Married: 24 years
Anniversary: Dec. 31
Children: Zoe, 21, & Ezra, 18
Amy: a handwritten love letter from Marc and handmade cards with poems from the kids.
Marc: watching the hockey game alone.
Amy: Hugs, kisses and cards. No flowers, no chocolate, no dinner in a restaurant.
Marc: I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.
Amy: Not build it up into a big thing that it can’t live up to.
Marc: Give first and ask questions later.
Amy: I told Marc I wanted to have his children, and he responded by burying his head in his hands and saying, “Oy!”
Marc: Neither of us got game. I made a swimming motion and the deal was done.
Amy: “Let It Be Me,” by Ray Lamontagne.
Marc: The theme to Bonanza.
Amy: My desire to attend ballroom dancing classes.
Marc: My dinner all over her lap.
Amy: Margaret Atwood.
Marc: David Cassidy.
Amy: Hugh Jackman.
Marc: Margaret Atwood.
Married: 23 years
Anniversary: Jan. 8
Children: Luke, 21
Deb: it is a day to get all squishy about love. I have loved it since the first time I made a little paper heart pouch and hung it on the back of my chair in Grade 1 and watched it fill up with sweet wishes.
Colin: You know how, when you were a kid, and you’d ask a parent, “Why is there a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day but no Kid’s Day?” And they would reply, “Every day is Kid’s Day?” Every day with Deb is Valentine’s Day. The actual day just means I have to buy a card.
Deb: spend it apart.
Colin: clean up the basement.
Deb: Worried that something was wrong with him. Oh man, that answer reeked of my Scottish background, didn’t it?
Colin: Shocked. The woman would never forget a holiday or gift-giving opportunity. I would have her checked for a concussion.
Deb: Me. Food.
Colin: A lovely breakfast, a two-hour massage, a movie followed by a romantic dinner in one of our favourite restaurants, then dancing.
Deb: Can still surprise.
Colin: is more than sex or long lingering kisses, walking hand in hand in sweetly lit parks. Romance can be found in the most mundane day-to-day activities. It can be a laugh, it can be washing dishes, it can be anything that you are sharing with that person.
Deb: Acting on it. We go on adventures together. Planned and spontaneous, away and in our home.
Colin: Taking it a priority to schedule dates for ourselves. And we work at it. We work hard at keeping the spark there and never taking each other for granted. It’s the best work ever … even though the pay sucks.
Owners, Whalley Abbey Media
Married: 25 years
Anniversary: July 18
Children: Two (24 & 23)
Debbie: A lie-in with my hubby. It’s not a big day for us, but if we can use it as an excuse to have some quality time together, then that’s great.
Hans: There is not a day that passes where we do not say how much we love each other, but it would be nice if the day would start with Debbie making me breakfast in bed.
Debbie: Eat Valentine’s chocolates as I am just getting rid of the Christmas “bulge.”
Hans: Panic over not having bought a present — we usually do not exchange presents on Valentine’s Day.
Debbie: His wife happy and for him to actually remember — he’s not the best at this!
Hans: Probably receiving a diamond ring. When we got married, I could not afford to buy her one, and I am still saving up.
Debbie: Not a lot. If I am lucky and have reminded him, maybe I will get a bunch of roses.
Hans: The usual — nothing.
Debbie: Not collapse in tears when he forgets — he is my valentine all year round, so I forgive him if he is not too romantic on this particular day.
Hans: Remember when it is.
Debbie: “Calico Skies,” by Paul McCartney.
Hans: “When a Man Loves a Woman,” by Percy Sledge.
Debbie: Money.… It is always guaranteed to spoil a good night out.
Hans: Martha Stewart.
Debbie: His snoring.
Hans: Her driving habits.
Radio host & manager
Married: 24 years
Anniversary: Feb. 20
Children: Lauren, 20
Erin: Being a school night, it’ll be quiet and early, probably with a simple dinner in. Maybe we’ll pick up some Japanese, enjoy a pot of decaf green tea and watch the previous night’s Daily Show.
Rob: A quiet, romantic dinner with my sweetie would be nice.
Erin: be out in a crowded restaurant or club. Our preferred dress code is “super casual,” as in bathrobes.
Rob: go to a Leafs game.
Erin: Sounds cliche, but flowers. I know Rob always means to give them, but it seems the only time I get flowers is as a “thanks” from event organizers, and they usually arrive the day before we’re about to leave on a trip!
Rob: We don’t generally exchange gifts, and I already have more than I need. Although Erin has given me some splendid hockey jerseys in past years.
Erin: not to fall into the “no one tells me when to be romantic!” attitude. Sure, it’s a commercial holiday, but accept it as a fun reminder to show the person you love that you do — and then be creative!
Rob: to not leave all of your thoughts and efforts to one day — try to spread it throughout the year. We try to do things to show our love for each other every day.
Erin: Mariska Hargitay from Law and Order: SVU. But he’d still probably rather have tea with Simon Baker, who plays Patrick Jane on The Mentalist.
Rob: George Clooney.
Erin: George Clooney — to infinity and beyond.
Rob: Sandra Bullock.
TV host & managing director
Married: 6 years
Anniversary: Sept. 18
Children: Samson, 5, & Ever, 2
Liza: We’ve never made a huge production on Valentine’s Day. It feels like a lot of pressure. We’ll celebrate it on that weekend and probably after. Plan a meal we’re both excited about. Shop together, cook together. Have some really great wine. A quiet evening in.
Josh: In our situation, it’s a bit tricky, with Liza getting up early in the morning, because we can’t have a proper evening. So we might do the weekend before, make a dinner at home. And then the following weekend, I’ve arranged for Liza to go away for a night or two to Niagara to chill out.
Liza: Front row seats at the UFC with me in Vegas. Then the two of us going for a phenomenal meal afterwards.
Josh: Being whisked away for an evening or two to a romantic food-shopping city, like New York, New Orleans or L.A.
Liza: Sshocked because he’s so organized. It would be like, “Really? You don’t do that kind of stuff!”
Josh: OK if she forgot the day entirely. It would work the opposite if she bought a gift and I didn’t have anything. Then I would be sad.
Liza: Find an hour for me to just read a book alone. I don’t get much time to do that anymore.
Josh: Take the next day off work so we can stay up and enjoy the whole evening together.
Liza: It was me. I was the one who spotted him and managed to find my way beside him at a bar, but he was the one who asked for my number.
Josh: It’s up for a debate. She claims she made the effort to meet me, and I suggest that we kind of both did. And I also have a couple of friends who try to take credit for it.
Liza: Angelina Jolie. He likes people who are the best at their abilities.
Josh: Johnny Depp.
Liza: Johnny Depp.
Josh: Other than the obvious? Angelina Jolie. You can’t go wrong with mentioning her.
Member of Senate & CEO, Metropia Urban Development
Married: 10 years
Anniversary: April 22
Linda: Early on, I told Howard that I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day gifts. It’s one of my bigger regrets.
Howard: I give. Linda receives. That’s our pattern. I’m good with that.
Linda: just give in and embrace it. You can try to rise above the commercialism and fake sentimentality, but it’s difficult to win that battle.
Howard: ignore Linda’s protests that she doesn’t care about valentines. She cares.
Linda: Mistura Restaurant — the location of my first-ever date with Howard.
Howard: Langdon Hall in Kitchener, Ont. We’ve had many romantic getaways there.
Linda: A 1982 Mouton Rothschild.
Linda: Since I’m away so much for work my absolute favourite thing to do is stay home together.
Howard: Reading our Kindle Fires lying side by side. It’s actually very romantic.
Proprietor & chef, Petite Thuet
Together: 14 years
Anniversary: Sept. 5
Children: Emilia, 11, & Eva, 10
Biana: A home-cooked meal, for sure! I don’t often get Marc all to myself in the kitchen. That way I can dictate the exact meal I want on that table — for once, that menu is all mine.
Marc: A night out. For once, I wouldn’t have to cook.
Biana: Marc thinks it’s oysters because “it puts me in the mood.” Ridiculous. I love food. Any good food “puts me in the mood.” Especially when he creates something and we taste it together, next to his stove. Works every time.
Marc: Oysters. We can eat them all night long. But I think any shared meal is romantic — if the food is delicious and the company is your wife. Bee tastes everything I create, tirelessly. She’s my soundboard and my number-one cheerleader.
Biana: I’m a chef’s wife. I’m lucky to get a card on Valentine’s Day. But he makes it up. Always. A month later.
Marc: I buy her Chantelle lingerie. It’s the best gift in the universe.
Biana: like a Penthouse letter.
Marc: an afternoon at Bergdorf’s.
Biana: I wear a short skirt, and we go out for dinner. Then, I take out my notes, get my menus finalized, and we talk about our business for most of the night. Because of the short skirt, I get a lot achieved.
Marc: I think there might be food involved at some point. But there’s definitely a short skirt.
Biana: Many heated arguments followed by massive amounts of decadent food. I must admit, sharing a love for business and a passion for food keeps this fire burning.
Marc: A few trips throughout the year where we can share great food and some well-deserved alone time. None of her notes, no deadlines, no “strategic development,” as she likes to call it. Just my wife, the person.
Biana: To organize his time better. He could stop living in the creatively chaotic bubble that is Marc Thuet for an hour a day. He could give me menus on the deadlines that I have to meet. He could.… What’s the point after 14 years?
Marc: No man in his right mind would answer this question. I like where I sleep.
Nutritionist/author & entrepreneur
Married: Eight years
Anniversary: Aug. 3
Children: Two (ages 7 & 3)
Joey: In a perfect world, stay in bed all day long! With two little kids, there is no way that is going to happen.
Randy: Get a sitter and go out for dinner to our favourite Italian restaurant.
Joey: Go for a drive. He loves driving, exploring new neighborhoods. I am far too restless and impatient and can’t wait to get out of the car!
Randy: Stay home. I never want to miss the important days, we don’t get them back.
Joey: A poem. Each Valentine’s Day Randy writes me a poem. I frame and keep each one.
Randy: Clothes (Joey is my fashion advisor). And something homemade from the kids. I love those. I keep them all and they are my favourite gifts.
Joey: I would be surprised! He is actually the more romantic one of the two of us.
Randy: I would laugh. She forgets something most days.
Joey: Windermere on Lake Rosseau — it is our favourite spot on the planet. I swear, there is something healing in that water.
Randy: Windermere resort on Lake Rosseau. It’s our favourite place in the world.
Joey: Our second Valentine’s Day together — Randy showered me with many gifts to open. I presented him with one small box containing a baby sweater. It was my way of telling him I was pregnant with our son. I won that year!
Randy: I went all out and bought Joey a bunch of great gifts. I thought I was going to really surprise her until she gave me a little sweater wrapped up in a box. The card read, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Daddy.” It was how she told me she was pregnant with our son. It will likely remain the greatest surprise of my life.
CityLine host & small business owner
Married: Five years
Anniversary: July 1
Children: Sidney, 3, & Eva, 1
Tracy: A great excuse to have dinner alone with my husband.
Lio: Not much.
Tracy: One-on-one time!
Lio: A card and a few kisses.
Tracy: A hockey game, steak and sex (possibly in that order).
Lio: A mountain of chocolate.
Tracy: Somewhat awkward and nerve-racking.
Lio: Pleasantly surprising.
Tracy: Killed his!
Lio: Was so lame.
Tracy: Eating at one of our favourite restaurants.
Lio: Good, drinks and a (chick) flick.
Tracy: He offers to take my pants off.
Lio: She tells me.
Canada AM music correspondent & creator, Name Your Tune
Married: 11 years
Anniversary: Sept. 24
Children: Hannah, 9
Eric: This year, we’re going out to dinner — where we’ll talk about our daughter Hannah, her school, our work lives — then I’ll surprise her with a trip to Paris for dessert. One of these plans may not happen.
Candace: Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year — we'll spend it together as a family with our daughter. I'll make the favourite meal that we can all agree on (spaghetti and meat sauce), Eric will make popcorn, and the three of us will snuggle on the couch and watch American Idol. Not exactly romantic — but it's perfect.
Eric: Getting all dressed up with her new clothes just bought at her fave store, a dab of perfume, her hair neatly done, a breath of excitement and romance in the air — and a goodbye as she goes out to dinner with Matt Damon while I watch our daughter Hannah.
Candace: His Genesis DVDs, a bottle of red (for me), a bottle of Coke (for him) and popcorn. It's the next best thing to getting tickets to see Genesis live, which, obviously, is not going to happen for him.
Eric: Candace and I made our own spectacular and shiny rings from a drab, dirty piece of gold one year. I have yet to take it off. From Hannah, a guitar pick that reads, “I couldn’t pick a better dad.”
Candace: A few years ago, Eric worked with a jeweller and designed a necklace for me. It's a heart of diamonds with three that are just a bit bigger than the rest to represent our family. Doesn't get better than that — Oh, the pressure!
Eric: Nothing, to tell you the truth. Candace showers me with compliments and affection on a daily basis.
Candace: To play hooky, take the day off work and just hang out together — no computers, no BlackBerrys or iPhones.…
Eric: “Power of Two” by The Indigo Girls. But my favourite love song is “Falling Slowly” by the Swell Season.
Candace: “The Power of Two” by The Indigo Girls. Eric totally gave me that one — they're my favourite band, our first live show together. The song is lovely … “multiply life by the power of two.” It's us.
Actor & insurance case manager
Married: 10 years
Anniversary: Aug. 11
Pat: A typical commercial go out and get the flowers and have dinner.
Carmela: Usually nothing really special. I'm not really a flowers and jewellery type. It's more important to treat each other lovingly every day instead of once a year.
Pat: Just reminding each other why you’re together in the first place. Not taking the relationship for granted, saying, “You make me happy because.…”
Carmela: Remembering the less pressure the better. I sound so boring, but it's true.
Pat: Nothing. She has everything, she never expects anything. She doesn’t crave jewellery or material things. She’s happy that she has her health, a loving relationship and her family.
Carmela: Amazing Fantasy #15. To regular people it sounds like porn. But it's a comic book.
Pat: We met in high school, and it took four years for me to build the courage to ask her out. Then we broke up after the prom. We went our separate ways and met up eight years later, and it took three months of hanging out and casual dinners.
Carmela: I got tired of waiting and made the first move. And, in true guy fashion, he was confused by the whole thing.
Pat: “With or Without You” by U2.
Carmela: I don't think he has one. He tends to butcher the lyrics of every song. Kinda takes the whole romance thing out of it.
Pat: “Rubber Duckie, You’re the One.” It’s a special song to us. I used it as I proposed to her:
Carmela: “One” by U2.
Pat: Just my physical presence. My wife can’t control herself around me. I always remind her how many women want this.
Carmela: Not taking each other too seriously. And laughing … a lot.
Baseball player & stay-at-home mom
Married: One year
Anniversary: Nov. 13
Children: Martynne Adele, 4 months
Adam: Like most people, with my wife.
Lakeyshia: Going to a movie and then maybe to a sushi dinner. Now that we have a baby, our flexibility is pretty limited.
Adam: Having some “grown up” time.
Lakeyshia: At home with the ladies in his life. Oh yeah, no poopy diapers — and breakfast in bed served to him, for a change.
Adam: Go to bed to early.
Lakeyshia: Ballroom dance. I love to dance and I've tried everything I can think of to persuade him to come along with me, but nothing works.
Adam: A luxurious villa in the Caribbean!
Lakeyshia: Nothing special. Just a hug and a kiss and an “I love you” are about all I really need.
Adam: Time together. She’s not into material things, that’s why I love her.
Lakeyshia: Candy of some sort. He's Mr. Sweet Tooth, so I just have to get him a heart-shaped Jolly Rancher and he’s happy.
Lakeyshia: Pearl Harbor?
Lakeyshia: Forrest Gump.
Married: Four years
Anniversary: May 22
Children: Spencer, Honor, Reed and Harrison
Stephanie: Having a nice dinner together that we didn’t prepare!
Paul: Dirty martinis and dinner at home in front of the fire.
Stephanie: One of those corny cards with the sentiment (I call it “sediment”) already written!
Paul: To be stuffed into a crowded understaffed restaurant.
Stephanie: Not sure it’s PG-13!
Paul: Watching Love Actually for the 25th time from start to finish without falling asleep!
Stephanie: Go to Victoria’s Secret!
Paul: Under promise and over deliver!
Stephanie: Johnny Coltrane, “My One and Only Love.”
Paul: “All You Need Is Love.”
Stephanie: The news. No shop talk allowed.
Paul: The Visa bill.
Stephanie: Not a single thing!
Paul: To make her love curling as much as she loves indoor winter tennis.
Singer-songwriter & manufacturer, Marcy’s Gourmet Products
Married: Five years
Anniversary: Sept. 23
Alan: like the sort of “reminder,” if you will, of the choice I made many years ago that this was the woman I love and whom I wanted to spend my life with. I love her that way every day of the year, but it’s fun to have a little day to acknowledge that fact.
marcy: a fun day to make a fuss over your loved ones.
Alan: With the girls in my life (I have a seven-year-old daughter), then after my little one's bedtime, a romantic hour or two with my wife.
Marcy: Cooking a beautiful dinner with my family.
Alan: Give than receive.
Marcy: Focus on the simple pleasures.
Alan: Southern Italy.
Marcy: Some place hot!
Alan: My daughter as well as me. And all three of us would be on a cooking adventure in Italy or France. They would be taking a marvellous cooking course, and all three of us would enjoy fabulous food, fabulous wines and lots of love and friendship with great people.
Marcy: a Rangers soccer match, then in the evening, dinner with his girls. After dark — pillow talk with moi.
Alan: She did.
Marcy: Alan definitely made the first move when he brought me home from our blind date. He then planted a kiss on me that I will never forget.
Alan: “You are definitely going to have to do this one all over again, pal.”
Marcy: “He’s proposing here?!”
Alan: That it wants no part of romance. You have to take care of that part yourself.
Marcy: That it’s not just about us, like when we were dating. It’s about building a life together.
Owners, Armadillo Shoes
Married: 18 years
Anniversary: Feb 6
This Valentine’s Day, I’m hoping to...
Anne-Marie: have a nice romantic dinner with my husband.
Peter: play hockey.
Anne-Marie: a romantic, home-cooked meal, because it’s a special night between my husband and me.
Peter: to go out. She doesn’t have to cook.
Anne-Marie: a big white musical teddy bear. He surprised me on our first Valentine’s Day together.
Peter: a romantic trip to Las Vegas.
Anne-Marie: the day in Vegas.
Peter: a romantic trip.
Anne-Marie: My spouse.
Peter: My wife.
Anne-Marie: yes, finally. They all thought he would never ask.
Peter: I hope I don’t get whacked.
Anne-Marie: going to the movies, out for nice dinners or meeting up with our friends.
Peter: What’s date night?
Anne-Marie: Love Actually.
Anne-Marie: it doesn’t matter how busy you are, there’s time for each other.
Peter: romance is a lot of work and men are not mind readers.
Anne-Marie: spending time just the two of us.
Peter: my wife is half Sicilian and half Calabrese — there is always spark in our lives.