Cropped Canadian train moose lake VIA Rail
Passengers traveling on the Canadian train
Lake on the Canadian train
Dining car on the Canadian train
Exterior of the Canadian trains

The Canadian

North America
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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.

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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™.


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.

IRT Insights

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.

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