In its 2017 “Best List: 16 Scenic Train Trips”, National Geographic Traveler magazine highlights Via Rail’s The Canadian. Writer Everett Potter had this to say about it:
“After three decades of riding trains all over the world – rural China, the Swiss Alps, Latin American Jungles – I am still thrilled by a classic rail journey. Take The Canadian, where passengers can spend three days watching the countryside scenery from Toronto to Vancouver via dome cars. From the wheat fields to the jagged Rockies to the thickly forested Coast Mountains, it’s one of the world’s most amazing routes”.
I cannot argue with Potter’s excitement.
In December, I completed my third annual trip on The Canadian, embarking as usual on a blustery, cold afternoon at Winnipeg’s imposing Union Station and exiting on a slightly warmer morning at Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station. Continue reading
Time on the Canadian is immaterial. Its measurement is by breakfast, lunch, dinner, sleeping, watching the world pass by from the observation deck. “What day is this?” is a common refrain. Continue reading
Putting aside the existential train schedule, the Canadian is one of the best train experiences I have had. The food, served on white linen tablecloths with real china, has been excellent. Today's brunch was a tasty ravioli with lobster in a cream sauce. Dinner, a well-prepared rack of lamb. Even the shower – there's one in each sleeper car – is clean and well laid out. Plush white towels along with a bar of soap and shampoo are provided for each passenger at the start of trip.
Why have I not done this before?
I love trains. Gail and I have had some wonderful adventures on the rails. We have been on the TGV fast trains in France, on Spain's classy train, the challenging Trans-Sberian from Moscow to Bejing and, just this fall, the ultra-fast bullet trains of Japan.
But our very own Canadian trains? Not since a mid-1970's trip from Winnipeg to Toronto. Time to correct that. Continue reading