Travel: Train Travel in Canada with VIA Rail

June 26, 2013 Katja Presnal

Canada by train
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I didn’t quite travel across Canada, but I got a good taste of Canadian railways and train traveling with VIA Rail on my recent trip to Canada. I flew to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the East Coast Canada and participated in a ten-day-long trip organized by the Canadian Tourism Commission and Via Rail that ended in Toronto, Ontario right on time for TBEX travel blogging conference.

VIARail Canada train

During the trip we visited Halifax and small idyllic towns of Nova Scotia, we took a train to Montcon, New Brunswick and experienced the high and low tides of the Bay of Fundy, and continued our trip to Montreal, Quebec, on a 17-hour-long overnight train ride, and from Montreal to finalized our journey in Toronto a few days later.

Halifax, Nova Scotia train station

There is something nostalgic about train travel, even in just getting your ticket at the train station and showing it to the conductor on board. Not to mention the train whistle sounds much more impressive than the whoop-sound you hear when they close down the airplane door. The trains I had taken before (in Europe) didn’t offer luggage service (that I knew of), and it had always been a hassle to carry my suitcase through the train. With VIA Rail train you can check up to two bags up to 50 pounds each. This made the train travel much easier.

via-rail-ready-to-board

We had sleeper class cabins that remind a little bit of small cruise ship/ferry cabins with sofabed and a bunk bed above it. The cabins had small bathrooms and each car had an attendant helping with any questions we had. The size of these cabins was a pleasant surprise, and I have to admit on our longest haul, I did sleep in the train very well.

via ral biz class cabin

The trains have a sit-in-restaurant with a few meal options in the menu. You can read a typical menu below in the picture, but it changes a little bit depending the route.

via-rail-menu

The food is pretty much like your typical airplane food, but the restaurant sitting area and the tables are nice, and it was nice to sit down with friends and eat dinner/lunch together as looking at the scenery from the window.

eating in the train

Another nice feature is the dome – the last car in the train was a dome car with seats and windows made for scenic viewing and enjoying the ride. On the evenings they even had musical performances in the dome car. We enjoyed the tunes from a Nova Scotia-local singer Morgan MacDonald.

Traveling via train has it’s perks, and while arriving fast isn’t one of them, Via Rail proved again for me to always keep rail-travel in mind, especially when we are talking about picturesque destinations like Canada.

Learn more about VIA Rail Canada on their website.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live globally inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (7)

  1. How amazing?? I would love to spend a week seeing different places by train. Sounds romantic and kind of nostalgic of times past. Great photos.

  2. I have only taken the train once, while I was in high school. We sat up top and got in trouble because they were the expensive seats. So my friend and I were going to move, until the conductor came out to say hello and told us to stay and enjoy the ride (there was only 2 others up top).

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      It was a great trip and I highly recommend giving trains a try :)

  3. Those are some fancy looking trains in Canada. I’m glad to see Canada’s rails are well-connected. In the US we definitely have trains, but they are not always so efficient for us. Thanks for sharing, hope you enjoyed the conference!

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      Thanks Andy, TBEX was awesome! Yes, I had no idea that you could go across the Canada by train, I wish they had nice trains like that in the US as well. Of course faster trains would be even better like in Europe, but there was something very nostalgic about these VIA Rail trains and it was great to experience.

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