Canada is an incredibly diverse country thanks to its geography, natural wonders, and size (it’s the second-largest country in the world!)
While its bustling cities and lively metropolises are certainly interesting, the main treasure of Canada is its jaw-dropping nature.
The country has numerous national parks teeming with rich flora and fauna, picturesque landscapes, and unspoiled nature. In such a vast territory, many visitors prefer to travel by train.
Of course, there are plenty of benefits as well: travelers don’t need to wear themselves out behind the wheel, the trains are modern and convenient, and passengers can enjoy the changing nature outside their window while traveling to their next destination.
Those interested in learning more about traveling to Canada by train should keep reading, as this article will go in-depth about booking tickets when to travel, what to see, and much more. The travelers from eligible countries need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board their flight to Canada.
Canada’s Major Railway Company
Some travelers might be surprised that there is only one “main” rail operator in Canada: Via Rail. While there are some freight transportation and commuter train services, Via Rail is the principal company that operates intercity services across Canada.
In fact, Via Rail operates around 500 trains per week and has a yearly ridership of nearly 5 million passengers. Tickets to all destinations can be bought on the company’s official website, which makes travel planning even more convenient.
The Best Time to Travel Canada By Train
Travelers who can choose when to travel to Canada should definitely plan their trip to happen in winter.
Winter is by far the best time to take a train ride across the country, as the landscapes are incredibly picturesque: think forests sprinkled with snow, warm train cabins with delicious holiday-themed goodies, and the option to stop in a cabin or other cozy accommodation between journeys. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Another benefit to traveling in winter is that tickets are generally cheaper due to the low season. There are no crowds of tourists, which makes the trip more comfortable, budget-friendly, and enjoyable.
Food & Drinks on Canadian Trains
When traveling across Canada by train, passengers won’t run into any problems with food or drinks. That’s because the trains are equipped with ‘restaurant wagons’ that serve up delicious dishes throughout the day!
For each meal, passengers can choose from a variety of appetizers, soups, main dishes, salads, and even desserts.
The Most Popular Train Route in Canada
Travelers who want to see as many beautiful places and cities as possible during their vacation should take a look into one of Canada’s most popular train routes: the Classic Canada Coast to Coast!
The journey starts on Canada’s east coast (more specifically, in the city of Halifax!) and ends in Vancouver. The entire trip takes between 5 to 6 days for passengers who don’t plan to stay in accommodations, or about 15 to 18 days for those who want to break up their trip with a few overnight stays in major cities.
While traveling along the Classic Canada Coast to Coast route, travelers will see amazing cities such as Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Ontario (which is located near the famous Niagara Falls!), and, of course, Vancouver. Travelers will also be dazzled by the many landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, as well as quaint towns, forested coasts, and stunning inland plains.
The Best Routes on Canadian Trains
In addition to the famous Classic Canada Coast to Coast route, there are many other destinations. Be sure to consider a few of these options for your itinerary as well:
Winnipeg to Churchill Train
The Winnipeg to Churchill route is one of the most scenic routes that will show you all the beauties of the Canadian tundra.
During the trip, passengers will have the chance to see polar bears and endless snow-covered views. During the autumn/winter season (November to March), it may even be possible to see the Northern Lights, which often appear over the city of Churchill!
The northern train leaves Winnipeg at 12:05 pm on Tuesdays and Sundays and arrives in Churchill two days later.
Ontario Polar Bear Express
This is a great route for travelers who want to see the snowy expanses and experience life in the north. The trip starts in Cochrane and ends in Musoni, or, as it is sometimes called, The Gateway to the Arctic.
The route operates five days per week, with additional trains during the summer months.
The Rocky Mountaineer
The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the most popular trains in Canada, and on these routes, travelers can admire the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies.
There are 6 main routes, with each showing unique locations but the most popular of these is the First Pass West, a journey from Banff to Vancouver through the scenic Fraser Canyon.