Okay: we go over this every year, but lets recap. In the coming weeks, you'll see story after story about "special" Valentine's Day dinners that various restaurants in the city are putting on. "Special" wine pairings. "Romantic" menus. These, almost to a fault, are unspeakably lame. Not because the restaurants are doing anything wrong, but because if you're in a relationship with someone and feel the need to express you're love for them, piggybacking on someone else's idea of what is special is just sad. So immeasurably sad. 

Normally I'd offer doing something more thoughtful, like taking in a cultural exchange... and then, lo and behold I get a press release from the Vancouver Art Gallery that is for a Valentine's celebration that is not lame. In fact, it's sort of awesome. And it's cheap—$69 ($55 if you're a VAG member)! For that you get a three course meal from the new 1931 Bistro with tuna poke, foie gras, sablefish (below) and rhurbarb cheesecake as some of the options. But here's the kicker—you also get after hours admission to the VAG's blockbuster Cindy Sherman show. The show is great—it came from London's National Portrait Gallery and on March 8 it heads to Paris' chi chi Fondation Louis Vuitton—and seeing it without hordes of people is worth the ticket price alone.

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So there you go—skip the roses, the chocolate and instead make like a big wheel and show him/her how you can get the VAG to open the doors just for you. And then have a low key dinner a bit to celebrate the lengths you'll go for love. 

uCourtesy of Metro Pictures

Tickets are available here.