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Rocky Mountaineer | Roderick Eime/Flickr
Rocky Mountaineer | Roderick Eime/Flickr
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7 Unique Train Journeys To Discover Canada

Picture of Gargi Garach
Updated: 9 June 2017
Canada has a number of exquisite gems hidden in its expansive landscape, and one of the best ways to experience all the country has to offer is traveling by train. From the Canadian Rockies to the Tundra, we take a look at the train journeys through Canada that not only offer scenic expeditions with breathtaking vistas in all seasons, but also an opportunity to explore local culture along the way. So for a real Canadian adventure, consider embarking on these 7 unforgettable train rides to achieve that ultimate wanderlust.

The Rocky Mountaineer

The Rocky Mountaineer is a traveler favourite and a top choice when planning a train trip though Canada. From capturing the jaw-dropping beauty of the scenery stretching from British Columbia to Alberta, the train line offers five to six different routes that traverse through the Canadian Rockies; the most popular being the First Passage to the West route, a two day journey from Banff to Vancouver via Kamloops and Fraser Canyon.

Climbing into the Rockies from Jasper on the Rocky Mountaineer | Tony Hisgett/Flickr
Climbing into the Rockies from Jasper on the Rocky Mountaineer | Tony Hisgett/Flickr

The Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver) Route

To explore Canada from coast to coast, take this four-day, cross-country journey offered by VIARail. Cutting across picturesque scenery, passengers have the opportunity to enjoy a long and winding 4,500 km ride that encompasses the Canadian cities of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, complete with stops along the way. Cutting across picturesque scenery, passengers will also have the opportunity to witness the Rockies on the West Coast. It runs several days a week and offers tempting discounts during winter.

The Yukon and White Pass Railroad

The Yukon and White Pass railroad, built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, is a narrow gauge train connecting Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon, to the Alaskan port of Skagway. Its scenic journey coasts through Lake Bennett and Carcross, offering travellers an opportunity to dive deep into the history of the place and learn how it became known as ‘the railway built of gold’. It also traverses the White Pass Summit, the international border between United States and Canada. Due to challenging geographical conditions, it runs only between early May and late September.

White Pass and Yukon Route | Hans-Jürgen Hübner | Wikicommons
White Pass and Yukon Route | Hans-Jürgen Hübner | Wikicommons

The Winnipeg- Churchill Train

The Winnipeg-Churchill train, formerly known as the Hudson Bay, snakes from Winnipeg to Churchill, and is a two-day journey of awe and splendour in the Tundra. Enjoy polar bear spotting while soaking in the picturesque subarctic views, take in the scenic shoreline of Hudson Bay and meet the Beluga whales in the Churchill River . If you are lucky, you might even catch the dance of the northern lights in Churchill.

Northern lights dancing in a clear sky, near the Churchill Northern Studies Center | Emmanuel Milou/Flickr
Northern lights dancing in a clear sky, near the Churchill Northern Studies Center | Emmanuel Milou/Flickr

The Ontario Polar Bear Express

If you’re looking to travel off the beaten path, this is a line to try. On the Ontario Polar Bear Express, passengers have the opportunity to discover remote communities of the North and sample some local food and art during their journey. Riding from Cochrane to Moosonee in Northern Ontario, this trip is unique in that its service is a true ode to the traditional train journeys. Spend the night on the Moose Factory Island to experience the postcard perfect Canadian wilderness.

Ontario Northland | Jerry Huddleston|Flickr
Ontario Northland | Jerry Huddleston|Flickr

The Prairie Dog Central Railway

Travel back to simpler times on this steam rail train. The volunteer-run Prairie Dog Central operates from the Inkster Junction Station in Winnipeg. In this four-hour journey you will experience the Great Train Robbery first-hand, explore some vintage Canadian artifacts and sample some local produce from remote vendors. It runs every weekend from May to September. If you go in October, you can even board the Halloween Express.

Agawa Canyon Tour Train

Plunge into the heart of the Canadian wilderness and experience the unparalleled beauty of the Agawa Canyon Park with stunning views from Talus Trail and Bellevue Valley Trestle . On your journey, you will see some unique granite rock formations and mixed forests of the Canadian Shield. The breathtaking views from the Hubert Lake and Bridal Veil Falls will definitely quench your wanderlust. This train operates seasonally from June to October.

Agawa Canyon Park | Dustin M. Ramsey |Wikicommons
Agawa Canyon Park | Dustin M. Ramsey |Wikicommons