In honor of Canada Day, we’re (belatedly) celebrating with a list of 10 great old-school/ vintage romances set in the Great White North, sure to heat you up!
Canada, A Country of Romance
Canada celebrated its 153rd anniversary as a united nation on July 1, 2023. The date commemorates the Constitution Act of 1867, which merged three territories into a single nation. Until 1982, Canadians celebrated their national birthday as“Dominion Day” before renaming it “Canada Day.”
This July 4th is our country’s birthday. Yet, as we usually do at Sweet Savage Flame, we’re mixing things up. It’s Happy Canada Day! Today we highlight the special kind of romances that heat up in the Great White North.
Canada is the original home of Harlequin Books, the most famous name in romance publication. It’s no surprise that many memorable love stories were set there throughout the 20th century.
We’ve compiled a list of the ten fantastic romances that take place in Canada. Each story captures love and passion, and the great nation itself is an integral part of the story.
10 Great Romances Set in Canada
1. Second Honeymoon by Sandra Field, 1996
A vital component of Sandra Field’s Harlequin Presents Second Honeymoon—the story of a married couple’s reconciliation—is its Nova Scotia setting.
Second Honeymoon is the sequel to Beyond Reach, a touching ocean journey through the tropics. In that book, the emotionally scarred hero Troy and the free-spirited and deeply empathic Lucy shared a beautiful romance. Their happy ending resulted in marriage.
Here in Second Honeymoon, a tragedy has occurred, resulting in Lucy leaving Troy and relocating to Nova Scotia. She takes a job at a secluded vacation resort that is a popular destination for bird watchers. Troy pursues her there, and in a reversal of the first book’s plot, it’s he who heals Lucy’s wounds.
The bucolic forest setting is just as significant to the plot of Second Honeymoon as the tropical ocean setting was to Beyond Reach.
2. Passionate Imposter by Elizabeth Graham, 1981
Passionate Imposter by Elizabeth Graham is an old-school Harlequin that features some cracktastic, car-wreck elements and a very hard-to-like heroine. But if you enjoy the bizarre or unusual, stick with the ride. Even if you don’t love it, it’s a trip you won’t forget.
The Canadian element here is not so much about one place but the divide between “city” and “rural.”
The protagonist–and villainess–of this romance is Natalie Forman. When her hot-shot Vancouver career flops, she returns to her family’s country ranch for some comfort. Natalie’s been so busy in the big city over the last couple of years that she hasn’t had a chance to catch up with her mom and dad… And now they’re dead. The nerve of them!
This wicked heroine spends a good portion of the book toying with her ex-boyfriend, who is now married to her best friend. She spends the rest fighting her desire for the hero, Cal Hendricks, a hunky, decent guy who now manages the ranch.
Does Natalie grow and learn at the end through the power of love? No, she stays self-centered, as always, and wins it all.
3. The Reluctant Lark by Iris Johansen, 1983
In the 1983 Loveswept category romance, The Reluctant Lark by Iris Johansen, the remote and rugged Canadian countryside serves as a vital backdrop as two souls come together in a thrilling and unconventional manner. The isolated setting is at the heart of this “captor/captive” plot.
Sheena Reardon is a world-famous singer known as Ireland’s mournful dove. Her voice and beauty capture Rand Challon’s attention, and he becomes obsessed with her. As Sheena faces a crisis in her life, Rand whisks her away to his mountain retreat.
In this secluded haven while under Rand’s sensual guidance, Sheena discovers new dimensions and finds the fulfillment she has always desired. The captivating landscape serves as a metaphor for Sheena’s personal journ ey and her and Rand’s love story as she matures into her own, discovering her true voice.
4. Streets of Fire by Judith Duncan, 1990
Streets of Fire by Judith Duncan, is a raw, painful tale about a love that was too powerful to be forgotten. It’s a rare case where I agree with the editors that the Harlequin Award of Excellence is well-deserved.
Sydney Foster, an influential real estate investor, was forced to sell her body on the streets of Calgary as a child in order to survive. If not for Vice Cop Nick Novak’s help, who knows how horrible her fate could have been? Because of Nick’s help, Sydney was given the chance to transform herself into a completely different person.
Now Nick needed her. His career as a police officer had crippled his body and mind. Together they try to save another girl from a life on the streets while also finding salvation in each other.
5. The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery, 1926
The Blue Castle is a captivating classic romance written by L. M. Montgomery, author of the legendary Anne of Green Gables series.
Valancy Stirling is a timid and unhappy woman living with her overbearing family in a small town in Canada. Valancy’s life takes a dramatic turn when she receives a devastating medical diagnosis. This news prompts her to break free from societal expectations and follow her heart’s desires.
Valancy moves from her home of Deerwood, Ontario, to Mistawis Island. In this serene yet untamed setting, she finally discovers the freedom, adventure, and love she has always yearned for. Valancy meets Barney Snaith, a charming and unconventional man who helps her see the world in a new light. Their connection sparks a journey of self-discovery, the magic wonder of living life to the fullest.
6. Heaven in is Arms by Lisa Ann Verge, 1995
Heaven in His Arms by Lisa Ann Verge, is set in 17th-century Quebec. Genevieve Lalande escapes her miserable life in Paris by switching places with another woman in order to become a mail-order bride in New France across the Atlantic Ocean. André Lefebvre, a fur trader, is forced into marriage in order to obtain a license to sell furs.
Their marriage of convenience begins with André hoping his sickly wife soon passes away. But Genevive thrives under the harsh conditions of the wild frontier. The arrogant and handsome André cannot help but fall in love with his courageous bride as she adjusts to the rigors of French settler society in
7. At the Rainbow’s End by Jo Ann Ferguson, 1989
At the Rainbow’s End by Jo Ann Ferguson is set during the Yukon Gold Rush in Dawson City, Canada.
It’s 1898, and Samantha Perry finds herself orphaned and forced to bid farewell to her midwestern American home. With limited options, she seizes the desperate choice to become a gold prospector’s mail-order bride. Alone and resolute, Samantha embarks on an arduous journey northward, braving icy rivers and a land ill-suited to a single woman seeking respectability.
Upon arriving in Dawson City, Samantha finds that she has not one but two potential husbands seeking her hand. Kevin Houseman, a gentle soul whose polished manners starkly contrast with the rugged Yukon landscape, appears to be the more fitting of the two suitors.
However, she ultimately succumbs to the allure of Joel Gilchrist, a rugged and resilient bear of a man whose survival instincts fascinate her. Despite her fears over Joel’s rough nature, he is the only one whose kisses make her burn with desire. Their shared passion will keep them warm through the snowy nights up North.
8. The Buttercup Dream by Mónica Martín, 1988
The Buttercup Dream by Mónica Martín takes us to the picturesque lakeside setting of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains. With nothing more than a shoestring budget and her dreams, Joy Lowry opens a small café in the country.
Her fantasy appears to be an exciting reality until she clashes with Rain MacCallum. Rain runs a boating company that is constructing a wharf next to her restaurant, which disrupts her promising business. Then he steals her customers away with free catered boat rides!
Despite Rain’s adversarial antics, Joy is conflicted and finds herself falling for her (crazily) competitive yet charismatic neighbor.
9. When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke, 1983
When Calls the Heart, written by Janette Oke, is an inspirational historical romance that highlights the dangers of the rough frontier of the Canadian Old West. Set in 1910, the story follows Elizabeth Thatcher, a well-educated woman who travels west to become a school teacher in the rugged Canadian frontier in Alberta.
Despite being unprepared for the many hardships she faces in her new life, Elizabeth is determined to make the best of it. She forms a friendship with Wynn, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and their relationship blossoms amidst various challenges.
When Calls the Heart depicts Elizabeth’s growth as she bonds with the children she teaches and learns to navigate social situations and the wilderness while falling in love.
10. The Wedding Knot by Patricia Roy, 1999
In the historical romance, The Wedding Knot by Patricia Roy, heroine Meg Reilly is on the run from her past life, looking for a fresh start. At 29, she has failed at everything from school teaching to working in a brothel (and was unsuccessful in both fields!). To escape from it all, she hides in a Canadian Mountie’s canoe, hoping new surroundings will give her a fresh lease on life. That’s when she teams up with Robert Hamilton, a young Mountie who is on a reluctant frontier adventure arranged by his wealthy uncle.
In the wild west of the Canadian Rockies, Meg and Robert encounter a variety of challenges, including prairie fires and lawlessness. While navigating perilous landscapes and undertaking daring escapades, their journey takes an unexpected turn as they fall in love.
This entertaining romance is marked with humor, and Meg proves herself a daring and courageous heroine.
Our Final Thoughts About These Canadian Romances
All of these books tell riveting stories set in Canada. The landscapes, places, or communities in which they take place provide a unique flavor to each romance.
The authors show how two people can come together despite personal differences and the various obstacles they must overcome against the backdrop of the Great White North’s diverse settings.
These ten romances set in Canada capture the poignancy and heartache of finding love in a turbulent, wild world. Whether set in rural communities or metropolitan cities, these books embody the romanticism, hope, and adventure that is uniquely Canadian.