Crossing Canada By Train: Part One

I’m on the longest train ride of my life. Not metaphorically, in fact it’s going by quite quickly. But at two and half days, this is the greatest amount of time I have spent on a train, bus or in a car for that matter, even beating out a two day train I took from China to Tibet.

The destination is Edmonton, Alberta in the great Canadian west. I’ve never seen the prairies of my country so with the choice to fly or take the train I opted for the latter. Leaving twice a week from Toronto, Via Rail Canada’s flagship route, ‘The Canadian’, takes passengers from the big smoke around the Great Lakes to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Edmonton Alberta and ending in Vancouver, British Colombia with more tiny town stops then you can begin to remember.

The ticket, which after the massive discount through Via’s Express Deals cost a mere $163, gets you a reclining seat in economy class. While it is not the most comfortable for sleeping, I have to remind myself how cheap the seat was in comparison to the usual price. Without the deal, I would have paid nearly $600 for the same ticket – one way!

With the sun ducking behind the trees, we’ve wrapped up our first full day on the train and prepping for our second night. We are nearly halfway done our journey and are still in Ontario! I never realized how insanely big the province I live in actually is. Of the 2 1/2 day trip from Toronto to Edmonton, crossing 4 provinces, over half is spent in Ontario.

Up to now we have constantly been surrounded by trees. Creating a sort of tunnel for the train, the tracks wind their way through the forests and then out of nowhere there is a break in the bush and you spot a beautiful, sparkling lake. You almost have to wonder if anyone has ever stepped foot in these woods or explored these waters.

The best seat on the train is in the observation car where a glass bubble allows you to sit and marvel at the nature around you.

In the morning we arrive in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a three hour rest stop. Not only will we get to stretch our legs and get some fresh air but we will have enough time to explore the city.

Have you ever taken a train in Canada? Where’d you go?

16 thoughts on “Crossing Canada By Train: Part One”

  1. Apparently I took the the train in Canada when I was 2 with my parents to visit family, sadly I don’t remember any of it. I have always wanted to do a train trip across Canada, and $163 for a ticket from Toronto to Edmonton is an amazing deal. If I only wasn’t in school.

    I’m actually from Edmonton, so if you need suggestions on things to see/do I’d be glad to offer some up.

  2. How exciting!! I think train travel across Canada is such a great idea – cost effective (after the deals) and beautiful?! I have to leave my Chevy Cruze behind in Vancouver at the end of my Roadtrip with Reason ….. the train is a strong contender to find my way home. Have fun, Brock 🙂

  3. Took the train from Ottawa to Toronto recently and often times in the past from Ottawa to Montreal and once by accident Montreal -> Toronto Express by accident. Love the train, really enjoyable.

  4. I highly enjoyed my trip on Via Rail. I took it at the very beginning of my own trip from Saskatoon to Toronto(then onto Ottawa on a separate train). I think I paid about $225 for my ticket. Still a steal when you compare it to the normal price.

    I took it in the winter so I got the beauty of the woods and lakes you saw added with the pureness of the white snow. It was breathtaking to watch from the dome car. Just miles upon miles of pristine forest. I would love to head West next time and take it through the Rockies. I’ve heard that that is absolutely gorgeous.

    Post a photo from Saskatoon in the next part! I miss my home town.

  5. Hi Brock! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the first leg of your trip on board the Canadian! And you scored quite a deal, too! 🙂 Can’t wait to read about the rest of your adventure!

    Richard M., Community Manager
    VIA Rail Canada

  6. I took the train from Vancouver to Jasper with a overnight stay in Kamloops ( I believe), so the train only traveled during daylight hours. Going through the mountains, seeing all the bridal veil falls, mountain views and pristine giant forests was incredible.

  7. @Alouise – Thanks for the suggestions offer, although I am back already. I will be back someday so feel free to send any my way!

  8. @Becky – Yes! Check out the express deals on the via site. So worth it! It would cost about $210 from Vancouver to Toronto in a seat.

  9. @Rob – Yep! Love train rides also. I need to do a small route like you’ve done to see what those coaches are like.

  10. @Corey – I was thinking it would be so incredible to take the same journey in the wintertime and see everything covered in snow. We didn’t stop in Saskatoon (while I was awake at least) but I’ll see what i can do.

  11. @Teresa – I really wish I had taken the train through the mountains – but, I guess I’ll save that one for next time. Thanks for the comment!

  12. Hello Brock;
    I just found you via your videos on Vimeo and have spent the entire afternoon (whilst home sick with a cold) vicariously enjoying your trip around the world. Some of your videos took me right back to places I’ve already been, and others were a great preview for a trip I’m planning to make later this year to Asia.
    I totally enjoyed your sense of humour, adventure and joi de vivre. You’re an original! And I mean that in the nicest way possible.
    If you’re ever in Vancouver I’d love to show you round.

  13. @Mairi – Thank you so much for the incredible feedback and spending your afternoon with me. Hope you got some tips and suggestions for where you are headed to next. Always wonderful to receive kind and supportive words like yours. Thank you again.

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