Canada by Train

Tour #1: September 5-16, 2018 • 12 Days • Price TBA
Tour #2: September 26-October 7, 2018 • 12 Days • Price TBA

Québec • Ontario • Manitoba • Saskatchewan • Alberta • British Columbia

Presenting our classic Canada by Train program, designed to bring you the very best of Canadian history, culture, and scenery!

NOTE: Tour #1 has 30 participants and has been confirmed. Once we receive 25 Early Birds for Tour #2, we’ll confirm this departure as well. Dates shown are projected, and the finalized dates and pricing will be available by September 2017.

Wonders of Québec Pre-tour

Pre-tour #1: August 31-September 5, 2018 • 6 Days • Price TBA

Pre-tour #2: September 21-26, 2018 • 6 Days • Price TBA

A pre-tour taking in the Wonders of Québec offers rich historical and cultural connections in Québec City and two cruises to experience the natural beauty of Saguenay Fjord and the St. Lawrence River. We then use the train to travel to Montréal for the start of the main tour.

Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this 2018 tour! An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!

View Daily Itinerary

Everyone seems to love the nostalgic grace of traveling by train. Certainly the VIA Rail Sleeper Plus Class service offered by our Canadian cousins promises an experience to enjoy in style and comfort, but it’s the walking element of this Adventure, as always, that makes it unique!

Out of a total of 11 nights crossing Canada on the main tour, we spend 4 on the train. The other 7 nights are spent in hotels strategically located to provide access to the essence of our neighbor to the North. The main tour starts in Montréal, second largest French-speaking metropolis on the planet. Moving on from Montréal, we explore the highlights of Toronto, Canada’s largest city; enjoy the amazing scenery of the Columbia Icefields Parkway in Alberta; view the wonders of Banff and Jasper National Parks in the fabulous Canadian Rockies; and revel in the delights of Vancouver, one of North America’s most scenically situated cities!

Highlights:

  • A day to explore French-speaking Montréal (Québec) and the attractions of Toronto (Ontario), Canada’s largest city
  • Rolling across the prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta aboard ViaRail, the classy Canadian rail service
  • A drive along the Icefield Parkway between Jasper and Banff—more magnificent mountain panoramas than the senses can absorb!

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Wonders of Québec Pre-tour

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • Train travel in business class between Québec City and Montreal
  • Superior tourist-class (3-star or better) hotel accommodations in Québec City and Tadoussac
  • All breakfasts and a selection of lunches and dinners as noted (BLD)
  • All listed walks
  • Fees for walking credit (if CVF approved)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of local guides
  • Two WAI tour leaders throughout
  • All tipping for local guides, coach drivers, and group meals
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Visits to:

  • Guided walk in Québec City
  • Saguenay Fjord National Park
  • Fjord cruise on Saguenay Fjord from L’Anse-Saint-Jean to Sainte Rose du Nord
  • Guided St. Lawrence River whale watching cruise in zodiac boat
  • Québec cheese tasting in Charlevoix
  • Montmorency Falls
  • Guided Montreal Food Tour

Optional Excursion:

  • Grosse Ile (Day 1)

Canada by Train

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class (3-star or better) hotel accommodations in Montreal, Toronto, Jasper, Banff, and Vancouver
  • All breakfasts and a selection of lunches and dinners as noted (BLD)
  • All listed walks
  • Fees for walking credit (if CVF approved)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of local guides in Montreal and Toronto, and driver/guides in Alberta
  • Two WAI tour leaders throughout
  • All tipping for local guides, coach drivers, and group meals

Visits to:

  • Guided walk in Montreal (Québec)
  • Guided tour of Notre-Dame Basilica (Québec)
  • Ferry to Toronto Island Park (Ontario)
  • Guided city tour by coach in Toronto (Ontario)
  • Athabasca Falls along the Icefields Parkway (Alberta)
  • Athabasca Glacier Snocoach ride (Alberta)
  • Jasper and Banff National Parks (Alberta)
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Optional Excursions:

  • Montreal Food Tour (Day 1)
  • Sunshine Meadows Hike (Day 9)

All Train Travel:

  • VIA Rail’s Business Class from Montreal to Toronto – DAYTRIP
  • VIA Rail’s Canadian Sleeper Plus Class from Toronto to Vancouver – 4 NIGHTS

“We enjoy Scott’s leadership, patience, balance, & kindness/courtesy…Overall, the hotel breakfasts, restaurants, and the train meals were wonderful; a nice variety, consistently hearty breakfasts, with lots of fruit choices…Walking and visiting the cities, national and local parks, nature preserves, historic districts, markets, and other attractions are the primary reasons we are avid WAI customers (and rabid promoters)…Traveling by train, sleeping in the two-person cabins, walking the cars, relaxing in the panorama cars and business lounge were all a fantastic experience…Cindy and I thoroughly enjoyed train travel in Canada!”

-Jack P; St Louis, MO


“The walks were excellent…The folks on tour were fun. Your guides/leaders were true professionals.”

-James G; Alexandria, VA


“This is my 5th trip with WAI – and NOT my last!…The weather, the scenery, and the Canadian Rockies were all super…Jana, Roger and Scott couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful.”

-Stella E; Purvis, MS


“Walks were all outstanding…Enjoyed the entire tour; Great leaders! Additional tour guides were always good but Toronto guide was very good…Food tour was outstanding.”

-Steve L; Clarkston, WA


“Great trip! I have always wanted to take the train across Canada. This trip has made the wish come true. Loved it! … Guides on both Toronto & Manitoba walks were great. I like that local people are part of our walking experience – Montreal also great guides.”

-Kathleen I; San Lorenzo, CA


“Of our 30 trips with you, this ranks near the top of our experiences. Thank you for everything. You are a great team to travel with…Foodie tour a super idea!”

-John & Shari S; Cheney, WA


“Truly enjoyed the entire adventure…Too many highlights to list.”

-Deborah V; Asheville, NC


“The WAI guides were GREAT! … As usual WAI came through with their quality adventures…The guides are caring & just great, carefully planned walks to experience new places, people & new cultures.”

-Thelma Y; Spokane, WA


What characteristics of our tours prompted you to join us again? “Walking; excellent planning and background info throughout the trip.”

-June B; Manzanita, OR


What characteristics of our tours prompted you to join us again? – “Excellent planning, using our time efficiently – visiting places along the way that were genuine treats & surprises – places I couldn’t find myself…The Sunshine Meadows walk was amazing…Loved all the waterfalls, rivers, & mountains.”

-Valerie N; Camano Island, WA


“I had no idea how the train would be & was very pleased. The crew was great. Food was high quality. Toronto Island was a nice surprise – away from the city, but only a stone throw away…The extra challenge is an addition I look forward to – Sunshine Meadows. I love the mountains & this was such beauty. God always amazes me!!!!”

-Monica G; Prince George, VA


“The scenery was wonderful! The snowmobile to the glacier & getting out on the glacier – awesome! Loved Michael’s (bus driver) stories & humor. Scott, Jana & Roger could not have been more helpful or caring. I really liked all our guides & their humor & information.”

-Sarah H; Keller, TX


“Guides were superb.”

-Helen G; Alexandria, VA

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class (3 star) hotels or better

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Not Included. Travelers will be met at the starting hotel.

Transportation

Transportation included aboard VIA Rail’s Business Class and Sleeper Plus Class, in addition to full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Walking Adventures Guides Roger & Jana Dorway on Canada by Train Walking Tour

Roger and Jana Dorway. Roger’s business background connecting buyers and sellers, and Jana’s career as a teacher provide this couple with a gift for connecting with people. They have always appreciated the experiential, paradigm-expanding value of travel, and have been privileged to explore destinations on 4 continents. Since retirement, they’ve increased their commitment to discovering the world, fostering a growing desire to share cultural and historical insights as part of the WAI guide team. Roger & Jana look forward to sharing Canada by Train with you!

Itinerary

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Wonders of Québec Pre-tour

Day 1: Arrive Québec City, Québec

The Adventure begins in Québec City, considered by many the most “European” city in North America.  Travelers flying into Québec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport will find taxi service the most convenient means of transport to our hotel situated conveniently on the edge of the historic district. Old Québec earned a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List due largely to the fact that it is the only city on the continent to have preserved its colonial fortifications. Our first group activity is a Welcome Orientation Meeting in the hotel at 7:30 pm this evening.

NOTE: An optional all day excursion to the Parks Canada National Historic Site Grosse Ile is offered for travelers who opt to arrive in Québec City one day early. Grosse Ile was a 19th century immigration island (similar in some ways to Ellis Island) with a poignant story to tell during a dramatic period of mass immigration into North America and the development of controls over infectious disease. More details will be provided in the Adventure Advice document to travelers who register for this tour. Minimum of 10 participants required to offer this excursion.

Day 2: Activities in Québec City (B)

Historic Québec Walk – 10 km, rated 2B

The entire day is devoted to exploring historic, charming Québec City with a walk starting from our hotel. Québec was founded by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th century and became capital of New France until the history-changing British victory at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Our route wanders through lovely Battlefields Park and along Dufferin Terrace past Le Château Frontenac, said to be the world’s most photographed hotel. Petit-Champlain is a delightful pedestrian area in Lower Town; nearby Place Royale, with its romantic cobblestone square and outdoor cafés, contains the city’s oldest buildings. Opportunities for food, photography, people-watching, and window-shopping are endless on this walk.

Day 3: Québec City to Tadoussac, Québec (BD)

Our motorcoach takes us north today to Saguenay Fjord National Park. The tiny fjord-side town of L’Anse-Saint-Jean is our embarkation point for a cruise through the fjord past Cap Trinité, highest point in the fjord at 1,150 feet above sea level. We dock at Sainte Rose du Nord, another picturesque village on the fjord’s north bank, and continue by bus to Tadoussac, at the confluence of Saguenay Fjord and the St. Lawrence River. Tadoussac was France’s first trading post on the mainland of New France and claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in Canada.

Day 4: Activities from Tadoussac (B)

Tadoussac Bay Walk – 5 km, rated 2B

We devote our morning to a relaxed walk through striking pine-studded granite outcroppings offering stunning viewpoints of the mouth of Saguenay Fjord and the perfect crescent beach of Tadoussac Bay.  Following lunch on our own, we amp up the adventure with an afternoon whale watching cruise in a small, Zodiac-styled vessel. We motor into the confluence of the Saguenay Fjord and the St. Lawrence River estuary where underwater topography and the flow of fresh water into the relatively salty water of the St. Lawrence creates a smorgasbord for hungry whales. Belugas are frequently seen and sightings of minke whales and humpbacks are quite common. Even the world’s largest mammal, the blue whale, is sometimes spotted.

Day 5: Tadoussac to Québec City (B)

Our return route to Québec City snakes along the scenic St. Lawrence River through quiet French-speaking communities and past friendly fromageries, one of which we will visit briefly for a sample of famous Québec cheeses. The highlight of the day, a stop at Montmorency Falls, allows us to stretch our legs at the highest waterfall in the province of Québec – nearly 100 feet higher than Niagara! The balance of the afternoon is free to enjoy the delightful historic center of Québec City from the same hotel in which we started the tour.

Day 6: Depart for Montréal, Québec: By Train (BL)

An early-morning wake-up call beckons us to our first train ride. Breakfast is served to our business class seats en route to Montréal, where we are joined by an enthusiastic local food expert. Montréal is one of Canada’s major immigration hubs, and its food scene reflects a delightful and harmonious blend of cultures from around the world. Our “foodie” tour starts with a walk in the historic district and continues along a major thoroughfare lined with dozens of ethnic neighborhoods inviting us to sample an astonishing diversity of delicious fare. This evening we join travelers arriving for the start of the Canada by Train walking adventure at our hotel in the heart of historic Montréal!

Canada by Train

Day 1: Arrive Montréal, Québec

Montréal serves as starting point for our Canada by Train Adventure. Our first official activity is a Welcome Orientation this evening at our hotel. Those arriving early, however, may wish to join the Pre-tour group as they sample a delicious array of Montréal’s ethnic food on a multi-faceted walking and motorcoach “foodie” introduction to the city.

Day 2: Activities in Montréal (B)

Montréal Lachine Canal & Old Town – 6 km, rated 1B
Mount Royal Park Walk – 4 km, rated 2A

Our guided morning walk begins at Montréal’s colorful Atwater Market, along historic Lachine Canal. Dating back to the 1850s, the canal was instrumental in opening up North America’s interior to trans-Atlantic shipping. Though New York’s Erie Canal ultimately won the battle of canals, Lachine Canal allowed Montréal to become, for a time, the second-busiest port in North America. This pleasant route wanders past architectural remnants of the canal’s glory days. We finish in Montréal’s lively historic district with a tour of Notre-Dame Basilica and free time for lunch. Outstanding panoramas and pleasant park walking await us at Mount Royal Park, designed by Frederick Olmsted, the prolific landscape engineer who also planned New York’s Central Park.

Day 3: Montréal to Toronto, Ontario: By Train (BL)

CN Tower Walk – 2.5 km, rated 1B

All aboard VIA Rail’s train service to Toronto this morning! Our business class seats come with a delicious lunch served as we roll towards Canada’s largest city. After checking into our centrally-located Toronto hotel, join us for an exploratory walk to the CN Tower, tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere at over 1800 feet in height. Options for the evening include riding the elevator to the top, enjoying an overpriced meal with unforgettable views in the 360 Restaurant, learning about Toronto’s railroading history on a stroll through Roundhouse Park, and enjoying the sporting ambiance of the Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays’ baseball stadium, directly beneath the CN Tower. Abundant dinner options line the route back to our hotel.

Day 4: Activities in Toronto: Train across Ontario (BD)

Toronto Island Park Walk – 8 km, rated 1A

Today’s walk includes a ferry ride across Toronto Harbour to Toronto Island Park. Eclectic old neighborhoods hidden in stands of cottonwood, panoramas over massive Lake Ontario, and an appealing assortment of parks, marinas, and green spaces combine with stunning views of the Toronto skyline to make an unforgettable walking experience. Back on Toronto’s mainland, we finish the walk at St. Lawrence Market with free time for lunch. Following lunch, a local historian shares the story of this fascinating market, rated #1 in the world by National Geographic, then takes us on a guided coach tour of Toronto’s highlights. After an action-packed day in Canada’s largest city, we dine together at a fun local eatery, then gather our belongings from the hotel for a short stroll to the train station. VIA Rail’s Canadian train departs for an overnight passage into the Prairie Provinces.

Day 5: Ontario to Manitoba: By Train (BLD)

After a full schedule in eastern Canada, we spend a relaxing day aboard the Canadian train as our rolling hotel takes us toward Winnipeg. At breakfast, your table is surrounded by the picturesque lake lands of southern Ontario. Late morning and afternoon afford the tranquil delights of train travel: take in Canadian prairie panoramas in the Observation Deck, relax with a book in the Bullet Lounge, or chat with friends in the welcoming armchairs of your sleeper car as Canada’s prairie scenes roll past oversized picture windows.

Day 6: Manitoba to Saskatchewan: By Train (BLD)

Winnipeg Forks Walk – 10 km, rated 1A

Train schedules permitting, travelers may enjoy a slice of Winnipeg this morning with the Forks walk, sponsored by the Windy City Wanderers club. The route features the Assiniboine River Walk and The Forks. Once an ancient meeting place at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, The Forks is now an eclectic market and attractive collection of restaurants. Back aboard the Canadian, indulge in the relaxing rhythms of train travel while rolling across the prairies into Saskatchewan. Anticipate being rocked to sleep again tonight in the haven of your quarters – transformed by the crew from sitting room to bed, pillows fluffed and blankets turned down.

Day 7: Arrive Jasper, Alberta by train (Brunch)

Beauvert Lake Walk – 4 km, rated 1B
Maligne Canyon Walk – 4 km, rated 2C

As brunch is served on board, we watch the flat expanse of Alberta’s prairies transition into the geological wonder of the Rocky Mountains. After disembarkation in Jasper, the remainder of the day is devoted to exploring Jasper National Park, one of Canada’s most scenic treasure troves. Our first walk takes us past rustic but elegant Jasper Park Lodge on an easy but stunning loop around Beauvert Lake, where stunning mountain vistas abound and elk sightings are common. The fun continues a short bus ride away as our second walk descends along the dramatic edge of Maligne Canyon, one of the Canadian Rockies’ most intriguing canyons.  Laced with waterfalls, jaw-dropping bridge crossings, and underground streams emerging from nowhere, this late afternoon stroll will leave you hungry for even more of Alberta’s myriad of wonders. Following check-in at our Jasper hotel, the remainder of the evening is free to enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 8: Jasper to Banff, Alberta (B)

Lake Louise Walk – 5 km, rated 1A (unsanctioned)

Bidding farewell to Jasper this morning, we travel by coach along one of the planet’s most breathtaking mountain drives – the Icefields Parkway.  First stop on this scenic sojourn is a fantastic photo stop at thunderous Athabasca Falls. Continuing south to the mighty Columbia Icefields, we board a snocoach and enjoy a fabulous opportunity to walk directly on Athabasca Glacier! Mid-afternoon motoring brings us to the idyllic shores of Lake Louise where we walk along the shoreline of this shimmering blue mountain gem, soaking up picture-postcard views of Victoria Glacier and iconic Chateau Lake Louise.  Following this dazzling day of sensory overload, we arrive at our destination–the resort town of Banff.  Many dinner options are available within a short walking distance of our hotel.

Day 9: Activities in Banff (B)

Banff Walk – 7 km, rated 2B
Optional Sunshine Meadows Hike – 7 km, rated 3B (unsanctioned)

All day is devoted to enjoying this charming mountain resort. We start with a morning walk that explores the wonderful downtown area, including beautiful Bow River Falls and Banff Springs Lodge. The afternoon is open to enjoy Banff’s multitude of irresistible shops and galleries. Consider joining us for a one-of-a-kind optional, high-alpine hike at nearby Sunshine Meadows, rated by Lonely Planet as the #1 Day Hike in Canada. Straddling the Continental Divide on the border of Alberta and British Columbia, these meadows are surrounded by some of the Rockies’ highest peaks and offer pristine trails set at the top of the world (about 7,300 FASL) amongst stands of autumn larches and stunning alpine lakes.

Day 10: Banff to Jasper: Overnight on Train (BD)

An early morning departure by coach takes us north along the Icefields Parkway for a second chance to drink in Rocky Mountain majesty on our return to Jasper. Along the way, we enjoy picturesque photo stops at terrifically turquoise Peyto Lake and powerful Sunwapta Falls. Following lunch on our own in Jasper, we board the early afternoon Canadian train for the last leg of our train journey to Vancouver.  Dinner as we travel west provides one more dose of Canadian mountain magic as we travel from the Rockies into the Columbia Mountains, magnificent and majestic in their own right.

Day 11: Arrive Vancouver, British Columbia: By Train (BD)

Stanley Park Walk – 10 km, rated 1A

An after-breakfast arrival in Vancouver, B.C. leaves the majority of the day to enjoy this picturesque Canadian coastal city. Considered North America’s third largest urban park, Stanley Park offers a Seawall Walk that encircles the peninsula and provides wonderful views of downtown Vancouver, the Burrard Inlet, Lion’s Gate Bridge, and English Bay. The late afternoon is free to enjoy the downtown area of Vancouver before we rendezvous for our Farewell Dinner this evening.

Day 12: Return home from Vancouver (B)

We say farewell to friends old and new, returning home with a new appreciation for the breadth of history, culture, and scenery offered by our neighbor to the North, as we explored Canada by Train.

More Details

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure.

First Time Traveler Savings

In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $200 credit on domestic tours in the USA and Canada!

Group Travel Credit

Start a Group of 5 or more to receive a discount on this Adventure!

Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.

How is airfare arranged?

The official start point for the Wonders of Québec pre-tour is Québec City, Québec (airport code YQB).  The official start point for Canada by Train main tour is Montréal, Québec (airport code YUL).  The end point for both tours is Vancouver, British Columbia (airport code YVR). More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be made available after this itinerary has been finalized.

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system, provided by the American Volkssport Association (AVA), which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain.  The explanation for this system is presented below.

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

What happens next?

We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.

If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.

For now, we invite you to pull up a chair, grab a cup of java, and imagine the train lover’s experience of a lifetime…Canada by Train!