The Canadian is VIA Rail Canada’s flagship train. It runs between Toronto and Vancouver three times a week, traveling 2,775 miles.
VIA Rail Canada was officially founded in the 1970s to fill its nation’s need for quality passenger rail service. A country with a rich history in trains, Canada’s citizens and international rail buffs alike still enjoy The Canadian’s gleaming silver cars and luxurious service.
The consist varies in length depending on the season, with more cars included during the popular summer months. The entire train accommodates a maximum of 272 passengers, although exclusive access to public cars and priority seating in the dining car make the Prestige Class experience feel much more intimate. A maximum of 26 passengers can be accommodated in two Prestige Class cars (IRT’s recommended level of service).
Latest News: Read Track 25, our blog, for the latest news on The Canadian and more of our World’s Top 25 Trains™.
IRT recommends Prestige Class so you can have a large, private room (about 70 square feet) and the many perks listed below.
Read about Prestige Class on our blog, Track 25.
The Prestige Class cabin has a modular L-shaped couch that converts to a large double bed at night, as well as en-suite bathroom including shower, sink and toilet. Introduced in 2015, Prestige Classrooms are 50% larger than Doubles and have windows 60% bigger. These cabins are approximately 70 square feet in size (including bathroom). Also included in the Prestige Class fare are the following amenities:
- Unlimited free drinks (including alcoholic drinks)
- Concierge service
- All meals included in the dining car
- First choice for meal sittings
- Reserved seating in the Park Car
- Priority check-in and boarding and expedited baggage handling
- Turn-down service
- Fully stocked mini-bar and fridge
Sleeper Plus Cabin for 2
A Sleeper Plus Cabin for 2 is about 36 square feet, not including the private en suite toilet and sink. Each bedroom features two armchairs that collapse at night to make way for the two bunks (one upper/one lower), a small closet, electrical outlet and mirror. A small table can be set up for you upon request. The shower is down the hall. Our most recent travelers on this train in general loved it — but managing the ladder at night to get down to the bathroom was a challenge. IRT does not recommend these accommodations for two sharing passengers.
Sleeper Plus Cabin for 1
This is a roomette designed for one person. The room is roughly 24 square feet. During the day, there is a comfortable seat, sink and toilet. At night, the seat folds into a bed that takes up just about all the room and covers the toilet. Shared shower and toilet are down the hall. Many of IRT’s single travelers say this is much too small for them; they don’t like their toilet covered up by the bed; they book single use of a double cabin instead.
This is a chair that makes up into a bed that is 5 feet 10 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide. By day, the chair faces another chair. At night, these are upper and lower berths. These berths have curtains for privacy. Public washroom, toilet and shower are shared. IRT does not recommend these accommodations.
All meals are included when you book sleeping accommodations on board The Canadian. For dinner, there are three seatings, served with china, silver and linen, and featuring Canadian wines. Our recent travelers thought the meals were excellent and the service friendly and professional. (Alcoholic beverages are additional outside of Prestige Class.)
Breakfast times are at leisure, while lunch and dinner are assigned seatings.
2019 ushered in a newly revised dining menu, one based on customer feedback and improved culinary refinement. Passengers select from three or four lunch and dinner courses at each sitting. All vegetarian options are now fully vegan-based.
Prestige guests have exclusive use of the signature Park Car. There are several dome cars on each departure of The Canadian, dubbed “skyline cars.” But, the Park Car’s upper-level domed windows and lower-level windowed caboose lounge are our highest recommendation. It is indeed memorable to enjoy an after-dinner drink watching the stars.
VIA Rail offers passage to local musicians and hobbyists in exchange for on-board performances. Keep an ear open to the train’s PA system or ask your attendant if any shows will be happening during your trip. Peak season travelers may enjoy complimentary beer and wine tastings or informational events hosted by an Activity Coordinator, such as “Railway 101” on how to read rail signs along the route.
Feeling hungry between meals? Each skyline, or domed car, has sweet and savory snacks within a small kitchen area. The foremost skyline car contains a full kitchen for those Economy passengers who don’t have access to the train’s dining cars.
You can combine The Canadian with the Rocky Mountaineer in IRT’s cross-country tour package: the Trans-Canada Rail Adventure.
There is no smoking permitted on board.
Dress on board the train is casual. Long pants and a polo or dress shirt are good for both gentlemen and ladies alike. Blazers or sports coats are fine if you like to dress up. You won’t find formal dresses or tuxedos in attendance. Ladies may wish to take a shawl or sweater in case they get cool.
We highly recommend that you check most of your baggage. You’re allowed a maximum of 2 carry-on bags in your room, but we recommend taking just one.