132 years ago, the Last Spike was driven in Craigellachie, British Columbia, marking the completion of Canada’s first transcontinental railroad. The railway united our country, both physically and figuratively, and the promise of a coast-to-coast connection was a catalyst for bringing the provinces together into confederation 18 years earlier. Today, VIA Rail continues the tradition of connecting people—whether it’s loved ones, colleagues, or friends— by train on our Canada-wide network.
To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary in the spirit that brought it together, VIA Rail is connecting its Canadian (Vancouver-Toronto) and Ocean (Montreal – Halifax) routes (with a little help from our Corridor and regional trains). Join us in celebrating this year by crossing the country from coast to coast (to coast!) on the Pan Canadian train.
We have three different routes to choose from, which showcase all corners of the country and include activities and guided tours at each destination. The traditional transcontinental route starts in Vancouver, travels through the spectacular Rocky Mountains, then across the Prairies and into Ontario passing our nation’s capital on the way through Quebec, before ending in the Maritimes. The more adventurous can experience Canada’s northern frontier by leaving from either Vancouver or Halifax and heading due north at Winnipeg to Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world.
The train offers access to landscapes not accessible by any other means of transport; if you want to see the real Canada, we’ve got Canada’s best window. There is also a magic to train travel; it awakens the traveller’s spirit of adventure. As the landscapes slide by, changing from cities to forests, plains, and mountains, each passing mile brings a deeper appreciation for the country we call home.
There are so many hidden gems to discover along the Pan Canadian’s cross-Canada route, and VIA: The Blog is the best way to find them. We’ve covered the country, sharing local favourites and off-the-beaten-path recommendations. Why not add to your record collection in Vancouver, or catch a new indie band in Edmonton before they make it big? Or explore Saskatoon’s agricultural heritage and eat farm to table? Drink the beer that pays homage to Stompin’ Tom Connors in Sudbury. Feel the sand between your toes less than 15 minutes from Union Station, and chow down on the best brunch in Kingston. Find out where the chefs eat during Montreal restaurant week and our pick for the best chocolate chip cookie in the city. Spend a relaxing and restorative night in a restored monastery in the heart of old Québec City. Discover the laundromat with an outstanding beer selection in Moncton, and go axe throwing in Halifax. Enter a meat draw in The Pas, and find Miss Piggy in Churchill.
The Pan Canadian is a once in a lifetime trip that will change the way you see our country. Head over to Fresh Tracks to find out more about the Pan Canadian or book your personalized trip now.