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In our fast-paced world, there is something to be said for slowing down and taking the time to enjoy the journey. Rail travel may not be the fastest or even the least costly way to get to a destination, but that isn’t really the point of it. There is something remarkably refined about riding the rails and enjoying the scenery that passes just outside your window.
Canada is one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world and rail travel lets passengers experience its variety — taking them from modern cities to pristine mountainous regions or quaint maritime villages. Some of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys can be found in Canada. Here are five of the best train trips in the nation.
Voted by the Society of American Travel Writers as the best train journey in the world, Rocky Mountaineer offers several distinct rail journeys into the Canadian Rockies. Traveling during the daytime, you pass rugged mountains, waterfalls, valleys and wildlife. Rates start at $859, per person, for a two-day journey. Trains depart from Vancouver, Whistler or Seattle and travel through the Canadian Rockies.www.rockymountaineer.com
The Canadian is the ultimate cross-Canada rail experience. Traveling from Toronto to Vancouver in just over three days, this long-haul train transports more than 100,000 people every year. Over the past two years, more than $22 million has been invested in the modernization of this particular train. Rates start at $624 for adults, seniors and youths and $312 for children in economy. Sleeper cabins start at $1,627 for adults and $1,220 for children, including meals.www.viarail.ca
The Ocean travels from downtown Montreal to Halifax, passing through the scenic Maritimes. The entire 22-hour trip will cost $315 for adults, youths and seniors and $159 for children one-way. To travel from Moncton to Halifax is only about $35 per person.www.viarail.ca
The Winnipeg-Churchill train completes a journey that is more than a thousand miles, from Manitoba’s capital city to its subarctic northern region, in two days. Taking the train is an adventure, but the opportunities available in Churchill are even more exciting. You can see beluga whales in summer, polar bears in fall and the Northern Lights in winter. Rates start at $185 for adults, youths and seniors and $92 for children one-way.www.viarail.ca
Royal Canadian Luxury
Sometimes described as the “Canadian Orient Express,” the Royal Canadian Pacific Train is Canada’s most luxurious rail journey. The historic luxury trains have transported members of the royal family, prime ministers and other elite guests through the Canadian Rockies and have been completely restored to deliver an experience of a lifetime. In 2012, the company received a National Cultural Tourism Award recognizing its unique product and dedication to excellence. Luxury rail journeys travel from Calgary to Vancouver one-way and start at $5,800 per person. Fly-fishing tours and dinner trains are also available on select dates.www.royalcanadianpacific.com