Overland Traveller

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Canada by train: mountains, lakes, clouds and bears (Page 3)

Passengers enjoying the Park car © Craig FastAt the back of the train, the Bullet lounge of the Park car gave a Hollywood view of the tracks rushing out from under the train, receding into the scenery. I disembarked in Winnipeg, but I’ve been reliably informed that the lakes of Ontario and the Canadian Shield, towards Toronto, are another highlight of the trip.

The wildlife
Scenery aside, what everyone on board really wants to see is a bear. And a moose. Wildlife is spotted surprisingly frequently. Large mammals dot the land alongside the tracks and there are frequent walky-talky updates from the engine drivers to alert staff and passengers of animals in the vicinity. Many of the skittery critters run away before all the carriages had passed – for this reason it’s better to be nearer the front of the train – but I still saw a huge black bear lumbering at remarkable speed across a field, elk, a bald eagle, American pelicans, white tailed deer, and a fox. Luckier travellers might see a moose or even a cougar. The prairies are noted as a twitcher’s paradise.

The Canadian passing through the Rocky Mountains © VIA RailAll aboard!
The journey on The Canadian is something I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone visiting Canada or who simply loves train travel. The atmosphere on board was wholly Canadian: relaxed, friendly and without any pretension. Travelling a country as vast as Canada by car is tiring; a plane simply carries you from A to B, dismissing the views and people in between. To truly experience Canada, train is the only way to travel. Feeling the rhythm of the tracks as you watch the landscape transform under changing skies is the ultimate way to get a feel for a country. In truth, I didn’t want to get off.

I travelled on The Canadian in Sleeper Touring Class. The price included priority boarding, cabin (a range of cabins and berths for one to four people is available), meals, entertainment and exclusive access to the Park car. See http://www.viarail.ca/en for more information.

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Overland Traveller copyright © Emma Field 2010