Going Out

Cupid Kate: Creator of ‘A Date by Kate’ shares her top V-day picks

Whether or not you think it’s a Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day is nearly here. Falling on a Wednesday, any plans you make with your honey will have to compete with the usual crowds, the cold, and the fact that it’s a school night.

You may already be thinking that any possibility of going out is futile, and an evening of Netflix, chill, and chocolate is your only real option.

Enter Kaitlin McNamara, creator of A Date by Kate (AD8BYK8).

A Date by Kate began just over four years ago when McNamara sent her friends on a date as their wedding gift. The pair enjoyed their time so much that McNamara decided to build a business around creating unique adventures and memories for couples. And it’s not just a business — McNamara genuinely loves love.

(Left) Kate McNamara of A Date By Kate with her... date. Photo: By Kate McNamara
(Left) Kate McNamara of A Date By Kate with her… date. Photo: By Kate McNamara

And with love in the air (hanging amongst the windchill) and on our minds, we reached out to McNamara for her top options to make this Valentine’s day less Hallmark and more heart.


A very affordable and very Ottawa option: skating on the canal but with a twist. Make a snow trophy and create a contest with a few activities to do on skates. Winner gets the trophy and a BeaverTail.

Low Budget — $50 per couple

Little Boxes at the Arts Court Theatre. Created by Gabrielle Lazarovitz and Brad Long, the play is about a couple living paycheque to paycheque — something that will likely resonate with many. More details, here.

Mid-range — $88 per couple

Valentine’s Afternoon Tea at Quelque Chose — a little sweet, a little savoury, and a lot of accoutrements avec amour. Think high tea whilst wearing rose-coloured glasses.

Expensive — $130-$240 per couple

If you’re looking to keep it traditional and have your mind (and stomach) set on a V-day dinner date, head to Fraser Cafe. McNamara loves the comfortable and welcoming experience that owners-and-brothers Simon and Ross Fraser have created for guests. They are passionate, modest, and the food does not disappoint.

Photo: By Kate McNamara
Photo: By Kate McNamara

For Friends

As for a platonic night out, McNamara says she’d do any of the above activities on her own or with her mates. But checking out the Freewheeling Craft Show at Makerspace in the City Centre called Big Love — a market featuring local vendors, food, drink, crafts, and live music — would be a fantastic friend-date. Taking place over the weekend before Valentine’s and only $3 entry.

Celebrating love throughout the year


McNamara is hosting a circuit dating event on Saturday, March 3 for men and women aged 30 to 42-years-old at Iron North Studios in Hintonburg. Twenty singles, ten different activities (but no real workouts), and a voucher to use for mingling afterwards at 10Fourteen. Dress code: casual — jeans and a t-shirt. Tickets: $25.


Look out for McNamara’s upcoming 2019 Date Can. What’s a date can? — A little paint can filled with 24 different date ideas for couples to complete throughout the year, including some discounts at local businesses. Get your can here.

Kate opening her Date Can. Oh the possibilities! Photo: By Kate McNamara
Kate opening her Date Can. Oh the possibilities! Photo: By Liz Beddall

As for Netflix, chill, and chocolate — hold out for Feb. 15 when all the sweet treats go on sale.