Canada’s railways, operated by government-run VIA Rail , are a pillar of the country’s late 19th- and early 20th-century history. Impressive feats of engineering, the railways united the nation, delivered news and supplies to isolated communities and brought prosperity and mobility to the masses.
While passenger services may have dwindled since their high point in the 1940s, a well-oiled transcontinental rail network still spans the country's entire breadth from Vancouver in the west to Halifax in the east.
Outside the Toronto–Montreal commuter corridor, the trains remain a perennial favorite with tourists, slow travelers and those looking to sit back in a comfy carriage and absorb an endless conveyor belt of dramatic scenery.
Here are four of the best overnight train journeys in Canada you won’t want to miss.
4466km (2775 miles), 94 hours
When The Canadian debuted in 1955, the flagship train was a prime example of post-war railway style. Stainless steel carriages outfitted with art-deco furnishings, 360-degree observatory domes and spacious sleeping cars were The Canadian's calling card. Except for a few sporadic refurbishments, little has changed in the years since.
The train offers three different classes: Economy (seat only), Sleeper Plus (sleeping berth) and Prestige (private compartment). In contrast to planes, reclining seats are large with plenty of legroom; bathrooms are invariably well-scrubbed, and musicians, presenters and wine tastings break up the journey.
The luxury sleeper train’s restaurant offers gourmet meals from prime rib of beef to pan-roasted halibut, plus alcoholic beverages to sip while the train rocks and sways through the countryside.
Heading east, The Canadian departs late on the Vancouver -to-Toronto leg, so travelers have to wait until the following day to enjoy the scenery: flashes of evergreen British Columbian forests, mountain peaks (including – if you’re lucky – Mt Robson, the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak), dozens of river valleys and waterfalls, and animals like grazing elks, moose and, maybe, a bear or two (train staff will announce sightings).
The train passes throughMt Robson Provincial Park andJasper National Park, where it stops for 90 minutes in the mountain town of Jasper. The scenery from here on flattens out with the line bisecting vast prairie land that continues for hours – across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, also known as the breadbasket of Canada.
Yellow canola flowers, hemp and flax form massive carpets of color. Wooden grain elevators stand like track sentinels against the flat landscape where – locals joke – they can see a stray dog running away for three days. Finally, the train rattles into Toronto, where this mammoth
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Canada introduced tax measures on Tuesday to ease a severe rental housing shortage by limiting income tax deductions on short-term rentals on services such as Airbnb Inc and Vrbo, joining many countries that are enacting similar laws.
With just under 40 million inhabitants across more than nine million square kilometers of land, it’s no secret that Canada is one of the least-densely populated nations on the planet—yet it’s not just humans that call this vast expanse home. From the shores of Vancouver Island to the coast of Newfoundland, this sprawling country is absolutely brimming with birds, with no shortage of dazzling passerines, waterfowl, and raptors thriving across its borders. And for any seasoned birders hoping to add another species to their life list, the following Canadian birding festivals offer a truly unforgettable experience in the heart of one of North America’s most charming countries.
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