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12 May 2023

Summer Travel Inspiration: Canadian Rail Journeys

Journey through some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery on a Canadian train trip. Rail travel offers a unique opportunity to connect with the country’s natural beauty in a way that few other modes of transportation can match.

From the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies to the serene Atlantic coast, each rail journey offers a distinct and unforgettable experience, providing a window into the rich history and culture of Canada.

We love packaging rail excursions with immersive itineraries along the route. Below are a few ideas on how to incorporate a rail journey into your summer plans, but feel free to reach out to us for more information or to plan a custom trip.

“There really is no better way to travel the country than by rail. It is slow travel with exeptional service and breathtaking scenery,” says Vanessa O’Brien, Landsby’s Canadian Travel and Rail Expert. “There are always surprises from one bend to the next, whether it be seeing wildlife or a beautiful waterfall cascading down a mountain. These are memories that are everlasting and make rail journeys so spectacular.”

Looking for a unique day trip? Add one of these exciting excursions to your getaway:

Short day trips by rail can be a wonderful way to see the sights and don’t require a multi-day commitment.

Agawa Train

Go deep into Northern Ontario on the 10-hour Agawa Canyon Tour Train. Leaving Sault Ste. Marie, you’ll head into terrain that cannot be reached by car. Crossing towering trestles, skirting the shores of northern lakes and rivers and chugging through the forests of the Canadian Shield. The train descends 500 feet into the Agawa Canyon, which was created 1.2 billion years ago by faulting and reshaped by the last ice age.

White Pass Yukon Train

Photo c/o Government of Yukon

Traverse the historic White Pass rail route on a one day excursion from Whitehorse. You’ll travel by motor coach along the scenic South Klondike Highway to Fraser, BC where you will connect with the narrow gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railway for a 45-kilometre excursion through the mountains. The train descends over the White Pass Summit and into Skagway, Alaska. You’ll enjoy a two-over layover in Skagway for lunch before returning to Whitehorse by bus on a scenic journey.

Charlevoix Train

Photo by Caroline Perron Photography c/o Tourism Charlevoix

Pass by coastal towns and villages as you make your way by train from Quebec City to La Malbaie in Quebec’s Charlevoix region. The Charlevoix Train is a sightseeing train that runs along the shores of the St. Lawrence River, offering sweeping water views along the way. You can choose to travel from Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul and back or continue on to La Malbaie. New in summer 2023 is the hydrogen train, which will run along the Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul route — the first train of its type in North America.

Charter a train through the Rockies

Did you know you can charter a restored vintage Canadian Pacific train — complete with luxury accommodations — for a one-of-a-kind experience with your family, friends or business associates? The Royal Canadian Pacific is a Calgary-based rail company that specializes in unquie and ultra-luxurious train travel. Beyond the charters, they also operate a limited number of excursions through Western Canada.

Inspiring Summer Train Itineraries:

If you’re looking for a ready-made itinerary that combines train travel with visits to some of Canada’s top cities, towns and attractions, we’ve got you covered. Browse all of our rail excursions or read on below for our top picks:

Western Canada’s Grand Rail Circle Tour

This 10-day rail itinerary is designed to see all the amazing Rocky Mountain scenery. You get to explore Vancouver, Banff and Jasper while travelling on two train routes (one on VIA Rail and one on the Rocky Mountaineer). Read more.

Eastern City Lights: Toronto to Quebec City by Rail

Photo c/o Destination Toronto

See four dynamic Canadian cities on this 9-day rail trip. You’ll travel by train between Toronto and Ottawa, Ottawa and Montreal and finally Montreal to Quebec City, with a few days to explore each city. Learn more. 

Canadian Pacific: The Rockies to Vancouver by Rail

Beginning in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this 8-day trip is a sightseeing dream. You’ll see Calgary, Banff and Jasper before boarding the Canadian train for a journey to Vancouver on the Pacific coast. Read more. 

Eastern Canada City Stay: Toronto and Montreal

Explore Toronto and Montreal on this 7-day trip that connects Canada’s two largest cities by train. The hassle-free ride between these two dynamic cities means you won’t have to worry about traffic and both cities are easy to explore sans car. Read more.

French Flair and Coastal Charm: Halifax to Montreal by Rail


Halifax. Photo by Acorn Art & Photography/Tourism Nova Scotia

This wonderful 8-day itinerary builds out VIA Rail’s The Ocean journey on both ends of the trip. See dynamic Montreal and pretty Halifax while enjoying the scenic overnight train journey between them. Read more.

Train Trips on Rocky Mountaineer:

The award-winning Rocky Mountaineer is a premium sightseeing train that travels through the Canadian Rockies, as well as along one train route in the United States. This beautiful luxurious train features two service level options (Silverleaf and Goldleaf) and has several different routes, which can be combined and added on to with different itineraries. Unlike VIA Rail, the Rocky Mountaineer is not a sleeper train, which means that it stops in stations overnight and guests are taken to local hotel accommodations. The train is designed for maximum sightseeing and all travel is done in daylight hours.

“The level of service on the Rocky Mountaineer is exceptional,” says April Psiharis, Landsby’s Senior Travel Professional. “I was blown away by knowledgable staff, the delicious food and, of course, the unbelievable scenery.” April earned her certification as a Rocky Mountaineer Specialist and is available to help you book your trip.

The Rocky Mountaineer was voted the World’s Best Luxury Train by the prestigious World Travel Awards and has the following Canadian routes:

First Passage to the West

This Rocky Mountaineer trip takes two days and it travels on the historic Kicking Horse pass rail route that opened in 1885. Journey between Vancouver and Banff with an overnight stop in Kamloops.

Read more about this trip here.

Journey Through the Clouds

This Rocky Mountaineer trip also takes two days but it travels between Vancouver and Jasper with an overnight stop in Kamloops. Along this route you pass Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.

Read more about this trip here.

Rainforest to Gold Rush

This Rocky Mountaineer trip takes three days. It travels between Vancouver and Jasper, but takes a different route than the Journey through the Clouds trip. Here you will stop for an overnight in Whistler and another overnight in Quesnel, which takes you through the gold-flecked canyons of BC’s central interior.

Read more about this trip here.

Train Trips on VIA Rail:

VIA Rail has the most robust rail system in Canada, with routes that reach from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. The most well-known of the routes is the track between Toronto and Vancouver (called The Canadian) and the track between Montreal and Halifax (called The Ocean) but VIA also operates a train from Winnipeg to Churchill in Manitoba for a cool way to travel to see Northern Lights, polar bears and belugas! Read on below for the details on these routes.

“Travelling on Canada’s best sleeper train, The Canadian, is an epic experience I will never forget,” says Aurelie Gilles, Landsby’s Director of Canadian Travel. “I love to recommend this experience to my clients in search of uniuqe ways to explore our country.”

The Canadian: A Classic Train Trip Across 5 Provinces

VIA Rail’s The Canadian is an incredible journey and a very popular way of getting across the country. The full journey, which can be taken eastbound or westbound, takes 5 days and the train makes stops in each passing province. When you book a ticket for the whole journey, VIA gives you one free stop. This means that you can hop off along the route for a few days and then hop back on the train when it passes again. A popular stop is in Jasper to see the Rocky Mountains, but we also have terrific itinerary ideas for stops in all of the other destinations.

Economy seats are available and these do not include food or beverage, but there are also several types of sleeper class accommodations that include a bed and all meals plus non-alcoholic beverages.

Read more about the Canadian.

The Canadian in Prestige: Canada’s Most Luxurious Sleeper Class

Prestige Class is the most luxurious sleeper train class in Canada. It is available only on the Canadian journey (between Toronto and Vancouver or vice versa) and features private bathrooms with shower, larger cabins with bigger windows, a deluxe Murphy bed for sleeping and is all-inclusive of meals, snacks and drinks (including alcoholic beverages).

Learn more about taking the Canadian in Prestige.

The Ocean: Epic Journey From Quebec to Nova Scotia

If you’re looking for a compact rail journey that will give you a taste of sleeper train travel, the Ocean is a spectacular choice. This train route connects Montreal with Halifax and can be taken in either direction. Because of VIA Rail’s robust route system in Ontario and Quebec, you can easily connect to this trip from most of southern Ontario.

The train takes less than 24 hours and covers nearly 1,350 km. This is a fantastic way to see Atlantic Canada as you can rent a car in Halifax and have easy access to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

Learn more about the Ocean train trip.

Winnipeg to Churchill

VIA Rail Aurora

Photo c/o VIA Rail

Travel under Aurora skies on the VIA Rail route that connects Winnipeg to Churchill. This 2-night journey takes you from Winnipeg through Thompson and up to the shores of Hudson Bay. Depending on the time of year you travel, this trip opens up the opportunity for Northern Lights viewing, safe encounters with polar bears, and the chance to see thousands of belugas.

Reach out to us for more information on this journey.