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Nitobe Memorial Garden on a snowy day
February 8, 2019
4 mins read

Campus spots to take your crush on a first date

In the words of the fox in The Little Prince: “It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.”

Maybe it is the time you invested (or want to invest) in that one person who can make your "heart of hearts" (to quote Shakespeare)—or, your "cor cordium" (to quote Shelley)—skip a beat.

Here, small things become titanic (!) in significance: every smile, every averted gaze, every word restrained at the tip of the tongue—they all become something more, something to make you look forward to tomorrow, something pointing towards what you deeply hope could be.

Although nothing has been vocally confirmed, asking out your crush (from lecture, lab, tutorial, seminar, or just a chance encounter at an event—the list, like Dion’s heart, goes on) for a first date and together touring around campus can create for both of you memories worthy of future revisiting. After all, you met here, didn’t you?

No matter what you choose to do, always keep in mind the importance of creating consent culture and understanding subtextual language.


William King’s “The Art of Cookery”: “Unless some sweetness at the bottom lye, / Who cares for all the crinkling of the pye?”

Loafe Café

Loafe is in the air as you sneak glances at your crush over a table of salad, sandwiches, and stylish soups, right here on the main floor of the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre.

Great Dane Coffee

Even if you and your crush aren’t dog-lovers, this coffee shop (with a patio and a fireplace) will warm up your mutual affinities with its pastry and coffee selection.

Koerner’s Pub

L’amour may be right around the Koerner! Make your way to this minimalist pub, where you can find some grub, some drinks to chug, and maybe even a chance to get a hug?


Lord Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott”: “Four great walls, and four great towers / Overlook a space of flowers….”

Tower Beach

Take the time to look into the distance like a poet musing over the Aegean Sea. Just watch out for the seemingly endless stairs before and after your admiration of eternal marine imagery. Mention to each other that summer is almost here, and, from there, mutually compare to a summer’s day.

Nitobe Memorial Garden

Spend an idyllic afternoon in this Japanese tea and stroll garden and hum along to nature’s rippling cadences. Be sure to listen to streams, stand in awe at waterfalls, and together with your crush peer into UBC’s very own Walden Pond (or what in Anne of Green Gables is named “the Lake of Shining Waters”).

Greenheart TreeWalk in UBC Botanical Garden

All roads lead to Rome...and maybe to romance, too? Stand above an expanse of firs while trekking across this walkway, as suspended as your quivering heart in the tango and foxtrot between maybe and maybe-not. (Note: this spot is closed until April!)

A couple exploring the campus together


André Aciman’s “My Monet Moment”: “If chance—what the Greeks called Tyche—trumps meaning and sense every time, then art, or what they called Techne, is itself nothing more than an attempt to give a tone, a cadence, a meaning to what might otherwise be left to chance.”

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Check out (!) Canada’s second largest academic research library. In 32 rooms at IKB, you can find plaques of historical images, and a QR code that, when scanned, gives access to a virtual museum! Don’t forget to spend time in the Ridington Room, alias the “Harry Potter Room,” where you can sit together under the shared invisibility cloak of silent reading. (Note: you can pass on this spot if you have had a history of cramming for finals in here.)

Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Venture about and together look at collections celebrating diversity, tradition, and an imitation of life that remains, to date, immortalized in the immobile. Look up at the whale skeleton, look into the timeline exhibit, look up and down the aisles of displayed stuffed animals (well, the other kind), and, of course, look at each other.

Pacific Museum of the Earth

Visit the many exhibits and pore (!) over the many minerals housed in this museum. In the Glove and Gem Gallery, you can find Canada’s first OmniGlobe, an interactive sphere that shows ocean currents, forest fires, and (OH MY!) plate tectonics! Did I mention fossils and real, ready-to-be-touched dinosaur bones?

Other possibilities

Some other places to which you can take your crush include concerts (UBC School of Music hosts many free performances!), the skating arena (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre), and athletic tournaments around campus. Oh, and if you're interested in getting to know each other a bit more, attend some of the PSYC department’s study experiments (credit: this Reddit comment).

Guard the present moment, this uncertainty that opens to horizons of possibilities and speculations. Friends...or more than friends? Is love, after all, more precious when things are left unspoken, ambiguous, merely replications of maybes?

No matter what your definition of romance may be, think about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s idea on love in Wind, Sand and Stars:

“To love is not to look at one another, it is to look, together, in the same direction.”

So, wherever you go, look in the same way, see the same things, be together in the same moment.