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  • Writer's pictureKrista Tovell

Explore Canada by Rail Travel

As Canadians, we often travel abroad and forget that Canada is rich in historical and cultural history and that there are plenty of ways to explore our own back yard. Traveling by Rail is a comfortable, luxurious, and relaxing and it’s a great way to see all that Canada has to offer. Leave your car at home and hop aboard for an unforgettable journey.

Experience Canada onboard VIA Rail

The Canadian departs Toronto and makes a 4,466 kilometre, four-day, four-night journey to Vancouver. With short stops in Sioux Lookout, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Jasper and eventually Vancouver, this option provides travellers looking to see the country’s vastness as you leave city centres behind and travel through the gentle prairie fields, rugged lake country, and small picturesque towns of the majestic Rockies. With a choice between cabins or seating, we highly recommend the sleeper cabins for ultimate comfort and enjoyment and indulging in the meal packages rather than the à la carte options. Cabins are available for singles or doubles. For families or larger rooms, space is limited. Be sure to book early.

Dining offered onboard will have your mouth watering and your belly full! The food is exquisite and not to be missed. With 3 meals per day and snacks in between, you are sure to always be full.

With scheduled activities offered onboard such as music, games, and movies, and the Park Car and Dome Lounge Car available at any hour of the day, the days fly by. Upon arrival in to your destination, you will be left with full appreciation of our vast country and the longing to see more.

VIA Rails service between Vancouver and Edmonton is an experience that takes travellers through from Vancouver through Kamloops and Jasper before completing its journey in Edmonton. The 31 hour Via Rail Service is timed so your experience through the Rockies is during the day-light hours, allowing you to experience the small quaint town of Jasper on one of your stops and leaving you with spectacular views of the mountains, valleys and lakes as you travel through the Rocky Mountains.

As the train operates overnight, Sleeper Plus class will provide access to Skyline and Panorama cars, all meals and non-alcoholic beverages included (economy class has a paid option for all meals, snacks and drinks) and lounge access in Vancouver prior to boarding. Economy class with regular seating is also available.

To learn more about VIA Rail, please see the below informational brochure with full details of the rail routes, meals, and accommodations.

Via Rail Info Brochure
Download PDF • 5.44MB

Experience the Majestic Rockies with the Rocky Mountaineer

The Rocky Mountaineer operates is an all-daylight luxurious tour by rail which means taking time to visually explore the destinations you’re passing through. The train will glide over the rails at a reduced speed and will slow to a crawl allowing for “Kodak” moments throughout your journey. Rocky Mountaineer offers 3 main rail itineraries in Canada with two levels of service on each.

In Silverleaf service travellers have panoramic views from their single-level dome car, access to a small open air vestibule where the windows drop down to allow for pictures and fresh air and spectacular food that is served seat side and reflects the regions the train travels through.

GoldLeaf travellers will experience a bi-level dome car which give the traveler a full 360-degree view of the vast and beautiful mountains and valleys. The gourmet a la carte meals are made fresh onboard by a chef and are served in the lower dining car. Guests have access to an outdoor open air viewing platform for fresh air and is a photographers’ dream when it comes to the incredible and notorious corner shots. While accommodations booked suit the level of service you have confirmed, all guests stay in similar style hotels in Kamloops to overnight before enjoying a second day onboard the all daylight journey.

With four routes to choose from, we suggest travellers consider what type of landscape they prefer to see en route.

(Photo Credit: Rocky Mountaineer Vacations)

First Passage to the West

The First Passage to the West the only passenger rail service that operates on this historic rail route. If you enjoy history, this is the route for you! This itinerary departs Vancouver and travels through to Banff or Lake Louise (or reverse). This is the most popular route with highlights being Hell’s Gate, Cisco Crossing. Craigellachie, the Spiral Tunnels, Castle Mountain and Mount Rundell. This itinerary is best experienced with a minimum 7 day itinerary allowing you to experience all of what Western Canada has to offer, including Calgary, Banff National Park and Lake Louise.

Journey through the Clouds

Journey through the Clouds is perfect for nature lovers wanting full scenic and panoramic views of mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers. This itinerary departs Vancouver and travels through to Jasper (or reverse) and highlights Hell’s Gate, Cisco Crossing, Pyramid Falls, Yellowhead Pass, Moose Lake and the famous Mount Robson, the most prominent and highest in the Canadian Rockies. This is another itinerary that deserves no less than 7 days and allows guests to take in Vancouver, Jasper, Banff and Lake Louse.

Rainforest to Gold Rush

The Rainforest to Gold Rush itinerary will take you from the world’s largest temperate rainforest to a desert to the untamed wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. This rail journey offers some of the most varied and stunning scenery found anywhere in the world offered by rail. This journey, unlike the others, is 3 days and begins in Vancouver and includes an overnight in both Whistler and Quesnel. The Rain Forest to Gold Rush itinerary is perfect for adventure seekers who want to explore Whistler and Jasper and those that want more time on the train. Some of the highlights include Howe Sound and the Coastal Mountain, Brandywine Falls, Cheakamus Canyon, glacier fed Selton Lake, the crossing of Deep Creek Bridge, and spectacular views of the iconic Mount Robson. This itinerary pairs well with pre and post nights on either end of your journey as well as extend itineraries to explore both Jasper National Park and Banff National Park as well as Lake Louse and Calgary.

(Photo Credit: Rocky Mountaineer)

All of the Rocky Mountaineer experiences begin with a 2 day rail experience, however, can be paired with pre or post night accommodation, full 7-10 day itineraries, additional tours in destination or an Alaskan cruise. These itineraries are also fantastic as a full circle-trip, allowing you to start and end your rail journey in Vancouver and experience all 3 of the rail routes that Rocky Mountaineer has to offer.

If you are ready to start exploring Canada by rail, contact Krista at Tovell Travel to start planning your train travels today!


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