love on the rock: Valentine's giving guide

show the NL love to sweethearts, partners, pals, and the one-and-only you

Originally Posted 2023.  Reposted February 13, 2024.

In a world where people meet on Tinder and ‘swipe right’ means I might like you, the good, old-fashioned February 14 Valentine’s Day is a chance to get a little more personal.  Especially now in 2023, when our pandemic existence has evolved so we can stand a little closer than the six-feet apart (always being careful mind you!). 

We have arrived!  Valentine’s Day 2023 in Newfoundland and Labrador, we are set up for the love!

white text reading Love on the rock.  Valentine's Giving Guide 2023 on a red satin sheet background

showing the love - genX to genAlpha

We can all feel the thrill of those decorated-by-hand grade school Valentine’s mailboxes. Such effort to transform a tissue box, shoe box, stapled paper - whatever - stuck with hearts and cupids ready to receive. (Thank you teachers.) 

Gen Xers remember painstakingly choosing the right Valentine for the right person, and then cutting the shapes or carefully pushing out the perforated Valentine - all was doomed if the little tab broke off - and then making the envelope.  Such efforts to say I like you!  Everyone can live a version of that experience this year - Downtown Comics is selling a Nothing New collection of unique Valentine's by local artists.  Visit the store on Duckworth, or order from Nothing New online.

With millennials and GenZ, up went the ante with additions like chocolate kisses or love hearts, then pencils to the card.

For genAlpha grade-schoolers get there’s a thing called ‘classroom gifts’ for grade-schoolers.  Love is all around!

vintage cupid Valentine cards to punch out

passion and romance - great NL love stories

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are known to be fun and loving, and way back in the 2000s the province ranked as one of the sexiest provinces in Canada. They don’t seem to count that the same anymore. 

But there are loads of examples of passion and romance in our history.  Check these stories of love from Newfoundland and Labrador.   

  • John and The Missus - 1986 film about miner John Munn (Gordon Pinsent) and The Missus (Jackie Burroughs). Gordon Pinsent wrote, directed and starred in John and the MIssus, and it won three Genie Awards in 1987. 
  • Dennis and Paige - Sexton & Malone / I Love You, Dennis/I Hate you, Paige.  Numerous google searches didn't yield a link to the unforgetable Tommy Sexton and Greg Malone interpretation of afternoon soap opera Another World's Dennis and Paige, but if you knew it, you know it. 
  • A search of NL Romance yields great results. “Romancing the Rock Exposed” was a 2016 event that brought together more than a dozen local romance authors. In 2016 more than a million books had been sold by that group (some using pen names). Newfoundland romance writer Katherine King has 16 titles on Amazon, and two books that have reached the top spot on that platform.
  • Jake and Leslie -  For six seasons, we tore through St. John's in the best weather imaginable with Jake, Leslie and the rest of the RoD crowd watching Republic of Doyle on CBC.  Their path of true love did not run smooth, but they got together in the end!  Stream the series here.

language of love and language of Newfoundland and Labrador

Another thing to consider when you’re planning the perfect way to tell your love about your love is how to do it. In his 2015 book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, Gary Chapman wrote how to communicate love.

The concept caught on.  Mind Body Green, the online platform connecting soul and science toward well-being has a great round up of the five languages.

Love Language Newfoundland and Labrador style
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Tell them yes b'y, yes my dear, best kind
  • Quality Time
  • Pay attention to only them every now and then. Go where they like to go, do what they like to do. The hardest part is figuring out what they'd really like if they weren't trying to do what you like. Maybe a walk in the woods? Maybe a play? Maybe a Growlers game? Maybe looking at old photos?
  • Acts of Service
  • Make them a cup of tea. Fix a thing they like that's broken. If they seem overwhelmed help with the overwhelming thing.
  • Gifts
  • Small or big, bought or made, receiving thoughtful gifts makes people feel the love
  • Physical Touch
  • Tilt of head or touch of hand, the gentlest little gesture can speak volumes.  And a good back massage rarely goes astray.


perfect local gift Ideas for your Valentine - the one you want, the one you love, or the one you want to love you 

Now that we’re all excited about love on the rock, and have given thought to the language to use, let’s look at how to get the message across.

bouquet of red long stemmed roses and greenery

best ways to say I Love You to your person

For the person you’re committed to in the long term, this ain’t your first sweet heart day.  It might be hard to top the butterflies of your first Valentine's Day together, but you can still stoke the fire love in traditional, and non-traditional ways.

an inspired local gift  

  • Valentine’s Smile - When ye are in it for the long haul, sometimes you’ve got to laugh. Get your valentine a card from Johnny Ruth.  Fun, funny, saucy and sweet - it’s the real thing, baby.  They have tonnes of neat gifts too, and you can order all of it online.
  • The Valentine’s Classic - a dozen long-stemmed red roses.  The good ones -  delivered to the door.  The crowd at Holland Nurseries will set you up.  If you and your beloved have kids, the kids will be impressed and remember it forever!

stay in with your Love Bug

Work, the time, the kids, the laundry….  Even when it’s all piled up you can mark the day in little ways. A cup of tea solves many things. Try a cup of Blue Heart Gardens wildcrafted herbal tea.  Good things will happen!  And if you really want to make it special, stream John & The Missus on YouTube.

get out of the room - take a walk

Bowring Park is for lovers!  The sun may shine on February 14, or it may not but it doesn’t even matter because from Peter Pan to the labyrinth, the park is perfect because there are big trees to duck under and lots of room to walk hand-in-hand.  Get a head start on the nooks and crannies with the Explore Bowring Park app, courtesy of Battery Radio.

get away from it all

A change is as good as a rest, and a little excursion around the Bay might be just the thing for a recharge.  The Newfoundland Distillery is a sweet little trip to take where you'll find award winning spirits, local food, and a beautiful view.  

top ways to impress the person you  like

For the person you’re trying to impress it’s scary!   Maybe you know them but are trying to edge  out of the friend zone but you don’t want it to be weird.  Or maybe they’re new to you and you want to send a chill message not a creepy message.  Fear not! On this Valentine’s Day you can choose options that will make it all crystal clear. 

gifts are good

Gift giving for someone new-ish can be a tough act.  What to get, how much to spend, what they would like…  all that.  But Posie Row makes it a little bit easier.  They carry all sorts of cool and interesting things at all price points - check the store on Duckworth or visit online.  Plus the staff is super helpful.  Also, they deliver in and around St. John’s. 

Also downtown on the Waterfront there’s a sweet pop-up at CupboardUp with art by Reign Love February 11, 2023.  The event is the perfect way to get a reciprocal reading on the person you like.  Ask them to come with you to the pop-up.  It's a great space - interesting, not high pressure and very chill. Check the treats and art and stuff and read the vibe of your guest.  Also free parking.  

entertain the apple of your eye - no pressure

Invite the person you like over for a picnic. Picnics are fun, cute, playful and generally make everyone happy.  Plus you can’t top a local picnic.  Get a basket and fill it up with good good things - a wedge of Five Brothers Cheese, a baguette from Georgetown Bakery, and get some yummy jellies from The Jam Lady.  Add a couple of truffles from Newfoundland Chocolate Company and you’re golden.

wander around downtown St. John’s

Downtown, edge to edge, is a crossroads of romance.  There’s the waterfront, Water Street, George Street, little parks and pauses - like Angel’s Corner and behind the Masonic, and big parks like Bannerman.  If skating’s a thing your person will like, take them to The Loop.  It’s magical.  Also, lunchtime skating is free most weekdays at Mary Brown’s Centre (for a while there everyone was in love with Mary Brown) - but check the schedule.  After the skate head over to the Newfoundland Embassy to get an iconic Lar’s Custard Cone, and learn a little more about the love story between Lar and Winnie.

show yourself the local love

Like Whitney Houston told us in her 1985 #1 hit The Greatest Love of All, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.  You might be married, you might be in the market, or you might be happily single, don’t matter.  True for all.  Valentine’s Day is the time to celebrate you. 

selfcare thats keeps on giving

Feel good in yourself - Valentine’s Day and the other 364 days too.  ISC Beauty is a seed-to-skin company making jars of gorgeousness that give you an endorphin boost every time you hold the product in your hand, and it ratchets up from there.  ISC makes four lines of skincare, haircare, fragrance, balms, jellies, and more with Newfoundland botanicals and a sustainable world view.  And ocean view - in beautiful CBS. In 2023, ISC ran a  Me + You Galentine’s Event  - a chance to network, socialize, get an ISC Hand Treatment, appetizers, drinks and an ISC take-home spa kit!  Made cruelty-free so everybody feels good.

treat yourself this Valentine’s - read, relax and restore 

“Find the love of your life in a beautiful book,” says Elaine Janes of Elaine’s Books. The love of reading is a wonderful thing. Books are magical things that can take you away, teach you what you want to know, and let you feel more of what you love to feel. Check out the Valentine's Special at Elaine’s Books on Duckworth Street or online, you get 30% off when you buy two or more books till February 14.  

Make those reading moments of self care all the more lovely with scent. Yorabode lets you bring the harmonies of Newfoundland outdoors inside with essential oils, candles, and home scents in Tuckamore, Ground, Brackish, and Tertulia. Order online or find stockists here.

find yourself by the ocean

Another beautiful way to show the love to yourself is to take it to the ocean.  Any coastline will do as long as you can see or hear or feel the rhythm of the waves.  Pause there.  Those waves  just keep on reaching and retreating, reaching and retreating. Crash or crawl.  And let yourself know that no matter what happened today (good, bad or indifferent) those waves will just keep on doing that.  All is ok.  You’re good.

celebrate Galentines on the Avalon  

O how we love our friends!  The girls mean SO MUCH!  They listen without trying to fix (usually).  They have the food.  They dance.  They do yoga.  They hike.  They know the art of give and take.  She’s found, she’s nurtured, and she’s there to laugh, cry, and when necessary tell it like it is.  Love without the pressure of romance.  Show the gals the love. 

stereotypical gal things that often hold true - coffee, chocolate and shopping

  • coffee - Life can be hard, but friends and coffee help us get through.  Many life events have been unpacked over coffee.  Like the time an upset woman called her friend . The friend, hearing the upset, said, “Do you want to come over for a cup of coffee?”  The first woman said, “Put on a pot. The wedding is off.” In all senses of the word, Trinity Coffee delivers.  Check for info.
  • chocolate - Milk, dark, white, truffles, low sugar, bark… any and all of it is a good way to share the love on Galentine’s.  If there’s a recent break-up, check the shag-ups.  Newfoundland Chocolate Company got you!
  • shopping - We’re recommending an exploratory sort of shopping for Galentine’s Day.  Gals LOVE to clear out, so this shopping exploration can start there.  Invite the friends to do a 20-minute take-away of their closet and pack it up for donation.  See here for donation tips .  Then go to Neighbourhood, leave your donation at the drop off then have a time going through the racks.  It will be fun!   

outdoor adventure tops off Galentine’s

And if your crew is into it, you can bring it all together with an outdoor adventure.  Put the coffee in a thermos, clear the closet, pick up the chocolate, go to Neighbhourhood (maybe find a hike-worthy something) and head out for a hike.  The East Coast Trail will help you find the place to start, but if you’re leaving from Neighbhourhood, Marine Drive is a good start.  If ye want, you can go all day until you reach Quidi Vidi.  And the Quidi Vidi Brewery. 


love on the rock

This Valentine's Day make sure you feel the local love!  Newfoundland and Labrador is a place of heart and hope and passion. There is much to give and much to absorb - our places, our stories, our landscapes and our evolving cultures. The object of your love will get the message, and local choices build sustainable communities.

So Much To Love.

local love on the rock written on red satin above the words valentine's giving guide and rocks of Newfoundland and Labrador

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Kim Todd

Kim married Dave Finn a quarter of a century ago, and together they have travelled the many phases of love on the rock. Kim is founder of Guide to the Good, a believer in Newfoundland and Labrador, and an advocate for local, social and green choices.