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Kingston this Week (Canada)

City of romance.

Maybe you’ve heard the big news: Kingston is Canada’s most romantic city. Huh. Wonder how they arrived at that conclusion? Have fact-checkers and social policy watchers been hanging out on street corners of late, counting couples who walk arm-in-arm? Perhaps hidden cameras have caught lovers young and old smooching on the Q.T. Apparently not. Instead, Amazon has come up with this tidbit: Based on the sale of romance novels, rom-com DVDs and Michael Buble discs, we are the city of romance. While it is a sweet distinction, it sort of leaves me, well, flat. It’s women who buy romance novels, right? And Michael Buble discs, for the most part. And what husband is going to willingly watch a rom-com (read chick flick) when there are at least three NHL games to choose from. Where’s the tallies for chocolate and roses? Candles and perfume? A day at the spa by yourself — I mean for two. Forgive me, Amazon, but I beg to differ. There’s more to romance than books and Buble. Some places have a geographical, almost timeless advantage. Take Paris, for instance. There, event planner ApoteoSurprise is known for creating extravagant marriage proposals and has the romance element covered. How about stepping into a Cinderella carriage pulled by white horses, manned by a coachman in frock coat, and then trit-trotting around the city, dipping into the park, and nibbling on macaroons? It costs only 1990 euros, about $2,600. Other out-there options include a private laser show with a display of the message of love beneath the Eiffel Tower, a limousine tour with a personalized message appearing on a giant LED screen, a shower of 1,000 red roses fully covering a yacht during a VIP dinner-cruise, and, well, you get the idea. I know. Dream on. When Valentine’s Day rolls around in this part of the world, there are other options that will win a woman’s heart. Maybe that Michael Buble CD isn’t such a bad idea, after all. Especially when the better half throws another log on the fire.

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