A Grand Rail Adventure: Canada From Coast To Coast

Operated by VIA Rail, The Canadian is a trans-continental train linking Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper & Vancouver twice a week all year round

When it comes to exploring the incredible vastness of Canada, few experiences can match the allure of an epic rail journey where you have a window overlooking its ever-changing landscapes. As a nation that stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic, a multi-day ride across the tracks allows you to go at a relaxing pace and fully experience the grandeur of the second largest country in the world.

Offering more than just spellbinding views, with Frontier Canada acting as your concierge, your holiday will include everything from the rugged beauty of the western provinces and the great outdoors to the rich cultural heritage and coastal charm of eastern Canada. In fact, the possibilities and discoveries awaiting you on your holiday are almost limitless.

The Iconic “Canadian” Train By VIA Rail: One Of The Great Train Journeys Of The World

With The Canadian VIA Rail train passing mountains, lakes, forests and cities, the grandeur of Canada unfurls second by second before your eyes

The following post is a grand expedition split into two parts. We begin with the iconic “Canadian” train by VIA Rail, the ride taking you on an unforgettable adventure between Vancouver and Toronto.

A transcontinental odyssey, this 4-day trip takes you through the heart of the country, unveiling the majesty of the Canadian Rockies, the vast prairies, and the rugged wilderness of the Canadian Shield. All the way from the stunning coastal “City of Glass,” to the vibrant streets of “The Queen City,” it is a remarkable journey offering a front-row seat to some of the nation’s most iconic vistas.

“The Ocean ” VIA train: Quebec To The Maritimes

While not always operating on the same line, The Ocean Train, operated by VIA Rail, is one of the longest-running, continually operational passenger trains in North America

As we are looking to make our way across the full breadth of Canada, our adventure doesn’t end there. We will continue our journey eastward aboard “The Ocean” train through the provinces of Québec and the Maritime regions.

This legendary rail route, also operated by VIA Rail, connects the cosmopolitan city of Montréal with the charming coastal towns of the Atlantic provinces. Imagine gazing out at the rolling hills of Québec, where French Canadian culture thrives, and then being whisked away along the St. Lawrence River. All of this is a prelude to another splendid day of sightseeing as you awaken to waterside views and charming towns, with the train chugging its way through the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The Bay of Fundy’s impressive tidal range is a sight to behold and the phenomenon makes the Hopewell Rocks a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts in New Brunswick

When you disembark in cities like Halifax or Moncton, you’ll be greeted by the salty air and the warm hospitality that define the maritime way of life. From indulging in fresh seafood to exploring historic lighthouses and coastal trails, this region offers a distinct charm that is the perfect contrast to the Western Canada.

Canadian Train by VIA Rail: “The Great Canadian Voyage”

Make the most of the scenery and head to the Prestige Park Car—choose from the upstairs dome section or the downstairs bullet lounge, as both areas have large windows and comfortable seats

Imagine embarking on an unforgettable passage across Canada, where the country’s diverse landscapes unfold before your eyes through the panoramic windows of a train. Welcome to The Canadian, this 4-day adventure covering 2,800 miles and taking you from Vancouver, where the towering coastal mountains meet the glistening waters of the Pacific Ocean, to the vibrant streets of Toronto.

Explore Five Provinces By Rail

As you bid farewell to your urban oasis, the sleek 50s-era VIA Rail train will take you on a captivating trek along the tracks through Canada’s heartland. A journey of deep discovery, all the while the train’s storytelling crew will regale you with tales of the region’s rich history and culture.

Wildlife are often encountered alongside the track—here The Canadian is pictured in Jasper, Alberta, home to Jasper National Park, a UNESCO’s World Heritage site ©Jeffrey Dungen

As the carriage ventures eastward, you’ll pass by the vast prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where endless horizons and wide-open spaces stretch as far as the eye can see.

Gradually, the landscape will transform once again, revealing the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield and the expansive lakes and lush forests of Ontario, with the train taking the same route as the early settlers.

Finally, your epic rail odyssey will culminate in the dynamic metropolis of Toronto, known for its world-class cuisine, cultural attractions, and vibrant neighbourhoods.

Prestige and Sleeper Plus class passengers of The Canadian enjoy lavish meals in the dedicated dining car

Our tip: if you are planning to travel aboard The Canadian non-stop between Vancouver and Toronto, for your own comfort, we would recommend opting for the Sleeper Plus fare or Prestige class. This will give you access to a bed, shower, and meals so you arrive well-rested once you reach your final destination. There is also a special accessible cabin on every train that is designed to accommodate wheelchair users.

The Great Ocean Adventure: Quebec & The Maritimes By Rail

Harking back to the golden age of train travel, jump aboard The Ocean Train—operated by VIA Rail, this historic Montreal to Halifax train started out as The Ocean Limited back in 1904

Embark on an enchanting journey through the heart of eastern Canada aboard VIA Rail’s iconic Ocean Train, the oldest continuously operated passenger train in North America. This overnight rail adventure departs from the cosmopolitan streets of Montreal, winding through the pastoral landscapes of Quebec’s South Shore before meeting with the lush valleys and coastal vistas found in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Once you reach the Atlantic Coast, prepare to be spellbound by the ever-changing scenery unfolding beyond the wide windows, including quaint rural towns, rugged shorelines, and picturesque fishing villages.

Hear The Call Of The Ocean

As the Ocean train makes its way eastward from “The City of Saints,” towering skyscrapers quickly give way to charming riverside towns dotting the St. Lawrence where dinner is served. Keep your eyes peeled for the unique Monteregian Hills along this stretch, as these distinctive land formations pop out against the flat valley landscape.

A window to paradise, there’s nothing quite like beholding Chaleur Bay’s breathtaking serenity from the Ocean Train, one of the prettiest spots in New Brunswick ©VIA Rail/@amauryevra

After Quebec, the train barrels through New Brunswick in the early morning, skirting the scenic Matapédia River and rounding breathtaking Chaleur Bay, one of the few places where you can still spot right whales. Once you cross into Nova Scotia, prepare for coastal views galore. Historic lighthouses, weathered fishing shacks, and bobbing boats in small harbours become familiar sights.

We would advise you to alight in Moncton, the train’s final stop in the Picture Province, to enjoy this outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. With its proximity to the ocean and woodlands, Canada’s “Hub City” is the ideal destination for a spot of kayaking, hiking, or birdwatching. It’s also within easy reach of Shediac, known as the “Lobster Capital of the World,” Parlee Beach Provincial Park, which boasts the warmest saltwater north of Virginia, and the famous Bay of Fundy, home to the Hopewell Rocks and the world’s highest tides.

Known as the “Lobster Capital of the World, Shediac is the perfect place to explore the culinary side of New Brunswick, the town also home to the famous Parlee Beach ©New Brunswick Tourism

Around 20 hours after leaving Montreal, you’ll finally pull into Halifax’s downtown station. Along the way, the Ocean train passes right through the heart of 28 different communities, allowing you to sample authentic eastern Canadian life from the interior all the way to the shoreline.

Whether you opt for Economy Class or the luxurious Sleeper Plus, the experience is one of laid-back comfort and maritime hospitality. The latter offers the ultimate in rail travel indulgence, with cosy private cabins complete with a private washroom and shower, all meals, access to a dedicated dining car and lounge, and the chance to listen to informal presentations on the region’s history and culture.

Comfort and convenience: relax in style with Sleeper Plus accommodations, with private bathrooms for a more restful journey along with meals and exclusive access to the train’s lounges

As your well-versed travel concierge, our expertise ensures Canada is always showcased at its finest, so don’t hesitate to talk to our specialists. From your desired form of travel to your preferred outdoor activities and your optimum level of luxury, we will ensure your trip is personally tailored to you. At Frontier Canada, it’s personal.

For more information and to book, call us on 020 8776 8709 or email us at Canada@frontier-travel.co.uk. ATOL PROTECTED No 5405 ABTA W3207.