Siblings, Jenn MacCraken and Tamarra, are partners. (Yep, Jenn is the girl in the red dress in our fashion video.)
Tamarra hugs a pair of men’s DU/ER denims for the wedge, for the lover who aims to give comfort to her better half. This is no ordinary denim.
DU/ER is a Canadian brand out of “Vangroovy.” The words you might say when he unwraps the gift, “they are incredibly comfortable, you’ll probably never take them off!” (On second thought don’t say those last words–perish the thought!) This is a gift that keeps on giving. Just the kind men love.
Then you might want to blurt out the words, “they dry quickly and are anti-bacterial.” For men that’s a big deal. Not exactly romantic words. Add to that, “organic cotton and 5 times the stretch,” to make room for the dinner he has had the wisdom of planning.
PERTH CHOCOLATE WORKS
Perth Chocolate Works, introduces, “Keep the Surprise Alive,” a box filled with twenty-four heart-shaped chocolates and only one pair of lips. This is counter-intuitive to the usual heart-shaped box filled with round and square chocolates.
There’s a lot of love in this box. It says, “I love you,” twenty-four times and seals it with a kiss.
“Each heart comes with a different flavoured centre. There is no map; so each chocolate is a surprise,” declares Co-Owner, Heather McKeen. I’m thinking of Forrest “You-never-know-what-you-gonna-get” Gump; so, this box is “like life.”
One thing we do know, all chocolates are artisan, hand-made with fine Callebaut Belgian Chocolate. Imagine little hearts infused with pure maple butter, white chocolate truffle cream, liquid caramel, brewed espresso truffle…
I’m told these are “limited edition.” So if you miss this cache, you can always fall back on their roses–chocolate ones–by the rose or the dozen. Two good deeds in one.
“….the pear of you look soooo hot together!” quips Bistro 54 Italiano Co-Owner, Chef Dave Andoff. Sometimes, levity oozes from the kitchen.
“Help me, I’m flaming, I must be a hundred and nine, burning, burning, burning,” Elvis speaks out in this dessert. This hot little dish may be in the offing on the 14th.
The “54” serves up fresh-made, authentic Italian cuisine served with an impressive wine list. It is one of the most established and acclaimed restaurants in the region.
Guests tend to arrive early to ensure a table, often at 5pm; but, you can arrive for a second turning. The bistro does not take reservations. If you want to impress your Valentine–go all out–this is where you might want to make a statement. Ease up on the “flaming and burning” though.