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Love in the Time of COVID, or Big Ideas for a Small Valentine’s

This past year has been a blur, hasn’t it?  At first when we started hearing that we needed to stay home for a few weeks until the crisis passed, we were dumbfounded.  Stay home?  Work from home?  Don’t meet friends for lunch or happy hour drinks?  What?!  Let’s face it – weeks and weeks apart from the moments we loved –  it was unfathomable.

Then there were the birthdays in those early days.  Remember how we felt so sorry for those unfortunate friends and family who had birthdays in March, April, even May?  We were cocky about it, weren’t we? How unlucky they were to be stuck with COVID birthdays.  Of course, while we pitied and commiserated with them we fully believed that by the time our (okay my) summer birthday came along life would be back to normal and we’d once again find ourselves surrounded by reliable celebrants and their copious bottles of prosecco.

But that didn’t happen.  Here’s what happened.  We ALL had Covid birthdays.  We ALL had the same experience.  If we were lucky, friends and family would gather via Zoom, speak incessantly over each other, position the camera so only their right eyeball was visible, forget to unmute, then accidentally mute, go missing off the screen only to reappear unsure of who’s birthday they were there for. But, hey, we made the most of it!

Now almost a year later, the few unfathomable weeks of potential shutdown have rolled into 11 months and counting. In 2020, threats of shutdown started late February and into early March.  Which meant that Valentine’s Day 2020 was relatively normal.  That’s not going to be the case this year.

So with that in mind, I thought I’d share some of my favourite, innovative businesses with great ideas to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day in isolation. Because if there’s anything the world  needs now, it’s love, sweet love!

Iced Iced Baby 

I learned of this fabulous Toronto-based business through an entrepreneur group I belong to.  They create lux handcrafted candy and chocolate.  What makes their sweets super cool?  They hand-make personalized lollipops!  You provide the picture and they deliver them to you.  Imagine the surprise on your loved-one’s face when they see their face (or maybe yours?) looking right back at them? And of course, they have all sorts of other beautifully handcrafted treats to choose from.

Shari’s Picks

I know in the past I’ve raved about Shari Mogk-Edwards and her wonderful world of wine.  She does such an amazing job of making wine fun, accessible, and, well, pretty much essential! This Valentine’s Day is no exception as she doubles down on the bubbly in her latest blog post.  Believe me, her great ideas and recommendations for every palate will take the sacrifice out of staying home.

Handmade by SF Designs

Let’s face it, there’s never a time when jewellery isn’t a perfect gift. But when jewellery has true meaning, it’s extra special.  Not only is the beautiful artistry of London, Ontario’s Stephanie Flynn a hallmark of her work, her incredible spirit seems to infuse every piece she produces. From personalized necklaces to dainty rings and stacking bracelets, she creates everyday jewellery that honours the chapters of your life.


This Toronto-based skin care company is all about skin, soul and earth goodness.  Their focus is wellness for the body, mind and spirit and they deliver with simple, elegant products such as Uplift candles, luscious natural hand-made soaps and plant-based face creams and serums.

Kingston Road Flower Market

What, you say!? Flowers are hardly a new and innovative Valentine’s Day idea!  Maybe not, but in the case of this family-owned, Upper Beach Toronto business, they’re not just delivering flowers, they’re delivering tradition. Occupying an iconic building since the 1950’s (which has been celebrated by multiple artists over the years) they offer a beautiful selection of fresh cut flowers and tropical house plants and they are passionate about serving their community. Find them on Instagram!

Off the Wall On the Fence

Now you knew this was coming!  I wasn’t about to  to complete this list without at least a small mention of what we have to offer!  Our custom outdoor art prints are one-of-a-kind – that means that you have the chance to be completely original this year when you give your gift of love.  Upload a special memory to our website and we will deliver a print that will bring you and your loved-ones joy for years to come.

Lisa Hartley, Founder of Off the Wall On the Fenc