Ice Breakers

15+ first date ideas that are a great way to see if your interests match someone else's—the rest is up to you and your charm!

Dating in 2019 is a whole new world of courting. Conventional dates don't necessarily apply anymore, because conventional meetings are a thing of the past.

Online dating is no longer taboo, but if you're still reluctant to admit to friends you met through an app, at least with this list you'll be able to follow it up with an unconventional story of your first date! 

(These ideas are not just limited to first dates—perhaps you really like someone and want to wow them with a grand second date, or perhaps you've been married for 10 years and want to try something new with your loved one!)

It goes without saying that you should judge your situation individually and only agree to what you are comfortable with; after all, this is the first time you're meeting someone new. 

Combine as many of these activities as you can in one day, or keep your itinerary light with room to grow if you happen to dig one another by the end of it. 

Fat Biking 

The perfect activity where you can set your own paces and difficulty level, yet still have an absolute riot together. Fat biking is a great year-round date idea, also a good way to gage their level of adventure-seeking! 

fishing With a Shore lunch 

This is northwestern Ontario's equivalent to a picnic. If you really want to impress that guy or gal, show off your shore lunch-making skills. Cooking is attractive; being a provider? Tenfold.

Keep the fishing simple and pressure-free for you both. Being out on the boat is a great time to discuss your biggest dreams and ambitions. The lake's beauty and interruptions from biting fish will keep your conversation flowing freely.


Events are good dates to go to when you're unsure of what you're after. The attention is focused elsewhere and you're given time and the excuse to take your time and choose your words and actions carefully. They also happen year-round! 

Whether it be a winter festival, trivia nights, or a concert, events can help you ease into conversation, they are also a great way to see if your tastes align with theirs.

What's the best part about events? Once they are over you have every excuse to get the heck out of Dodge if you need one, if not, you don't you can invite them for an additional drink at the local pub or evening stroll. 

Campfire Coffee 

Not to be mistaken with the fire you'd build for shore lunch. This is a much more casual type of fire! Don't worry, you'll get used to the customs here in northwestern Ontario evenually. 

A coffee campfire is an invitation to get to know that person. It may begin with a small hike, where you can let nature do the talking, but it'll transition into the attention being on you both. If you like to keep things simple with one on one dates, this is the type of date you're after! 

Go Foraging

This is a simple date for those on a budget, but it still gives you an activity and task at hand to make it fun and interesting. Research what your bounty will be for the day then set off together. Watch for fun opportunities such as feeding birds and playing in the snow. 

Many goods can be foraged year-round here in Sunset Country, one of our favourite winter bounties is chaga, and it's an easy target to identify, perfect for the amateur forager. Our favourite summer bounty? Blueberries! 

One on One Pond Hockey 

Touch tackle or full contact—you decide! 

Ice Fishing

If one thing is clear about northwestern Ontario, it's that we have a lot of anglers up here. Men and women alike embrace fishing year-round, and for good reason. There's good fishing to be had here and if you find the right company it can be even more enjoyable! 

Gun Range

This may not be for everyone, but for target practice, competitive shooting, hunters sighting in rifles, or anyone just open to try new things, gun clubs are a safe environment to explore something out of your ordinary. Or perhaps you're both regular members and your paths have never crossed! 

Polar Bear Plunge

There are polar bear plunges all over northwestern Ontario; some are to raise awareness for a cause, others are just for fun! Find one coming up in a town near you, and make plans with that man or woman you've been too shy to ask out for the last few weeks! 

Watch for Northern Lights 

In Sunset Country we are truly gifted to have such opportunities available to us on most clear nights. Northern lights are more common than most realize, and if you can get yourself north of a city or town, you're even more likely to spot them. 

Bonus points will be landed if you bring lots of blankets, pillows, and hot beverages for you both to enjoy! 

Go for a paddle 

Paddling can be as urban or as backcountry as your heart's desire. Hourly and daily rentals are affordable and so long as you both love paddling, regardless if you hit it off, you'll enjoy it. No morning or afternoon spent paddling was ever wasted. 

If you do happen to hit it off, polish off the day with brunch or an early dinner once you're off the water. Or pull out some snacks you secretly packed—no man or woman has ever been disappointed by snacks. 

Rock/Ice Climbing 

Whether you're both experienced, or both green, there are options to join groups of rock climbing courses in the real world, not a gym! Natural breaks in the conversation, its only a half-day commitment and you'll get a great feel for their personality with each challenge! 


Winter, spring, summer, or fall! This is an excellent chance to let your geek flag fly, and if they are as into as you are? Even better! Who doesn't enjoy a scavenger hunt? 

Self-Guided Museum Tour

The history in northwestern Ontario is incredibly rich and interesting. From the prisoner-of-war camps to surprisingly comical jail breaks and battles over the Manitoba, Ontario, United States borders—even if you're not a history buff, you'll enjoy your time spent there! 

Skiing or Snowboarding 

Perhaps one of you knows how to snowboard and the other has always wanted to learn. Or perhaps you're both avid skiiers and snowboarders and a day on the hill sounds great. Mix in some hot cocoa and french fries and you have yourselves perfection. 

Float Plane Tour

The first thing most folks think about when they think Sunset Country––besides our breathtaking sunsets–– is our rugged landscapes and water abound. The third thing? Our abundance of float planes and the waterways they make into their runways. 

Book or plan for a semi-impromptu flight if you want to play it by ear. Meet for a coffee or lunch before-hand to get a read on your first impressions and take it from there! 

What Next? 

Did things go well? 

If it's just in time for an early dinner, hit up the local pub!

Going for an early dinner allows you both to make plans for the evening if you so choose! Hit up an evening event or stop planning and just let things flow naturally! 

This is normally where I'd list off Sunset Country's contact information; unfortunately, we don't operate as a match-making service, but we certainly can help make your futures together magical. Granted the first date went well, give our website a look over to see what to do for your second, third, and fourth dates!  

About Alyssa Lloyd

Alyssa Lloyd is a photojournalist based out of Kenora working with Ontario's Sunset Country. The outdoors has been the center of her work and personal life for as long as she can remember. As an angler, Alyssa spends most of her time time chasing multiple species on both conventional and fly gear. 

Recommended Articles

New Restrictions on What You Can Bring into Canada

Keep up to dates with the changes.

A Beginner's Guide to Ice Fishing in Canada

(With a few tips for the seasoned fishermen too!)

8 facts you didn't know about moose

Just how big is a moose anyway?

Renew Your Outdoors Card, Online!

It's never been easier to buy your Ontario fishing license and Outdoors Card

White Otter Castle: The Incredible Story of the Mansion in the Middle of Nowhere

Imagine single-handedly building this massive structure in the middle of the wilderness?

Curious as to which fish species are in your favourite lake?

Use this interactive map to find out.

Giant Pike on Ice

Tips & techniques for catching big pike through the ice.

Secluded Cottage Rentals

You won't believe what's available at some of these remote lodges!

Reference Guide to the Towns & Cities in Northwest Ontario

Small towns with big hearts

4 of the Best Hunting Trips in Ontario

Bear, moose, deer, and duck—check out these incredible hunting opportunities.

Landscape Photography at its Finest

Learn how to capture our sunsets and more!

Big fish or Bigfoot?

How many of these quirky Northern Ontario roadside attractions have you seen?

Rent an Ice Hut in Sunset Country

Make the most of winter in Northwestern Ontario with a unique ice fishing experience

Tips for Spring Walleye Fishing

Find out the best places to find walleyes.

Shed Hunting 101

How to find antlers this spring in Sunset Country 

Catch More Walleye!

The bait you use can make all the difference

6 sand beaches in Kenora

Cool off at one of these drive-to or boat-to beaches in Sunset Country!

Canada's Gemstone Capital: Mining Amethyst in Thunder Bay

Purple is our favourite fall colour. ;)

Have you ever tried wild blueberries?

Here are some must-try recipes.

Black Spruce 101

Things You Probably Didn't Know About This Boreal Icon