Great Canadian Rail Journey

Holiday Highlights

  • Travel along VIA rails 'Ocean' and 'Corridor' routes
  • Visit several of Canada's UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Rail to La Malbaie along the St. Lawrence River
  • 4-day journey on VIA rails famous 'Canadian'
  • Free time to explore Old Montreal and Québec City
  • Time at leisure in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver
  • Overnight travel in a private cabin with meals included

January 2019 saw the launch of Michael Portillo’s new BBC ‘Great Railways’ series which saw him explore Alaska and Canada by train. This 16-day tour captures elements of the journey he takes in in the Great Canadian Railway Journeys series. It takes you from the Atlantic port of Halifax, Nova Scotia to vibrant Vancouver in British Columbia. En route you will experience the magnificent Canadian Rockies, the beauty of the St Lawrence River, stunning scenery along VIA Rail’s Corridor route and the bustling cities of Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.


Day 1 – London to Halifax

Fly direct from Heathrow to Nova Scotia's capital.

Day 2 – Halifax at Leisure

Enjoy a day exploring this bustling maritime city. Why not take a stroll down the 4km long Harbour walk which winds along the colourful waterfront. Explore the Citadel with its distinctive Clock Tower and be reminded of the city's rich past.

Day 3 – Nova Scotia to Québec

This afternoon, board the VIA rail train to Montreal, travelling along the Maritime Way through Truro, Amherst and Moncton. Overnight onboard in an Economy reclining seat or a Sleeper Plus Cabin for Two. In the latter, all meals are included in the price of your ticket and priority reserved sitting is given in the dining car.

Day 4 – Morning Arrival into Montreal

Montreal was a favourite of Portillo's, he was particularly taken with the 'Frenchness' of the culture.
Expect the French language to be spoken and French cuisine to be served. Old Montreal is picturesque and full of character; some of the buildings date back to the 1600s.

Day 5 – Rail to Québec City

Choose from a morning or lunchtime departure for your journey along the St. Lawrence River to Québec City. The old town here is a UNESCO World Heritage site; a living museum of narrow cobblestone streets, 17th and 18th Century houses and soaring church spires, with the splendid Château Frontenac towering above it all.

Day 6 – Train de Charlevoix

The riverside rail line beyond Québec City was closed to passengers for many years, it now runs as a tourist railway to Baie St Paul and onto La Malbaie. As Montmorency Falls station is out of the town, a shuttle bus runs in summer (included).

Day 7 – Onto Ottawa

Continue by rail along the Corridor route to Ottawa this morning, arriving in time to start exploring Canada's capital.

Day 8 – Ottawa at Leisure

There are plenty of sights to see, including Parliament Hill, the setting of the daily ‘Changing of the Guard’, ByWard Market and the Rideau Canal, another UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 9 – Train to Toronto

Carry on down the Corridor route today to Toronto, there are several services daily. Toronto is a vibrant city, buzzing with activity and packed full of museums and galleries. If city life isn't your thing, take a ferry out to the islands on Lake Ontario for stunning views of the city skyline.

Day 10 – The Canadian

After a day at leisure, board this famous train which runs all the way across Western Canada to Vancouver, taking 4 days. You may wish to break up the journey en route, just remember that there are only two trains a week in each direction.

Days 11 & 12 – Sioux Lookout to Edmonton

Breathtaking forests, rivers and fauna; that's what this route is all about. If you opt to travel in Sleeper Plus Class, you will have a roomy armchair, a comfortable cabin for 1-4 people, access to an in-car shower and the panorama car and all of your meals included to enjoy along the way. It is possible to disembark in Winnipeg to travel up to Churchill along one of VIA's Adventure routes. This journey takes an additional 3 days and 2 nights each way and may need additional nights in Winnipeg and Churchill to fit in with the train schedules.

Day 13 – Jasper to Kamloops

The train arrives into Jasper this morning for a day's travel through the Canadian Rockies. Sit back and take in the spectacular scenery.

Day 14 – Morning Arrival into Vancouver

Arrive in time for a full day to discover the sights of this beautiful and vibrant city. There is plenty to see and do in Vancouver from boat trips to helicopter rides, shopping, restaurants or simply a walk through Stanley Park.

Days 15 & 16 – Fly Home

After another day soaking up everything this city has to offer. This evening, fly direct back to London Heathrow, arriving late morning.

Alternatively, you may wish to extend your trip with a Rocky Mountaineer package, such as their 'Journey Through the Clouds' which we can also book for you.

Please note, the Ocean route, Train de Charlevoix and The Canadian do not operate every day. Additional nights may be needed to fit in with the rail schedules.

Selected Hotels

The Hollis DoubleTree Suites, Halifax

Le Square Philips Hotel, Montreal

Hôtel Champlain Vieux Québec, Quebec City

Novotel City Centre, Ottawa

Fairmont Royal York, Toronto

BW Plus Chateau Granville, Vancouver

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Direct flights in economy with Air Canada (upgrades available), 1 piece of checked luggage included per person
  • All daytime rail travel as stated in economy class (upgrades available)
  • All overnight rail travel in VIA Sleeper Plus Class
  • Full day excursion on the Train de Charlevoix, including the shuttle from and to the city centre
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a room-only basis

Price per person

Quotes available upon request

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


24/7 Support


Ffestiniog Travel provides 'out of hours' support for all independent travellers in the event of an emergency.

Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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