Amazon says Victoria is Canada’s most romantic city, but you’ll never guess who is No. 2

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

It's probably no surprise to Canadians that Victoria once again was rated the most romantic city in Canada in Amazon's annual list for the second consecutive time.

After all, the picturesque B.C. capital, with its verdant gardens, spectacular ocean, mountain views and quaint pseudo-British vibe, has long carried the label as the city of the newly wed and nearly dead. USA Today last month ranked it among the top 10 best romantic winter getaways in North America. Romance is in the air.

The giant online retailer bases its fifth annual pre-Valentine's Day list on a year of sales data for romantic novels, relationship books, rom-com movies and music CDs from such mood-enhancing artists as Dean Martin, Barry White, Luther Vandross and Michael Bublé.

"When it comes to treating their Valentines, the locals in Victoria aren't afraid to show a little affection," Amazon said in its news release. "The city ranked highest in all categories, purchasing the most romance novels and relationship books, romantic comedy DVDs and romantic CDs."

[ Related: Toronto named the most romantic city in Canada: poll ]

But guess who slotted in right behind Victoria this year.

It's Winnipeg. Yes, Winnipeg.

The city where in summer the mosquitos are the size of Amazon delivery drones, where in winter the sexiest garment you'll see is a fur-lined parka and where in spring a romantic outing is a picnic on the banks of the Red River to see if the flood-diversion system is working. (Joking, Winnipeggers. No flame mail, please)

"Ranked second overall and up from the number 11 spot in 2013, residents in Winnipeg also earned a No. 2 spot when it came to enjoying romance novels," Amazon noted.

"Locals in Winnipeg purchased the most romantic print and Kindle books including regency romance, gothic romance, romantic suspense and historical romance books."

The high finish doesn't surprise Winnipeg filmmaker Aaron Zeghers, whose documentary Born Out of Love delves into the founding of the Harlequin romance novel empire in the Prairie city in 1949. It's now based in Toronto.

"It was the beginning of the early form of female-dominated genres," Zeghers told the Toronto Sun.

Canada's most romantic cities according to

1. Victoria, British Columbia
2. Winnipeg, Manitoba
3. Niagara Falls, Ontario
4. Lethbridge, Alberta
5. North Vancouver, British Columbia
6. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
7. Kamloops, British Columbia
8. Langley, British Columbia
9. Edmonton, Alberta
10. Regina, Saskatchewan
11. Red Deer, Alberta
12. Thunder Bay, Ontario
13. Calgary, Alberta
14. Brantford, Ontario
15. Sherbrooke, Quebec
16. Pickering, Ontario
17. Kingston, Ontario
18. Nanaimo, British Columbia
19. Waterloo, Ontario
20. Cambridge, Ontario

Winnipeg is a city of dreamers and romance is a form of escape from the city, he said.

"Seemingly, the romance novel is about adventure and going away from this world," said Zeghers. "When you live in a small town, you can try to do other things, through the books."

[ Related: Victoria makes Conde Nest Traveller’s list of best cities ] last year listed Winnipeg dead last in its survey of Canada's most romantic cities, based on a poll of more than a thousand men and women. Toronto took top honours.

Niagara Falls, Ont., Lethbridge, Alta., and North Vancouver joined Victoria and Winnipeg in Amazon's top five. There were seven Ontario cities in the top 20. Toronto wasn't one of them.

Surprisingly, Sherbrooke was the only Quebec city on the list, which perhaps is a function of Amazon's business in French-language material. B.C. had four cities, while Alberta has three and Regina and Saskatoon represented Saskatchewan. The Atlantic provinces were shut out.

Amazon's list of the 20 most romantic U.S. cities puts San Antonio, Tex., on top, followed by Seattle, Knoxville, Tenn., Miami and Alexandra, Va.