The Canadian Train | Luxurious Train Experience by VIA Rail (2024)

By Athena McKenzie


Sep 18, 2023


min read

From the bustle of Toronto to the majesty of the Rockies and the serene West Coast, The VIA Rail Canadian train gives you a rare opportunity to see Canada's diverse scenery in one amazing trip.

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Table of contents

  • Popular trips featuring the Canadian Train
  • The Canadian Train: Route Map
  • Take a look inside the Canadian Train
  • Service Levels on The Canadian
  • Quick Facts About The Canadian Train
  • What to expect on The Canadian?
  • Places to Visit on The Canadian
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Follow the historic rail route that made Canada what it is today. Built in the 19th century to connect the nation, the Canadian National Railway stretches across the endless fields of the prairies and then carves through the Rockies before arriving on the West Coast. Savor stunning views from the train and then explore the country's best destinations at extended stops.

Whether you want to see Canada’s wildlife in its natural habitat or dip your toes in a glacier-fed lake, the travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations can help. We have local knowledge of The Canadian Train and its routes. Our speciality is creating custom itineraries tailored to your interests. We love to travel, and we want to share that love with you as you explore all that Canada has to offer.

Popular trips featuring the Canadian Train

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Keep reading or chat with one of our local travel experts. We’re passionate about Canada and can help you at any stage of your vacation planning.

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Vancouver to Toronto Train Tour

Spend 11 days exploring some of Canada's most popular destinations. This itinerary with the Canadian Train has the option of starting in Vancouver or Toronto. It includes stops at Banff and Jasper National Parks, giving you plenty of opportunities to see local wildlife and snap photos of all the attractions.

Miles covered on train: 2,775

Days on train: 5

Nights on train: 3

Canada Coast to Coast by Train

The Canada Coast to Coast itinerary includes four nights on The Canadian Train and two days on the world-famous Rocky Mountaineer. Hop on board to experience a trans-Canada journey like no other. You'll see Peggy's Cove, Lake Louise, Niagara Falls and more with this itinerary featuring The Canadian Train trip.

Miles covered on train: 3,240

Days on train: 5

Nights on train: 4

Trans Canada by Rail in Winter

Forget about walking in a winter wonderland; the Trans Canada by Rail in Winter route offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and prairies sparkling with frost. This itinerary includes accommodations in one of The Canadian Train cabins, stops at Jasper and Banff National Parks and a guided transfer along the Icefields Parkway, one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

Miles covered on train: 2,762

Days on train: 4

Nights on train: 4

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Get inspired with sample itineraries, train information, route maps, and travel advice from our local experts.

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The Canadian Train: Route Map

VIA Rail's The Canadian Train follows this route:

Toronto > Winnipeg > Saskatoon > Edmonton > Jasper > Kamloops > Vancouver

It can also be done in reverse.

This is the classic Canadian journey. Rumble through boreal forest, prairies and mountains on what National Geographic called one of the best train trips in the world. And along the way, you'll get to experience some uniquely Canadian destinations.

Explore Toronto, Canada's largest metropolis and a cultural and artistic hub. Or visit Winnipeg, the most under-the-radar city in the prairies, with world-class museums, art galleries and a diverse dining scene.

Cross through Saskatchewan's huge blue skies and bright-yellow fields of canola, and watch the terrain outside your window grow from foothills to the towering peaks of the Rockies. The serene coastline of Vancouver — where you will either start or end your journey — provides the perfect mix of urban luxuries and outdoor escapes.

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#1 Travel tip: Choose your season

From seeing fall colours, spring's wildlife or winter landscapes to special summer entertainment, each season offers a different experience on the train.

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Katherine Foxcroft

Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

Take a look inside the Canadian Train

You may never want to leave your cozy cabin (where you can admire the scenery while lounging in bed). But when it is time to explore the train, you'll discover spacious lounge and dining cars. Gather with your fellow travellers for card games, conversation, and delicious food.

Service Levels on The Canadian

The VIA Rail Canadian Toronto to Vancouver train offers multiple service levels. Need help deciding which one is right for you? Get in touch with our local travel experts for advice.

Sleeper Plus Class

Sleeper Class offers both upper and lower berths, and private cabins. We recommend a comfortable private cabin, where you can stretch out and watch the sunset (or sunrise, if you're an early bird). Depending on the size of your group, you can book a cabin for one, two or four travelers. You'll have your own toilet and sink, plus a shower that is only shared with a handful of other people.

The perks of Sleeper Plus include:

  • Three gourmet fine dining meals per day.
  • Complimentary fruit and cookies between meals.
  • Priority boarding and access to the station lounges in Vancouver and Toronto.
  • Access to the Panorama and Skyline viewing cars.
  • Non alcoholic beverages included; alcoholic beverages available for sale.
  • Cabins includes a toilet and sink, with access to a shared shower.

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Prestige Class

The Canadian offers the country’s only luxury train service across Canada. Prestige Class is like a cozy home on rails. You'll have 50% more space in your cabin compared to Sleeper Plus class and a 60% larger window for admiring those views.

When night falls, you can retreat to your elegant cabin with a glass of wine, curl up in your Murphy bed for two and catch a movie on your personal flat-screen monitor — or simply watch the stars. Your room includes a private bathroom, with toilet, sink, and shower.

The perks of Prestige Class include:

  • The attention of a personal concierge.
    Access to the exclusive Park Car, a lounge on the rails.
  • Complimentary coffee, tea, fruit and cookies.
  • All meals and drinks included.
  • Priority reservations in the dining car.
  • Pre-dinner appetizer service.

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#2 Travel tip: Trains don't run every day

If you'd like to spend more time in any of the Canadian's stops, you'll need to add some days to your itinerary. The train only runs twice a week in each direction.

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Louise Weiss

Director of Legendary Hospitality

Quick Facts About The Canadian Train

  • The Canadian connects Toronto and Vancouver, with stops in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Jasper. This route can also be travelled in reverse.
  • This train covers a total of 2,762, which takes about 86 hours.
  • Enjoy sweeping views from the top-floor observation area in the Skyline car.
  • Travellers can dine on the train and sleep in their own private cabins.
  • The menu features dishes that pay tribute to regional specialties: Saskatoon berry salad, Alberta beef and B.C. salmon are just a few examples.
  • The Canadian Train Ride takes you through bustling cities, flat prairies and everything in between.
  • The Canadian train run every four days. You can arrange to get off in certain destination to explore for the time in between. You'll stay in hotels overnight when you're not on the train.
  • You’ll have a good chance to see wildlife and the best sights in the Canadian Rockies where there are no roads.

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Download our Brochures and Mini GuidesFind out what is included in your trip and have all your questions answered. Our brochures are here to help.Explore our brochures

What to expect on The Canadian?

When you ride on The Canadian, you get a unique look at what makes this vast county so amazing. Road trips and bus tours simply can't compare.

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#3 Travel tip: Plan for relaxing

Download some regional podcasts or audiobooks for your train trip — you can keep your eyes on the scenery as you listen.

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Athena McKenzie

Content Manager

Places to Visit on The Canadian

From the bright city lights of Toronto to the looming Rocky Mountain peaks, this trans-Canada train journey is an adventure on a grand scale. Your Canadian Train Vacation Advisor can help personalize a trip that includes the activities and excursions that you want to add. Here are destinations worth exploring. It should be noted that other than the terminal destinations of Toronto and Vancouver, layovers in other stops along the way will last four days, as The Canadian Train only runs twice a week in each direction.


Jasper truly has something for everyone, making it one of the most popular destinations on The Canadian Train route map. If you're looking for adventure, this national park has no shortage of options, from helicopter tours to ice climbing. Its mountain town is also ideal for low-key travellers who want to sit back and relax. There’s even a luxe Fairmont resort in the middle of all this stunning nature. Downtime and forest therapy await.

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Vancouver has just the right blend of city amenities and natural wonders, making it the perfect place to begin your Canadian adventure. Start the day with some kayaking, have lunch at one of the city's many restaurants or spend the afternoon looking for wildlife. You'll never run out of things to do.

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An integral destination on the Canadian route, you’ll love exploring Toronto's diverse neighborhoods. As the capital of Ontario, Toronto has almost every amenity you can imagine, from Broadway-style theatre performances to Michelin-rated dining establishments. It's also filled with historic landmarks and has activities for travellers of all ages and activity levels.

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Immerse yourself in Canadian culture with a visit to Winnipeg. A gem on the prairies, the city has trendy neighborhoods, interesting museums and parks galore. It even has an 80-acre conservation centre for travellers who love animals.

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What Our Customers Say

The accomodations, food and staff were really great

Our expectations were fully met. The accommodations, food and staff were really great. We had several delays on our flights, but the train experiences were fantastic. Since we are...

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Dave and Julia


I would be happy to recommend Fresh Tracks to anyone planning a Canadian Vacation

Many thanks to you and the other Fresh Tracks team members for your help in putting together our Rockies vacation. My wife and I had a fantastic time. All the connections and picku...

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Kevin and Robin

QLD, Australia

This was a trip of a lifetime

This was a trip of a lifetime. We did all the important and amazing excursions that were offered.

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Aline and Assadour

ON, Canada

See more customer testimonials

Why book your train journey in Canada with Canadian Train Vacations?

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We take care of all the details

You want to relax and enjoy your trip, not get overwhelmed by the planning. Let us make all of the bookings for you, including rail tickets, hotels, excursions and activities, meals and transfers.

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Independent travel with expert support

Enjoy local expertise and guidance with a personalized itinerary. Your preferences and needs are our priority. We take care of you from the moment you land until the moment you leave.

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Get help when you need it

You’ll receive the inside scoop before you even leave home. And you can relax during your vacation because we’re only a phone call away if you have any questions while you’re in Canada.

Schedule a call

Frequently Asked Questions

The Canadian train fares vary based on your point of origin, your destination, The Canadian Train schedule and whether you choose an Economy Class, Sleeper Plus Class or Prestige Class ticket. Our packages with The Canadian train start at $5,280 and include the train, your meals on the train, your hotels before and after the train tour, transfers to and from the airport or hotel, sightseeing tours and activities, and some additional meals.

The Canadian Train stops in major centres like Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper, Edmonton and Winnipeg, and Toronto, as well as many smaller destinations.

Yes. The Canadian Train has sleeper berths and cabins available. There are upper and lower berths, as well as more private cabins for one to four travellers. There's also an option to book a Prestige Cabin, with a private bathroom and shower.

Yes. Sleeper Plus Class and Prestige Class passengers have access to the dining car, which serves three chef-prepared meals daily. In Economy Class, passengers have access to meals, snacks and a variety of beverages served by train attendants. For Economy Class passengers, the Canadian Train cost doesn't include meals or snacks.

Most dietary requirements, food allergies, and other requirements can be accommodated with advance notice.

The Canadian Train doesn't have a dedicated bar car, but you can purchase local beers and wines to enjoy at your seat or in the dining or lounge car.

On the Canadian Train, Prestige Class and Sleeper Plus Class cabins have private bathrooms. Economy Class and Sleeper Plus semi-private berths have public restrooms.

Yes! The Canadian Train is one of the best ways to see Canada in style. You'll travel across much of the country and see everything from soaring mountains to flat prairies. It’s an immersive experience that showcases the best of Canada’s stunning landscapes.

About the author: Athena McKenzie is the Content Manager at Fresh Tracks Canada. An experienced lifestyle journalist, she has written about travel, design, arts and entertainment. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Zoomer Magazine, Elle Canada and...Read more

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The Canadian Train | Luxurious Train Experience by VIA Rail (2024)


Which is better VIA Rail or Rocky Mountaineer? ›

Train holidays with VIA Rail are a more economical way to experience Canada. Unlike the Rocky Mountaineer which offers daylight only services, the VIA Rail trains operate throughout the day and night getting you to your destination sooner.

What is the most scenic train trip in Canada? ›

1. Canada Coast to Coast by Train. The Coast to Coast by train tops the list of best Canadian rail trips. You'll see the country's top highlights, including Peggy's Cove, Niagara Falls and Lake Louise.

How much does the Canadian Sleeper Train cost? ›

How much does it cost to ride the train across Canada? The cost varies between routes and the time of year but for the 2024 season for travel between Toronto and Vancouver, it will cost around CAD $2500 per person in the winter months and $4500 per person in the summer months for a Sleeper Plus cabin.

Is it worth taking the train across Canada? ›

There's nothing quite like taking the train across the vast, wild expanse that is Canada. From the relaxed, friendly pace onboard to the pristine wilderness outside your window, traversing Canada along the tracks is truly a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What is the best month to take the Rocky Mountaineer? ›

Overall, May is a great time to travel on the Rocky Mountaineer train if you want to go home with a camera roll full of postcard-like photos while still saving some money in comparison to the peaks season prices which generally come into affect in the last week of May/early June.

Are there toilets on the Rocky Mountaineer train? ›

On the lower level, you'll find our GoldLeaf Service dining room and the adjacent galley in which our culinary team prepares multi-course, gourmet meals that will keep you well-fed throughout your journey. It's also where you'll find two bathrooms and a door leading to the outdoor viewing platform.

What is the luxury train in Canada? ›

Luxury Train Types. Both Rocky Mountaineer and VIA Rail offer luxurious train services across Canada. Let our Canadian Insiders help you choose the train service that is right for you, or combine both styles of luxury into one trip.

What is the most popular Rocky Mountaineer trip? ›

First Passage to the West is the most popular Rocky Mountaineer rail route, beloved for connecting the best of Canada's East and West. Travel back in time for a glimpse of how life once was for the early Canadian explorers, with exclusive access to the historic rails that pass through Spiral Tunnels and Craigellachie.

How long is the Rocky Mountaineer train ride? ›

The SilverLeaf rail cars have a small outdoor space and the GoldLeaf rail cars have a larger outdoor viewing platform, where guests can view the passing scenery and capture photos. A typical travel day on the train can range from 10-12 hours on the Canadian routes and up to 8-9 hours on the US route.

Can you hop on and off The Canadian train? ›

Enjoy the best of Canada on the Canadian Rail Experience from Toronto to Vancouver! Capture all the culture and excitement of Toronto on a fun and user-friendly hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour.

Does VIA Rail sleeper Plus include meals? ›

Food and drinks on board

Savor a three-course meal with carefully selected products from Canadian artisans. Three meals a day are included in your experience. Top off your meal with a local beer or Canadian wine sold by the glass. Also offered onboard: a selection of hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages.

Can you shower on VIA Rail? ›

Yes, there are washrooms on every VIA Rail train. There are showers on some of our trains, depending on the route. For long distance trains (e.g. the Canadian and the Ocean), private washrooms and shared shower rooms are available for cabins. Berths have access to a shared washroom and a shared shower room in each car.

What is the best time of year for a Canadian train trip? ›

May is the most popular month to travel because winter is over and train prices are lower than they will be in June, July, August and September. To balance the lower prices, temperatures are lower in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper in May.

Can you sleep in economy on VIA Rail? ›

Economy class

Spread out and let the gentle motion of the train rock you to sleep while you glide through the wilderness. Extra blankets and pillows can be purchased.

What is the best train trip in Canada? ›

What is the Best Train Trip in Canada?
  • Calgary Stampede and the Canadian Rockies Train Tour.
  • Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge & Canadian Rockies Rail Trip Combo.
  • Canadian Rockies Winter Rail Wonderland.
  • Grizzly Bears & The Canadian Rockies Rail Vacation.
  • Majestic Canada Rail Vacation through the Rockies.

Which is the most scenic Rocky Mountaineer route? ›

First Passage to the West: Banff to Vancouver. This is the most historic and arguably most scenic route operated by the Rocky Mountaineer, previously known as the Kicking Horse route.

Is it worth paying extra for gold leaf on Rocky Mountaineer? ›

Sophie Drake, the last of our specialist cruise consultants to ride the Rocky Mountaineer Had a lot to say about choosing between the red, silver and gold leaf options… “The Gold Leaf service is the most luxurious and many people ask me if it is worth the added cost. Without a shadow of a doubt, the answer is YES!

What is the difference between gold & silver on the Rocky Mountaineer? ›

Rocky Mountaineer: GoldLeaf vs SilverLeaf

SilverLeaf cars are one level with windows curving up into the roof. GoldLeaf cars are two level with seating upstairs under a clear dome.

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