(Scroll down for images and video)
Note: The images & videos shown below are a composite of both the westbound and eastbound trips and are shown in geographical order from east to west.
Inaugurated on April 24, 1955, the ‘Canadian’ was a revolution in Canadian train travel. It was the first stainless-steel streamliner in Canada to be equipped with high-level scenic dome cars. The ‘Canadian‘ originally ran on the transcontinental route of the Canadian Pacific. In 1978 VIA Rail assumed operation of the ‘Canadian’ & in 1990 shifted the train’s route from Canadian Pacific to Canadian National.
The equipment on the ‘Canadian‘ was state-of-the-art: 173 stainless steel cars were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia & included baggage-dormitories, leg-rest coaches, dining room cars, ‘Skyline’-series dome-coffee shop-coaches, ‘Chateau’ & ‘Manor’ series sleeping cars with berths, bedrooms, roomettes, compartments & drawing rooms, & finally the ‘Park’ series dome-sleeper-lounge-observation cars – whose lounges were adorned with murals painted by the renowned Group of Seven artists depicting Canada’s National Parks. The decision to go with stainless steel was a sound one as the cars remain in service with VIA today in top-notch condition.
In addition to the accommodations described above, VIA Rail has added a new ‘Prestige’ Class of luxury accommodation & service consisting of rooms that are 50% larger than a standard bedroom.
Current VIA Rail motive power on the ‘Canadian’ consists of 3,000 horsepower 6400-series F40PH-2 diesel locomotives built by General Motors Diesel in London, ON.
Today’s route of the ‘Canadian’ passes some of the most stunning scenery in the world, running from the sprawling metropolis of Toronto, ON, past the rocks, lakes, rivers & muskeg of Northern Ontario, crossing the Red river in Winnipeg, MB over the vast prairies & through the beautiful Battle river valley on its way to Saskatoon, SK & Edmonton, AB, into the spectacular front range of the Rockies at Jasper National Park, through the pretty mountain resort town of Jasper, over the continental divide through the famed Yellowhead pass with views of Mount Robson, highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 12,972 ft, on to Kamloops & following the Fraser river canyon to the Pacific coast at Vancouver, BC.
If desired, one can leave the train for a few days at Jasper to explore Jasper & Banff national parks before returning to catch the train to Vancouver, where further opportunity exists to explore the city & Vancouver Island.
For passengers stopping over in Jasper, Avis Car Rental provides rental car connections across the street from the VIA station in Jasper, AB. Passengers may stay overnight at the Astoria Hotel in Jasper. It is then approximately a 3-1/2hr drive along the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise through Jasper & Banff National Parks which feature spectacular scenery & abundant wildlife. After visiting the Parks, persons can stay at the renowned Banff Springs hotel & also visit the in Cranbrook with its impressive collection of vintage locomotives & rolling stock, before returning to Jasper.
On arrival in Vancouver, Hertz Car Rental provides rental car connections at VIA’s Pacific Central Station. From Vancouver it is approximately a 1 hour drive to the BC Ferries Tsawassen Terminal which provides ferry connections to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. From Swartz Bay it is then approximately a 4-1/2hr drive to Tofino where accommodations are available at the Pacific Sands Beach resort on the Pacific Ocean.
If you enjoy spectacular scenery, fantastic dining, superb accommodations & impeccable service, then you’ll enjoy a ride on VIA Rail’s premier train – the ‘Canadian’.