Children have long loved toy trains that run on wooden tracks, stories about fast trains/slow trains/adventure trains. So what could be better than a ride on a real train? Via Rail is the passenger train in Canada and its first transcontinental train travelled between Montréal and Vancouver in 1978. (Train travel in Canada started much earlier than that but it was not called Via Rail; the railway joined east and west Canada in 1885.)
My first train trip was from Ottawa to Vancouver. It was a very long and interesting trip. Can you imagine spending three days and four nights on a train? But that trip is very famous because the landscape changes so much. Here’s a look at all the places the train passes through. If you pay a little more for your ticket you can sleep in a bed at night in what is called a “sleeper”, which is a nice break from your seat.
Short trips can be perfect for kids though, like the ones from Ottawa to Montreal or Toronto. The train stops right downtown in both destinations, close to the metro/subway. From Toronto’ Union Station you can just stroll along the enclosed skywalk to Ripley’s Aquarium and the CN Tower. Now how special is that!
Via Rail is always thinking up ways to make the trip better. At one time they even gave passengers travel credits if the train didn’t arrive on time. What I like best is that the seats aren’t cramped like they are on an airplane. And I love that there is free Wi-Fi on the routes that I travel. When I take my grandkids, who are between the ages of 2 and 11, I only pay half the fare for them. And if I’m lucky I travel when there is a special deal on.
The train trip that’s on my bucket list is the one from Winnipeg to Churchill. That trip is 1,700 km long and will take two days. When I arrive I’ll be in the subarctic and will be able to see polar bears in the wild and up close. Hard to beat that!
By Sylvia Fanjoy
Photo credit: Darlene Burke
© Riding the buses™ 2016