VIA Rail is, for the most part, a train service that transports passengers from A to B and makes a twin-city Canadian escape more logistically friendly. But within the collection of 19 VIA Rail routes is the remarkable Canadian itinerary: a 4 night train journey from Toronto to Vancouver that passes through the charming prairies of mid-Canada and the handsome folds of the Rocky Mountains.
On board, creature comforts consist of more than just a seat and snack trolley. You can choose between Prestige, Sleeper Plus and Economy Class, all of which have access to the breath-taking Skyline Car with domed windows. Light meals, snacks, hot and cold refreshments and alcoholic beverages are available to purchase, and passengers in Sleeper Plus and Prestige have access to the dining cart with all meals and non-alcoholic drinks already paid for.
But the true elegance is the landscape that will mesmerise you as you gaze out of the window. Below are the 9 stops you’ll glide through on your trip and the views your visual taste buds will be treated to. You can also finish your journey at any point and don’t have to book yourself a seat for all 9 stops.
Is there any better pre-itinerary holiday than Toronto? This modern metropolitan is a mash-up of culture, art, food and an unforgettable skyline that peeps over the horizon.
2. Sudbury Junction
Out of all the cities on this list Sudbury probably needs the biggest introduction, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have anything to offer a passing tourist. It is actually Northern Ontario’s biggest city and its many forests, lakes and rocky hills, makes it a popular destination with outdoor enthusiasts.
3. Sioux Lookout
Sioux Lookout inherited its name from a local mountain that was used as a look-out by the First Nations. The spring and summer are particularly popular with holidaymakers who are seeking first-class outdoor activities, such as fishing in the Lac Seul and Minnitaki Lake.
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of the province of Manitoba in Canada. The skyline is dominated by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights while Downtown Winnipeg’s Exchange District includes North America’s most extensive collection of early 20th-century terracotta and cut stone architecture.
As you glide into Saskatchewan’s largest city, you’ll be treated to scenic views of the South Saskatchewan River and the surrounding prairies. The name of the city is actually derived from a native word for a berry that grows along the river called missaskquahtoomina.
The next part of this itinerary takes you up towards to Edmonton – a city that sits on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Alberta’s capital is a cultural favourite with plenty to see and do – for inspiration, read our previous blog on How to Spend an Evening in Edmonton.
Jasper is the darling of the Canadian Rockies and one of two stops with this iconic mountain range. On the outskirts of the town, the peaks of Pyramid Mountain, Mount Colin and Mount Edith Cavell all stand proud as passengers awe at them from the domed windows.
The first stop in British Columbia, Kamloops offers a smaller city experience than the final destination of this train journey. Wedged between North and South Thompson rivers, the borders are home to beautiful natural scenery that is popular with hikers and skiers – as well as cougars and bears.
Just like your journey’s starting point: Vancouver is as equally enthralling and makes for a relaxing post-trip city break. Here you can wander along the Pacific-facing waterfront, admire the Victorian architecture, eat delicious dim sum in Chinatown, climb Grouse Mountain (or take the Skyride) and take a day trip to Vancouver Island.