Valentine’s Day by the numbers

When it comes to Canadians’ shopping habits, Valentine’s Day is anything but a “Hallmark holiday”

Valentine’s Day celebrates love. According to Statistics Canada, 7.9 million couples call Canada home. Photo: Pixabay.
Valentine’s Day celebrates love. According to Statistics Canada, 7.9 million couples call Canada home.   Pixabay

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
– Charles M. Schulz

We have a Roman emperor and two men named Valentine to thank for Valentine’s Day.

In the 3rd century AD., on Feb. 14 of different years, two men named Valentine were executed in Rome by Emperor Claudius II (unsurprisingly nicknamed “Claudius the Cruel”).

The Catholic Church, to honour both martyrs, later decided to celebrate the holiday we now know as Valentine’s Day.

A collection of locks in Pecs, Hungary symbolizing the strength of true love.
A collection of locks in Pécs, Hungary symbolizing the strength of true love.   Rachael Kelly

The holiday today

While lesser romantics tend to refer to Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark holiday,” many Canadians enjoy expressing their love with greeting cards, chocolate, roses and other assorted gifts.

Which is good news for the Canadian economy.

Jennifer Harrison, owner of the gourmet bakery Layers Cakes on Barrington Street, says Valentine’s Day is “the busiest day of the year by far. We usually have a lineup out the door in the morning.”

Layers Cakes takes Valentine’s Day orders all week. This afternoon, she had a dozen on file. In a few days, said Harrison assuredly, the bakery will max out at 50 one dozen custom cupcake orders.

Harrison triples the usual number of staff she has in the store on Valentine’s Day. At 4 a.m. Sunday morning, she and four other professional bakers will start mixing the batter for red velvet, coconut, cinnamon and chocolate ganache cupcakes.

They and other retail employees will work non-stop from open to close.

“Sorry honey! They were all sold out!” just might not cut it. We bake a gazillion and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Preorder to make sure he or she’s a happy Valentine. 🙂

Posted by Layers on Monday, February 8, 2016

Neville MacKay, owner of My Mother’s Bloomers, a floral and gift shop on Spring Garden Road, is expecting a long Valentine’s Day as well.

“It’s our largest one-day sale of flowers for the year,” said MacKay. “We serve everyone from the womb to the tomb.”

Employees work long hours before the holiday, prepping bouquet after bouquet of red roses, irises, lilies and hydrangeas. If he needs them, MacKay has extra staff on speed dial.

How many orders does he have in-store for V-Day?

“Oh dozens and dozens and dozens,” said MacKay. “I couldn’t count them right now. I’d get hives.”

Posted by My Mother’s Bloomers on Saturday, February 6, 2016

By the numbers

To honour the upcoming holiday, Statistics Canada released a set of facts on Tuesday covering “assorted topics related to Valentine’s Day.”

If you don’t have a Valentine this year, don’t worry. You can still partake in the capitalistic fun.

“Why do you need some girl or some fella to buy you flowers?” asked MacKay. “Buy them for yourself. You bloody well deserve them.”

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