Canada is a huge expanse of untouched landscape: the country was only linked by rail in the late nineteenth century. As such, Canada holidays have a lot to offer in terms of beautiful scenery. Utilizing the VIA Rail system to explore the country’s east coast – complete with stops in a number of its greatest cities – is a one-of-a-kind way to comfortably take in the sights. |
The rail journey sets out from Toronto, perhaps the country’s most international city. Before departure you’ll be able to take in a lot of the city on foot: the food scene is especially unique, and taking in the view of Lake Ontario from CN Tower is an excellent way to start off the best Canada holidays. As the train departs, you’ll have a superb panorama from your own window. Niagara Falls– an iconic landmark some call the eighth wonder of the world – is but one of the sites you will pass by.
After winding through the Niagara Peninsula, the journey makes its way through the Canadian countryside. The train will pass small historical towns and villages like Kingston before arriving in Ottawa, the country’s capital. When you disembark the train to explore the city, visit the Parliament Building and Embassy Row. There are also exquisite culinary experiences to be had in the Byward Market followed by some great shopping opportunities – Ottawa is well-known for its boutiques!
The third city stop on your route is Quebec, which surely needs no introduction. A World Heritage Site, history seeps from its stone walls, and visitors can feel it in the air. However, before entering Quebec, you will see even more of the French-Canadian countryside and all it has to offer. The gentle slopes and the effervescent colours of the Laurentian mountains especially stand out.
The final destination of the rail tour is Montreal. Your train passes along the St. Lawrence River, the beating heart of the country’s heritage and calls at the waterside village of Trois-Rivieres and Cap-de-la-Madeleine – a place made famous for its national shrine to the Virgin Mary.
Montreal offers its own distinct character and historical sites. Visitors can stroll around the campus at McGill University – one of the world’s finest – and explore Notre Dame Basilica. If you have a chance while you’re in the city head for the heights of Mount Royal, the highest vantage point in Montreal.
Natural Beauty and the Best of Canada
Exploring the best the nation has to offer from the comfort of a train is an excellent way to experience several Canada holidays rolled into one. Via the VIA Rail route, you get to take in four of the country’s most dynamic cities, with stopoffs in each to give you time to immerse yourself in their unique ambience. Add to that the opportunity to take in some of the most untouched and beautiful natural scenery in the world – such as Niagara Falls, without having to sit in traffic on the Niagara Parkway – and you have an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays for over 30 years. Recently his recommended Canada holidays have been included in Prestige’s luxury holiday portfolio. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.
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