There are so many reasons to love train travel, from the glamorous allure of leisurely chugging through the world’s most majestic sites and scenes to the fact that there’s zero traffic during the journey. Not to mention the opportunity to live out your Hogwarts Express dreams (c’mon, you know you’re guilty). If you really want to do this long-lost tradition right, we suggest heading to Canada where you’ll have the chance to watch one of the world’s most incredible expanses of nature unfold before your eyes.
Set out on Via Rail’s “The Canadian” journey to travel from Toronto to Vancouver, which will sweep you across the world’s second largest country in under four days. Looking to explore Canada’s capitals of culture? The Quebec to Windsor route stops in Ottawa, Niagara Falls, and Toronto, where you’ll have the chance to take in the best of Canada’s cosmopolitan hubs packed with fascinating art, delicious food, and world-class museums. Insider tip: the Royal Ontario Museum is a can’t miss.
Photography: April Carandang
If it’s a more back-to-nature moment you’re after, on the Montreal to Senneterre route there are plenty of whitewater rivers, waterfalls, and hundreds of pristine lakes to admire. The Winnipeg to Churchill itinerary will allow you to meander through the subarctic region of northern Manitoba, where you’ll have the chance to spot polar bears in the autumn and belugas in the summer months. Although there’s no bad time to take in Canada’s beauty (I mean, belugas!) we do recommend traveling in the winter if you can as the bare trees allow for the most spectacular views of the snow-capped horizon.
Photography: Marlon Aldrin T. Sidlacan
Inside of the train you’ll find a skyline car with café-style dining area, kitchen, lounge, and a scenic dome section, where the windows extend up to the ceiling. Bounce from the window to the dining cart to enjoy dishes like lamb and salmon to be washed down with sparkling wine. Other preferred cabin pastimes should include making new friends, reading that book you’ve been meaning to finish for the last five years, brushing up on your card game skills, and staring out the window as the mesmerizing scenery unfolds before your eyes.
Photography: Happy To Wander | Gwenaëlle Scorta | Tavin Photography
In the evening, head inside to one of Via Rail’s sleeping cabins equipped with everything from a big picture window, double-berth beds, and even armchairs depending on the level of accommodation you opt in for. If you’re traveling with a special someone there are plenty of options for two, including the spacious chateau and manor level accommodations. We can’t think of a cozier, more relaxed way to ring in a new year of epic adventures.
Photography: Happy To Wander | Tavin Photography