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Getting Around in Canada
 
 
 

By Air

Destinations throughout Canada are served by Air Canada (www.aircanada.com), with main hubs at Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. It operates mostly on longer routes. Shorter, regional feeder routes are served by partner airline Air Canada Jazz (website: www.flyjazz.ca).

Calgary-based low-cost airline WestJet (www.westjet.com) is Canada’s third-largest airline and serves more than 20 points in Canada from its main hubs of Calgary and Toronto and secondary hubs. Other regional carriers include Yukon-based Air North (www.flyairnorth.com) and a host of small outfits serving remote communities and wilderness areas.

By Sea/Lake/River

Canada has many thousands of miles of navigable rivers and canals, a vast number of lakes and an extensive coastline. The whole country is well served by all manner of boats and ships, particularly the east and west coasts, where the ferries are fast, frequent and good value. The St. Lawrence Seaway provides passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.

The main ferry operator is BC Ferries (www.bcferries.com). It runs a number of services linking British Columbia’s mainland with Vancouver Island as well as a route to the Queen Charlotte Islands and another through the Inside Passage.

By Rail

VIA Rail Canada (www.viarail.ca) operates extensive services across Canada. The regional railways are Algoma Central (operates the Agawa Canyon Tour Train), British Columbia Railway, Great Canadian Railtour Company (operates the Rocky Mountaineer and Whistler Mountaineer), Ontario Northland (operates the Northlander, Little Bear, Polar Bear Express and Dream Catcher Express trains), Québec North Shore & Labrador, Tshiuetin Rail Transportation, Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway and White Pass & Yukon Route.

VIA Rail operates a Western transcontinental service (the Canadian) between Toronto (Ontario) and Vancouver (British Columbia), running three times weekly east and west, transiting Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Jasper. Passengers are drawn to this route by the spectacular scenery of the three mountain ranges which are passed en route – the Rockies, the Selkirks and the Coastal. The route also features views of ancient glaciers, large lakes and waterfalls. The journey takes three days and all trains operating on this route include showers in the sleeping cars. The transcontinental service can be accessed by regular services from the Atlantic provinces and from Québec City and Montréal.

Rapid intercity services are available between Québec, Montréal, Halifax, Toronto, Windsor and Ottawa. On these journeys, the fare price includes a meal, snacks and drinks. VIA Rail also operates an overnight Eastern transcontinental service (the Ocean) between Montréal (Québec) and Halifax (Nova Scotia). Long-distance trains are extremely comfortable, with full restaurant services, air conditioning and spacious reclining seats. Other trains it operates include Edmonton-Jasper (the Snow Train Express) in winter, Jasper-Prince Rupert (the Skeena), Victoria-Courtenay (the Malahat) and Winnipeg-Churchill (the Hudson Bay).

The Rocky Mountaineer service (www.rockymountaineer.com) runs from April to October and offers the opportunity to travel between Calgary, Banff and Vancouver, or Jasper and Vancouver, during daylight hours, enabling passengers to view the extraordinary passing scenery. The Whistler Mountaineer (www.whistlermountaineer.com) operates from North Vancouver to Whistler, taking three hours. It links on to Rocky Mountaineer’s Fraser Discovery Route, which takes two days and goes from Whistler to Jasper, with an overnight stay in old gold mining town Quesnel.


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