Canadian Rockies by Rail

An Itinerary for an Adventure North by Train

Author: The Traveling Professor/Saturday, November 3, 2018/Categories: General Travel

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Here is how The Traveling Professor would plan a train adventure from Vancouver to Toronto, across the Canadian Rockies by rail:

Route:  The best route is from Vancouver to Jasper to Toronto (can also be done in reverse).   What The Professor would do is start in Vancouver and stay at least one night in that beautiful city before embarking on a Canadian Rockies rail adventure.  The weather is always on the mild side, the people are friendly, there are great hotels and the food is good.  I love the Fairmont Hotel chain.  The off-peak schedule (early October-April) departs Vancouver on Tuesday and Fridays at noon.  There is no doubt I would plan a stop over in Jasper National Park along the way, only 1 night from Vancouver.  The train arrives in Jasper, Alberta at 8 a.m. on Wednesdays or Saturdays.   If arriving on Wednesday, the next train from Jasper departs on a Saturday.  If arriving on Saturday, the next train departs on a Wednesday at 10 a.m.  It takes three nights to arrive in Toronto at 2 pm.  

There is no doubt this is a beautiful itinerary, sure to be stunning any time of year. 

Jasper, AB:  The Professor recommends a 3-night stop at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge en route from Vancouver to Toronto.  It is in Jasper National Park and is a first-class accommodation.  Plenty to do in terms of outdoor activities and top-notch dining too. 

The Train:  ViaRail is Canada's national railway and offers several classes of service.  The only class of service offering an en suite shower and bath is the Prestige Class.  If you ask me, it is the only way to go as all other options require the traveler to share a shower.  A consideration with Prestige class is that beds are only double beds (no twins) which might be problematic for non-couples sharing a room.  Prestige class includes all meals, special access to the dome car, complimentary bar service, special access to the dining car, TV, activities such as wine tastings and educational talks.  At this point in my life, it is the only way to go.  Lower classes of service will require travelers to share a shower and perhaps have bunk beds, but not in all cases. 

The Cost:  Everything sounds wonderful but consider the cost.  Taking into account one night in Vancouver the night before catching the train,  Prestige Class service from Vancouver to Toronto, 3 nights in Fairmont Jasper Lodge (with meals included), and one night in Toronto, the price per person sharing a room is going to be in the $5,000-$5,500 range per person and about $8,500-$9,000 for a single traveler in the off-peak season.  Add another 10% or so for summer season.

The Traveling Professor has considered offering this tour and we would love to hear from our travelers if this trip is something offering as a Traveling Professor small group tour.

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