Cheap Date: A Tisket, A Tasket, A Picnic Basket
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Cheap Date: A Tisket, A Tasket, A Picnic Basket

There is pretty much nothing is more romantic than a picnic.
Pretty much every girl equates picnics to romance. The enjoyment of eating sandwiches outdoors on a gingham tablecloth spread on grass must be encoded into our genetics, because I’ve yet to encounter someone who doesn’t swoon at the thought.
Maybe it’s the devilled eggs, maybe it’s the naughty promise of PDAs in the outdoors, maybe it’s the gingham, but there’s just something about them.
The best thing about this little tid-bit of information you are now privy too, is that (so long as you don’t decide to splurge on a bottle of fine French Champagne) a picnic can easily run you under 30 bucks – which just so happens to be the name of the game here at Cheap Date.

If you’re a complete novice when it comes to food, I’m told you can pick up all the requisite fixins at such quaint, cute and yummy bakeries as Clafouti (915 Queen West) on the west side, and Bonjour Brioche (812 Queen East) on the east, without hurting your gourmetly challenged brain.
But for the advanced student, what ‘s even more French than a French bakery (and more importantly, cheaper) is to pick up some bite sized, raw edibles from your nearest market (Kensington and St. Lawrence are ideal here).
Start with a hunk of nice cheese (whatever you’re into – although keep in mind it should be something you can serve with a minimum of utensils – something crumbly – like blue, or runny – like camembert, works best). Then add in some olives, some bread, maybe some cute little grape tomatoes and even a cheap bottle of wine, if you’re feeling frisky (there are some pretty good wines that come in individual serving size Tetra-Paks and mini bottles these days – Perfect for picnicking).
Now, to find the perfect spot…
The Islands are, of course, the most obvious picnic destination here in the city. They are remote enough to feel like a mini vacation, get hit by cool breezes that don’t reach the sweltering city and if you wait the requisite 30 minutes after your feast, you can go for a swim (if you don’t mind the naked people).
But taking the ferry will cost you, so your best option, budget wise, might be to stick to the mainland.
On the east side, I like Riverdale Farm. Not only is it a pretty little park, but it’s got baby animals to sweeten the deal. Believe me, baby animals + picnic = the ultimate in romance. It just does.
My favourite west side option is High Park. It’s got gardens, it’s got a petting zoo, it’s got Shakespearean theatre 6 nights a week, it’s got nature trails – It’s the perfect option for either a blind date or a relationship that’s starting to get a bit stale, because there are so many entertaining things around to distract from the fact that you might not have a whole lot to say to each other.
On the other hand, it’s also a good option for those young, in love and a little handsy, because it’s so big, it’s not hard to find a spot that is secluded and private. It’s definitely my recommended spot.
But in the end, pretty much any patch of grass will work out for a picnic date. I wouldn’t be opposed to a rooftop garden, or even a plot of abandoned greenery. And that, is really what makes picnics so ideal. You can take the general concept of “a picnic”, transpose it anywhere, and still impress your boy or girl.
Just watch out for ants.