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“The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver” 5 of 5 stars
Review of VIA Rail Canada

VIA Rail Canada
514 871-6000
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Ranked #1,799 of 6,856 Activities in Canada
Type: Scenic Railroads, Sightseeing Tours
Attraction details
Top Contributor
178 reviews 178 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
“The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012 via mobile

One of the best experiences of all my travels! Three days to cross most of Canada by rail in a first class sleeper car took me through some great scenery. Meals were excellent without exception and the live entertainment was a very nice surprise. Service is excellent. Rolling across the prairies at sunset was amazing.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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607 reviews from our community

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Kingwood, Texas
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“A once in a lifetime experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2012

After visiting Canada many times by car, RV, and cruise ship, we decided to go Trans Canada from Vancouver to Halifax by way of Via Rail. If you like trains, this is a wonderful way to see the country. We used a Canadian tour company, John Steel Rail Tours, to plan our trip and make all arrangements. They are wonderful. The real highlight was on the Canadian between Vancouver and Toronto. We made reservations way in advance and got the "drawing room" cabin on the train in the Park Car. This is designed for 3 people, but with only 2 nobody has to climb up into a bunk. It was wonderful. We had a much smaller sleeper from Montreal to Halifax, but it was only one night and was still comfortable. The food was good, the service by the train crews were great, and the scenery was to die for. Put this on your bucket list.

Visited April 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Great Way to Travel!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2012

Travel, sleep, dine, and enjoy the spectacular vistas of our vast country, all at the same time...
My husband and I took a round trip from Winnipeg to Toronto in the fall, a beautiful time to enjoy nature. We expected good service, from dining to our sleeping accommodations. And it WAS excellent! The bonus was all the extras - champagne / hors d'ouvres sendoff in the dome car, wine tasting, games / quizzes, a late night sing along... and so much more. And the ever changing view from the dome and dining cars was like turning pages on a Tom Thomson or Group of Seven calendar. On our first dinner out in Toronto, I found myself expecting the scene out the window to change... not!
A wonderful way to travel... restful, entertaining, great dining, and you meet all kinds of interesting people from all over the world... highly recommend it. Go to the VIA Rail website and check out their specials, of which there are many - makes it quite a bit more affordable. Enjoy the trip!

Visited October 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“A relaxing way to travel!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2012

During February-March 2012 I had the pleasure of undertaking a VIA Rail holiday from Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal - Quebec City (business class). I can highly recommend this class of travel from its preferential boarding, Panorama lounge access through to nice hot meals and appertifs. For the small premium paid over economy class, consider upgrading and sit back and relax in your comfortable reclining seats. The travel times are very civilised as well.

Visited February 2012
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“A recommended travel experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2012

This trip should be on your travel list.These types of rail journeys are a chance to really see a country. I've traveled on VIA's The Canadian four times. Having done coach and sleeper class I can say that coach was more livable than I expected but I think the best value/comfort for the money is a berth in sleeper class. Time of year can matter a lot in prices of tickets and it will be more expensive than flying but worth the experience. Students get discounts, as do seniors, and VIA does have special rates sometimes otherwise.

Coach seating is very much like business class airline seats only with more leg room. If you can sleep in the reclined position it is quite workable as an option. I brought some food myself and the stop in Jasper usually allows time to run down the road to a grocery store. You can buy basic food in coach class on the train. Both coach and sleeper class have their own domed observation cars.

A berth in sleeper class will have you living in a hallway at the end of the carriage during the day. (unless both upper and lower travelers are agreeable to trying to convince staff to not convert their sleeping space back to bench seating...which I have done and liked better) But you will still get meals included and access to a shower. The food in sleeper class is quite good, albeit breakfast is on the more basic side.The single roomettes are super small and only worth the extra money if you prefer the privacy. I haven't stayed in a double room yet.

I've seen wolves, elk, and lots of bird life from the train. In summer the isolated teal colored lakes of the Rockies are awesome. In winter the landscape is more to my liking and the train is far less crowded. When the fare rates kick over in the fall the first trains leaving can be hugely populated, so when you choose to travel does carry with it dynamics to take into consideration. Having three sittings for dinner on crowded trains does sometimes mean they may run out of choices for the last group. If you go in winter you need to be aware that some of the stops and destinations may have sub zero temperatures and you should have appropriate clothing with you. A sweater or cotton hoody won't make it if you want to wander around for an hour in -30.

I've found train staff to be far friendlier than on Amtrak in the States and the trains are visibly nicer. Please note that trying to sleep on a train going 80 mph across the prairies at night is no simple matter for some of us. So, you may have less than the best sleep you have ever had but that does not subtract from the overall experience. Note that in some places where the train is scheduled to arrive in the middle of the night some local bed and breakfasts may refuse to book you as a guest. The only rail trip I liked more than The Canadian was the trip across Australia from Sydney to Perth. I didn't want to get off the train at the end of that one. But taking the train between Toronto and Vancouver is one of the better things I have done with my travel resources and it should be highly recommended.

Visited October 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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