Our trip across Canada on Via
Rail: 1 month 3 kids to Atlantic/Pacific/Arctic Oceans. We ride Via over 15,583 km of Canada, (including a 20
km trip backwards aboard our 22 car train), drive 5292 km, walk about
100 km, ferry 1/2 km and dogsled 10 km.
(As we reflect back on our 1997 trip ee
wonder wy we did not do it in 1998 instead???? Check out the weather,
our whole trip 1997 was snow and cold and 1998!!!!!!Beautiful Spring
and Summer weather right across Canada at the same time of year ??
Where did we go wrong!)
Note for another perspective on travel
across Canada; an
excellent Comercial Web site giving a detailed tour of Canada during
the Summer click here, (after reading about our trip of
course), WOW check out the contrast!
Wish we had that kind of money support and time for our trip.
- Here is a quick over view of
our trip: after months of planning we were underway; April 5,
1997. Leave Vancouver (had been sunny and warm occasional rain all
the blossoms finished well before we left) everything leafed out
for a month prior to leaving.) drive to Kamloops over Coquhallia
highway 3 hour trip. Visit friends and bunk kids down for a short
sleep, train due out at 5am. Slide had wshed out train track
further south, train from east arrives at Kamloops 22:00,
passengers to be bussed up from Vancouver 23:00 board empty train,
3am busses arrive from Vancouver with passengers and crew, not
much sleep all night, train did not leave till 9:30 April 6. coach
class to Jasper , Edmonton Alberta., Dad buys a bed for the night
at $80 and finally gets a good sleep.
- Monday 7th wake up to a severe
snow storm in Saskatchewan, our Via train stops to pick up CN
train crews stranded in Blizard; every West bound freight train on
each siding waiting for CN Rail line to open in Fraser Canyon, we
become the rescue train for crews on overtime! arrive Winnipeg
12:35 in a cold blizzard 2 feet + of snow and high wind, go
shopping for food. Lv Winnipeg arrive Armstrong Ontario just after
midnight. Very small rail town in middle of no where! Stay at
hotel across street for 2 days for a break. fresh snow nice out
during day but cold. 00:10
- April 10 board train for
Toronto Coach class. Arrive Toronto 21:00 April 10, cab to Hotel Clarion
Essex nice place kids liked pool.
- April 11 rent car visit CN
tower ? Tallest structure in World?? great views. Tour Casa Loma
incredible castle like structure with interesting history of early
Toronto. Join rush hour driving east to Whitby
1 hour to stay with friends for weekend.
- Sat. 12th visit 4000 sq. ft.
Toronto rail club O Scale layout very realistic scenery.
center DON'T miss this great (free see tips), drive west to Brantford and
visit friends. For dinner. Drive back to Brantford 2 hours
freezing rain at times, cold wet day.
- Monday 14th Board Via 1 1st
class (courtesy of coupons see tips) 11:16 at Guildwood (just east
of Toronto) for Ottawa Canada's
Capital. Ar. 15:19 rent
car stay at Citadel nice place right downtown. Look around
downtown, cold. Visit friend.
- Tues 15th Tour National
Museum of Science & Tech. (free see tips) excellent. Private tour of
Governors General rail cars used by King and Queen in 1939 for
tour of Canada and U.S. + view Old steam engines, etc. under
restoration. Toured Parliament buildings and Peace Tower great
views, ice still on river, snow around. Tour downtown.
- Wed. 16th board Via 1 10:00
for Montreal 12:00 excellent free 1st class (see
tips). Rent car drive around, cold, visited Canadian Rail museum,
& massive Church. DP. 18:00 Montreal to Quebec City Via 1 1st
Class. Ar. 21:03 Stay at Manor Victoria very nice renovated old
building kids love pool.
- Thur. 17th walk around city, +
horse and buggy ride tour, lots of old snow piled up, very cold
and windy. Walked around old wall and buildings downtown.
Interesting history of old Quebec City. Dinner at nice restaurant
in renovated train station take a look at ceiling design. 20:00
take ferry (free) over across St. Lawrence seaway to Levis. Dp.
21:30 on #14 Via Ocean train sleeper class sections, nice and big
- Friday 18th ar. Halifax Nova
Scotia rent car, backtrack to Turro stay at "The Organry" B&B
the world's largest collection of its type STAY here neat place!
Sat. 19th View Bay of Fundy highest tides in world rapids coming
up river! very very cold and windy, heavy rain at higher
elevations ice and snow, tour Industrial museum, Lobster dinner
for our anniversary in Port Hawksbury.
- Sunday 20th tour Alexander
Graham Bells museum, (inventor of telephone and pioneer of early
flight), attempt to drive around Cape Breton Trail highlands
turned back by heavy snow near northern tip, huge ice bergs and
sea covered in ice just off coast. Drive back south to Sheet
- Monday tour Volvo plant, and
Halifax, Ocean research museum interesting, also discovery science
center OK , dp. 14:00 Via Ocean #15 to Montreal, nice beds in sections in sleeper
class. Make note that we must come back to Atlantic Coast in
- Tue. 22, ar. 08:24 tour
downtown Montreal Quebec cold, horse drawn carriage tour saved the
feet. 12:15 Via 1 1st class to Toronto16:49, then Via Coach class
to Brantford Ontario 18:14. rented car Stayed with friends. PS
remember all that snow on the prairies on the way out; well it is
melting now and word of a large flood due in Winnipeg about time
- Wed. 23 toured Spencer Gorge,
nice place cold day. toured Welland canal visitor center worth a
visit to understand Lake chain system and locks. Visit private
rail club Aberfoyle Juction huge model rail layout with full
scenery custom built Brass Steam engines in huge O Scale best
layout I've seen.
- Thur. 24 Traveled West visited
Tillisonburg Dolls in Toy land (youngest daughter was in heaven),
County Rail Museum, to
London Ontario. Toured area visited Children's Museum (free see
tips), good! Dinner in Park cold day. Visited large O Scale Model
Rail club excellent huge layout.
- Fri. 25th drove south east to
Niagara Falls, toured Fort. Erie, Under falls journey, still ice
coming down rivers and falls area deep in ice, quite stunning.
Cool day. Worth the trip! tough drive back in traffic; suggest you
take train down here for a day and overnight.
- Sat. 26th 08:56 dp. Brantford
for Toronto, last 1st class great breakfast. ar. 10:12 Toronto,
tour downtown, Cdn. due to leave at 12:45 we board and wait 4
hours for people from connecting train delayed by freight
derailment they arrive by bus. Slow progress, switch to CP tracks,
and get going. At Sudbury train backs up very slowly through town
for several miles to Sudbury junction 45 minute trip, at a crawl
to get from CP to CN track and facing the right way. Rent 2 beds
- Sun. 27th So late and with
reports of massive flood wonder if we will make connection to
train to Churchill ?? Meet Chris whom is doing same trip as us for
next week, run into him again in summer in Alaska! Chris wonders
if he should skip trip to Churchill to sandbag? Note flooded areas
as we arrive very late in Winnipeg, board Via train # 693 "Hudsons
Bay" to Churchill have large bedroom, nice (though bigger beds
facing right way in sections). (Very
informative information site on the Churchill Railine and
- Mon. 28th The Pas and Thompson
interesting little towns intrigued by summer stuff on sale at a
dept. chain store!
- Tue. April 29th We arrive
08:00 in Churchill on Frozen Hudsons Bay -20C very cold and windy,
go for breakfast then arrange doglsed ride later on and explore
town. Dog sled ride great going with wind but return trip into
strong wind was very cold, fun trip kids had a blast. Dropped off
at Town center to thaw out! Note they have a large complex with
all government offices, all schools, library day care, gym bowling
alley alley center everything under one roof great idea here. Find
a nice little restaurant for dinner, with T.V.s showing Red River
flood and predictions that Winnipeg may be under water when we
return if ring dike extension not finished in time. Our Friend
Chris rents bowling alley with us for evening! Then back on train
to bed, have double bedroom for trip back still tight! 2 nights
one day on train back!
- Thur. May 1st arrive to flood
central! Winnipeg, looks different then when under 2 feet of snow.
Chris heads off to sandbag. We book in at Louis Riel hotel, full
with people flooded out! We tour excellent DON'T miss this
Museum of Man and Nature. (free see tips) and downtown, cold windy day.
- Fri. May 2nd , Tour waterfront
area, huge medi/camera crews set up for flood coverage by forks
market waterfront. Sand bags everywhere river right up to edge and
bottom of bridges. Tour Children's museum (free see tips)
excellent! Due to depart on Via #1 Cdn. west for home at 18:00 at
station word is train is very late, back to children's center
(life saver). Late out, buy 2 beds for night. Chris has sore arms
- Sat. 3rd, Through Alberta cool
outside, Chris departs at Jasper headed for Alaska, Dad gets sick
flu bug? our Churchill attendant had? Train dies out of Jasper in
snow storm in middle of nowhere! Takes a while to get already late
- Sun. 4th. arrive 2 hours late
in Kamloops after midnight drive to friends for rest.
- Mon.5th drive home to
Vancouver ! The thing we notice most is that it is the same as
when we left sunny and warm, everything is Green, something we
have not seen for a month any where else in Canada! Take note we
like living here!!!!!!!! But great trip, suggest you do it!! Maybe
A little piece of history; Nov. 4, 1925; Transcontinental
worlds record set by Canadian National Railway with a trip from
Montreal to Vancouver in 67 hours for the 1st time with an engine
running non-stop averaging 45 mph. The 57 seat passenger car was an
Oil powered Electric car.
Back to main