|Pic courtesy: Canadian Train Journeys|
Winter can be a brrrr and a blur in Canada...i.e. if you want it to be. But there's another way of experiencing the best of Canadian winter and exploring this beautiful country -- VIA Rail, the national passenger rail service. Just like our Indian Railways -- but a lot cleaner and stylish, I should say.
I'd suggest the route from Toronto to Vancouver -- it's what would be deemed 'spectacular cross-continental travel'. Frosted scenes of Canadian Rockies! Phew! It deserves a background score of Oscarish proportions.
The overnight journey begins at Toronto. And when the train chugs along and you cross the Canadian Shield -- a land of frozen lakes -- is when you gasp in awe. Wildly beautiful. Isolated communities like Christmas decorations can be seen amidst snow covered trees.
The train stops at Winnipeg in the morning. You can get down and explore this railway city. Once you are back on board, the train continues westwards from Winnipeg, crossing the prairies and arriving in the province of Saskatchewan in the evening. After a brief stop at Edmonton in the morning, the train begins the climb to the foothills of the Rockies. Get ready to encounter some of the most amazing vistas on earth -- glaciers, lakes, plunging canyons, frozen waterfalls and soaring snow-covered peaks.
From quaint Jasper, in the morning, the train pulls into the cosmopolitan Vancouver. Snow covered urban landscape of skyscrapers set against the dramatic backdrop of snow-covered mountains and deep fjords.
You should do the trip in the Dome Car of VIA Rail -- that way you can enjoy the art-deco style of the car; its plush lounges and observation area. Make new friends and share a drink with fellow travellers while enjoy the scenary. The staff on board are knowledgeble and will keep you informed with interesting information about the scenes outside the picture-windows and points of interest.
At the beginning of the journey you might think -- what's so great about snow and winter? It's white. It's cold. At the end of the journey, you marvel at the different hues of the beautiful 'white' and discover that winters can be cosy and warm too -- in a different way!
VIA Rail Canada
- Canada's national rail passenger service operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network.
- It carries four million passengers annually.
- It has won the Safety Awards for the last 8 years.