A VIA Rail train from Toronto to Montreal

A VIA Rail train at Toronto:  It's the civilised way to go between Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec...

 

Train travel in Canada...

Canadian long-distance trains are run by VIA Rail Canada, www.viarail.ca (click 'home' top right).  They're a great way to see the country, whether you travel on the inter-city trains between Toronto, Montréal and Québec, the Océan from Montréal  to Halifax or Canada's classic trans-continental train, The Canadian from Toronto to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper & Vancouver.  As well as VIA Rail, there's the excellent Rocky Mountaineer through the Rockies between Vancouver & Banff, Calgary or Jasper.  This page explains routes, timetables, prices & what the trains are like.

COVID-19 update:  Inter-city trains between Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec are running.  Masks must be worn.  The Toronto-Winnipeg-Vancouver 'Canadian' & Montreal-Halifax 'Ocean' were suspended until November 2020, this suspension has now been extended until further notice, although the Canadian is now running between Winnipeg to Vancouver.

Train times, fares & tickets...

small bullet point  Map of train routes in Canada

small bullet point  VIA Rail Canadian, Toronto - Winnipeg - Jasper - Vancouver

small bullet point  VIA Rail Océan, Montreal - Halifax

small bullet point  VIA Rail intercity trains Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal - Québec

small bullet point  Toronto - Niagara Falls by VIA Rail or Go Transit

small bullet point  Vancouver - Victoria & Seattle by bus, train or ferry

small bullet point  New York - Toronto & New York - Montreal

small bullet point  Other Canadian train routes

small bullet point  Railpasses for Canada

small bullet point  How to travel from Europe to Canada by ship

small bullet point  Hotels & accommodation in Canada

On other pages...

small bullet point  Rocky Mountaineer  Vancouver - Banff/Jasper

small bullet point  Train travel in the USA

Interactive map:  Click a route...

Canada train routes


large bullet pointUseful country information

Train operator in Canada:

VIA Rail, www.viarail.ca for train times, fares & online booking (click 'home' top right).

Other train operators:  Ontario Northland,  Rocky Mountaineer, Algoma Central

Railpasses:

Buy a Canadian railpass

Time:

Montreal/Toronto GMT-5, Halifax GMT-4, Vancouver GMT-8.  Clocks go forward 1 hour from 2nd Sunday in March to 1st Sunday in November.

Dialling code:

+1       Recommended guidebooks

Currency:

£1 = approx Can$1.70  $1 = approx Can$1.30   Check exchange rates

Hotels & flights:

Hotels in Canada    Find a flight to Canada   Hotel reviews, see www.tripadvisor.com

Tourist information:

www.canadatourism.com  Montréal: www.tourism-montreal.org   Toronto: www.city.toronto.on.ca   Vancouver: www.tourismvancouver.com  Québec: www.bonjourquebec.com  Nova Scotia: www.novascotia.com.

Page last updated:

22 April 2021


large bullet pointToronto - Winnipeg - Vancouver

VIA Rail's Canadian:  See the Canadian page...

The greatest train in Canada and one of the world's greatest train journeys, VIA Rail's Canadian runs 2 or 3 times a week, linking Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper National Park in the Rockies & Vancouver.  See the Canadian page for times, fares, how to buy tickets & a guide to the train and the journey.

The rear of the Canadian, stopped at Sioux Lookout

Park car Prince Albert Park brings up the rear of VIA 1, the Canadian, at Sioux Lookout...

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large bullet pointMontreal - Halifax

VIA Rail's Ocean:  See the Ocean page...

Three times a week, a train runs the 836 miles between Montreal and Halifax Nova Scotia.  See times, fares, info, and an illustrated account of the journey on the Montreal to Halifax page.

Montreal station

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large bullet pointToronto - Ottawa - Montreal - Quebec

VIA Rail's inter-city trains between Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec...

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "There's no need to fly.  Comfortable VIA Rail inter-city trains link Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec, centre to centre with no airport hassle.  If your budget permits, upgrade to VIA's Business Class with complimentary hot meal and wine, attentive steward service and access to the Business Lounges at major stations.  It impressed me, it's as good as anything we have here in Europe."  From October 2019 only credit cards are accepted as payment on board, not cash.

Toronto to Montréal by train in 4 hours 40 minutes, centre to centre.   Watch the video

VIA Rail's fast inter-city trains link Toronto, Ottawa & Montréal.  Montréal to Toronto takes as little as 4 hours 40 minutes city centre to city centre.  Use the times below as a guide and check exact train times for your date of travel at www.viarail.caSee the photos here!

 Toronto ► Montreal

 Days of running:

Mon-Sat

daily

daily

daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

daily

 Toronto (Union Station) depart

06:40

09:20

11:30

15:15

17:00

18:00

 Montreal (Central station) arrive

11:57

14:20

16:47

20:09

21:49

22:55

 Montreal ► Toronto

 Days of running:

Mon-Sat

daily

daily

daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

daily

 Montreal (Central station) depart

06:35

08:55

10:55

15:45

16:40

18:40

 Toronto (Union Station) arrive

11:41

14:07

16:03

20:39

21:30

23:33

Montréal to Québec by train in only 3 hours, centre to centre...

From Montréal to Québec, air-conditioned trains run several times daily, taking around 3 hours.  Check current times, fares & book online at www.viarail.ca.

 Montreal ► Quebec

 

 Quebec ► Montreal

 Days of running:

Mon-Fri

Mon-Fri

Sat, Sun

daily

daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

 Days of running:

Mon-Fri

daily

daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

daily

 Montreal Central depart

06:20

08:56

09:06

12:45

16:40

18:25

 Quebec depart

05:25

08:15

13:00

15:00

17:45

 Quebec arrive

09:43

12:22

12:22

16:26

20:24

21:54

 Montreal Central arrive

08:25

11:49

16:12

18:11

20:58

Montreal to Ottawa, Toronto to Ottawa:  See www.viarail.ca

Montreal to Ottawa takes 1 hour 50 minutes.  Toronto to Ottawa takes about 4 hours 20 minutes.

How to check fares & buy tickets...

Montréal to Toronto starts at around Can$ 46 if you book in advance or Can$ 129 regular fare.  Montreal to Quebec costs around Can$ 44 if you book in advance Can$ 104 regular fare.  Toronto to Ottawa starts at Can$ 46, regular fare Can$ 129.  Montreal to Ottawa fares start at Can$ 43, regular fare Can$ 80. 

How to buy tickets...

The best way to buy tickets is online direct from VIA Rail, www.viarail.ca, just click the button below.  Booking opens 331 days (11 months) in advance.

Buy an InterRail pass online and explore Europe by train!Buy VIA Rail tickets

Toronto Union Station...

Union Station sits in the centre of Toronto in the shadow of the CN Tower, just across the road from the wonderful and highly-recommended Royal York Hotel.  One of the world's classic railway stations, the current structure was built 1914-1920, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Station_(Toronto).

Toronto Union Station facade   Toronto Union Station main hall

Union Station's impressive main hall houses the VIA Rail ticket counters and information desk.

VIA Rail business lounge at Toronto Union Station   VIA Rail Business Lounge at Toronto

VIA Rail Business Lounge...  Business class passengers may use the VIA Lounge before of after their journey, with complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks.  The lounge at Toronto (shown here) is just off the main hall.  There's a similar but smaller lounge at Montreal.

Via Rail's Inter-city trains...  Watch the video

A VIA Rail train to Montreal waits to leave Toronto   VIA Rail train from Toronto to Montreal

All aboard!  A morning train from Toronto to Montreal is boarding at Toronto Union...

VIA business class meal   VIA Rail business class seats

VIA Business Class:  The Business Class car has spacious leather seats, and its dedicated steward or stewardess serves a complimentary hot meal with wine, spirits, tea and coffee.  Click the seats photo for larger image.

VIA Rail economy class seats   VIA Rail economy class seats

VIA Economy Class. Click the photo for larger image.

 

Arrival at Montreal...

Montreal Central Station...

Montreal's Gare Centrale was opened in 1943, with classic art deco friezes at each end of the main hall.  The station features a luggage office, VIA ticket counters, VIA Business Lounge, and various shops & cafes.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Station_(Montreal)

VIA Rail economy class seats   The art deco freize at Montreal Central Station

Montreal Central's main hall and close-up of the frieze.  The station is integrated into shopping centres and offices, so hasn't an exterior facade as such...

Montreal station   VIA Business Lounge at Montreal Central Station

Montreal Central Station....

 

Montreal's VIA Business lounge...

Watch the video Toronto to Montreal by train...

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large bullet pointToronto - Niagara Falls

Take a day trip (or longer!) by train to Niagara Falls...

You can easily take the train from Toronto to Niagara Falls (Ontario) either as a day trip, longer trip or as a stopover en route to New York.  The Canadian side of the Falls gives great views of the Falls themselves and features both a boat ride (the Hornblower cruise, www.niagaracruises.com) and a walk behind the Falls, www.niagaraparks.com/niagara-falls-attractions/journey-behind-the-falls.html.  For trains between Niagara Falls and New York, see the section below.

Option 1:  By once daily VIA Rail train from Ca$26 each way...

A daily direct VIA Rail train called the Maple Leaf links Toronto Union Station and Niagara Falls Ontario on its way to & from New York.  It's ideal for a day trip, and uses comfortable Amtrak Amfleet cars with coach class, a small business class section and a cafe car, even though it is operated by VIA Rail Canada on the section between Toronto and Niagara - an Amtrak crew take over at Niagara.  Fares from around $26 each way.  Check times & pre-book tickets at www.viarail.ca.  Reservation is compulsory but it's usually possible to buy tickets on the day.

Outward:  Toronto Union Station depart 08:20 every day, Niagara Falls Ontario VIA station arrive 10:16. 

Inbound:  Niagara Falls Ontario VIA station depart 17:45, Toronto Union arrive 19:42. 

Amtrak trains:  Amfleet seats The Maple Leaf from Toronto arrived at Niagara Falls

Option 1:  The Maple LeafTake the daily morning Maple Leaf train direct from Toronto to Niagara Falls...  Above left, comfortable seats.  Above right, the Maple Leaf has arrived at Niagara Falls (Ontario) station...

Option 2:  By GO Transit direct train from Ca$21 each way...

New from 2019, GO Transit now operates one daily late afternoon train from Toronto to Niagara Falls Canada every weekday, returning Niagara to Toronto around 5am, and on summer weekends there are now several direct GO Transit trains through the day, ideal for day trips.  Hopefully this service will expand in future.  The trains are distinctive green & white double-deck GO Transit trains, see the photos below.  If the timing of these few direct trains doesn't suit you, use the hourly train+bus combo shown in option 3 below.

Check times & buy tickets at www.viarail.ca or www.gotransit.com.  When using www.viarail.ca, the direct GO Transit trains are shown in the search results with as green GO logo.  The train+bus combo departures (option 3 below) are shown with a grey train & bus icon.

GO train from Toronto to Burlington   Upper deck seats in a GO Transit train

Double-decker GO Transit trains now run from Toronto to Niagara Falls at least once a day.

 

Upper deck seats on a GO Transit double-deck train...

Option 3:  By GO Transit train/bus combo from Ca$21 each way...

Roughly every hour through the day, distinctive double-decker GO trains link Toronto Union Station with Burlington station, from where a connecting bus runs to Niagara Falls Bus Terminal (located directly across the road from Niagara Falls Ontario rail station).  Total journey time 2h49 - roughly 1h05 train and 1h30 bus.  This is a simple turn-up-and-go service, no reservation is necessary, it cannot sell out, just buy a ticket for Ca$18 at the station (or bus terminal) immediately before departure.  As it needs no pre-planning it's ideal for the return part of a day trip from Toronto, as you don't need to commit to a specific time to come back. 

You can check bus-rail times at either www.viarail.ca or www.gotransit.com When using www.viarail.ca, the train+bus combo departures are shown in the search results with a grey train & bus icon.  Any direct GO Transit trains (option 2 above) will be shown with as green GO logo.

GO train from Toronto to Burlington   GO Transit bus from Burlington station to Niagara Falls

Take the distinctive double-decker GO Transit train from Toronto to Burlington...

 

...and change onto the connecting GO Transit bus to Niagara Falls Bus Terminal.

Where are the station & bus terminal?  See map showing station, bus terminal & Falls

Niagara Falls (Ontario) Station & Niagara Falls Bus Terminal are just across the road from each other in the old downtown area.  The falls themselves (and all the tourist attractions) are a mile or two to the south, a taxi to the Falls will cost around Ca$12 + tip and take 5-10 minutes.  You'll find plenty of taxis waiting at the station and bus terminal.  The station is sometimes called the GO Station, but it's the same one used by VIA Rail.  Map showing location of Niagara Falls VIA Rail station, Bus Terminal & the Falls themselves.

Niagara Falls VIA station   Niagara Falls Bus Terminal

Niagara Falls VIA station, seen from the bus terminal.

 

The bus terminal, seen from the VIA station.

Visiting the Falls...

Niagara Falls from the Canadian side   Horseshoe Falls from the Hornblower cruise boat

Niagara Falls seen from the Canadian side (left) and from the Hornblower cruise boat.  The Hornblower boat trip is the classic Falls boat trip from the Canadian side, see www.niagaracruises.com.

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large bullet pointVancouver, Victoria, Seattle

Vancouver to Victoria by bus & ferry...

Vancouver to Seattle by train...

Victoria to Seattle by fast ferry...

Vancouver Island train service:  Victoria-Nanaimo-Courtenay The Malahat

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large bullet pointNew York to Toronto & Montreal

New York to Canada by train...

Two excellent trains link New York with Montreal & Toronto every day, with inexpensive fares, comfortable reclining seats, a café car & great scenery along the Hudson River Valley.  It's a day well spent, highly recommended.  The Adirondack from New York to Montreal is run by Amtrak, the Maple Leaf from New York to Toronto is run by Amtrak whilst in the USA then by VIA Rail when in Canada.  Watch the video.

Map showing location of Niagara Falls VIA Rail & Amtrak stations & the Falls themselves.

 New York ► Montreal & Toronto  

 

                 

 Toronto & Montreal ► New York  

 

Daily

 Daily

 

Daily

 Daily

Train name: 

Maple Leaf

 Adirondack

Train name: 

Adirondack

 Maple Leaf

 New York Penn Station depart

07:15

08:15

 Montreal depart

10:20 

 Niagara Falls USA  

16:21

|

 Toronto Union Station depart

|

08:20

 Niagara Falls Canada  

17:45

|

 Niagara Falls Canada 

|

10:18

 Toronto Union Station arrive

19:42

|

 Niagara Falls USA 

|

12:30

 Montreal arrive

19:11

 New York Penn Station arrive

20:50

21:50

How much does it cost?

New York-Montreal starts at $70 in coach class.  New York to Toronto starts at $131 in coach class or $165 in business class.

How to buy tickets...

Check times & fares and buy tickets online at either www.amtrak.com or www.viarail.ca

Tip:  The booking systems show the Maple Leaf as two separate trains either side of the Canadian border with two different train numbers.  But rest assured that it is indeed one direct train, run by Amtrak in the USA and taken over by VIA Rail when in Canada.  You get off at the border to go through border formalities, see the border controls paragraph below.  After booking and paying online you print your own ticket or (if booked with Amtrak) you can show it on the Amtrak app on your smartphone.

What are the trains like?

The New York-Toronto Maple Leaf has two coach class cars with extra-legroom long-distance reclining seats which are prioritised for passengers to/from Canada, two coach class cars with regular seats & a cafe-car with a tables area, a serving counter and 17 business class seats - see the photos below.  The café car accepts USD & credit cards but not CAD whilst in the USA.  Business class offers leather seats arranged 2+1 across the car width and complimentary tea, coffee or soft drinks from the cafe car, although leg room is no more generous than in the long-distance coach class cars where it is already excellent.

The New York-Montreal Adirondack has coach class seats with extra-legroom long-distance reclining seats & a cafe car.  The café car accepts USD & credit cards but not CAD whilst in the USA.

The train from New York to Toronto at Albany

The Maple Leaf from New York to Toronto, at Albany Rensselaer station...

Seats on the Maple Leaf   Seats on the Maple Leaf

Business class.  There are just 17 business class leather seats on the Maple Leaf, in one half of the cafe car.

 

Coach class seating of the excellent extra-legroom variety, prioritised for passengers to/from Canada.

The cafe counter   Cafe car on the Maple Leaf

The counter in the centre of the cafe car...

 

Cafe car tables with the counter in the background...

The train from New York arrived at Toronto

The Maple Leaf's distinctive Amfleet cars from New York, arrived at Toronto Union Station...

Luggage arrangements...

These trains don't have checked baggage, you simply take your luggage with you onto the train and put it on the racks just as you would on any European train.  There are floor-standing racks and spacious racks above all seats.  Luggage limits are far more generous than for planes, you can take one personal bag and two large bags with you, see www.amtrak.com/baggage-policy.

Border control arrangements...

Northbound:  When leaving from New York Penn Station, you must first go to the Canada check-in desk in the middle of Penn Station concourse, open an hour or two before departure.  Staff at that desk will check your ticket and passport and ask how many bags you’re taking.  They'll give you a luggage tag for each of your bags plus a boarding pass that says you've been checked in for Canada.  Lines then form for the train, one for domestic passengers and one for international passengers, the latter are allowed to board first, waved forward to the two extra-legroom long-distance coach class cars at the front of the train.  Approaching the border, the train calls at Niagara Falls USA, then rumbles slowly across the bridge over the Niagara River to Niagara Falls Canada station.  Here, all passengers get off with their luggage, enter the station building and file through Canadian border control (which is pretty painless) and re-board the train.  There's usually plenty of time for this.

Southbound:  Leaving from Montreal or Toronto, passengers bound for the USA are given numbered luggage tags for their bags whilst waiting to board, there's then a brief ticket & ID check on the platform.  At Niagara Falls USA passengers get off with their luggage, go through US border controls and re-board the train.

Check-in desk for Canada at New York Penn Station

The check-in desk for Canada-bound passengers at New York Penn Station.  It's marked as the check-in for Canada, but people standing in front of the desk obscure the signage!  The queue for boarding is just out of shot to the left of Dunkin Donuts.

What's the journey like?

The most important tip of all is to get a seat on the left hand side of the train going north out of New York, right hand side going south from Canada, so you are on the side with all the Hudson River views.  These trains are all-reserved, meaning the number of passengers cannot exceed the number of seats, but you don't get a specific assigned seat.  If a group of you want to sit together, or you want seats on the left hand side, it pays to queue up early and get on first.

Historically, trains heading along the Hudson River towards Albany would have left from New York's wonderful Grand Central Station, but a connecting line opened in the early 1990s allows all Amtrak trains to use Penn Station.  The train leaves Penn station heading northwest, but shortly afterwards it turns northeast on what was originally a freight line in tunnels under the west side of Manhattan.  It emerges into daylight alongside the Hudson River, joining the line that came out of Grand Central.

Both the Maple Leaf & Adirondack then travel along the scenic Hudson River Valley with the rails often right next to the river, passing West Point Military Academy, Bannerman's Island, Storm King Mountain and other sights.  You'll even see the occasional historic lighthouse in mid-Hudson!

At Albany Rensselaer station the locomotive is changed from an electro-diesel (which can operate on electric power in the Penn Station tunnels) to a regular diesel, both Maple Leaf and Adirondack stop here long enough for you to stretch your legs on the platform. 

After leaving Albany, the Maple Leaf turns west and crosses the Hudson on a vast steel bridge with great views of the city of Albany on the left hand side on the far bank.  It then leaves the Hudson behind and starts following the Mohawk River.  Look out for the vast derelict Buffalo Central Terminal, a railroad station operational from 1929-1979, on the right hand side just before the train  reaches the current Buffalo Exchange Street station.  After calling at Niagara Falls USA, the train rumbles slowly across the bridge over the Niagara River separating the United States from Canada.  You can't see the falls themselves from the train, but can see the spray in the distance.  The train then rounds Lake Ontario into Toronto.

After leaving Albany, the Adirondack heads north through the scenic Adirondack Mountains which give the train its name.  You'll get views of Lake Champlain on the right of the train going north to Montreal, left heading south from Montreal.

West Point Academy, see from Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited New York to Chicago train

West Point Military Academy, on the far bank of the Hudson.   You may recognise the Hudson River scenery from the train scenes with Cary Grant & Eva Marie Saint in Hitchcock's North by Northwest, set on the famous Twentieth Century Limited over this very route.

Bannerman's Island, seen from the New York to Chicago train.

Bannerman's Island with its ruined house is another local landmark.

Storm King Mountain on the Hudson River valley, seen from the Lake Shore Limited train to Chicago

Storm King Mountain in Storm King State Park on the far side of the Hudson...

Niagara River at the border betyween the USA & Canada

The Maple Leaf crosses the Niagara River that separates the United States & Canada...

Watch the video:  New York to Toronto

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large bullet pointThe Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer trains run regularly from mid-April to mid-October on the following routes:

See the Rocky Mountaineer page...

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large bullet pointOther trains in Canada

  VIA Rail's 'Skeena' seen soon after leaving Jasper
 

VIA Rail's Skeena.  Note the Park lounge-observation-dome car at the rear, and the two panorama seating cars immediately ahead of it.  These now run in the Canadian between Edmonton & Vancouver.

Jasper - Prince George - Prince Rupert:  The Skeena

Winnipeg to Churchill:  The Hudson Bay

Toronto-North Cochrane-Moosonee (Ontario  Northland)

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large bullet pointRailpasses for Canada

Rail passes for unlimited travel on VIA Rail...

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large bullet pointEurope to Canada by ship

Southampton - New York - Toronto  or Montreal via Cunard's Queen Mary 2...

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large bullet pointTours by train across Canada

  Railbookers tours of the USA by train

Custom-made tours with Railbookers...

Escorted tours with Great Rail Journeys, www.greatrail.com...

  Great Rail Journeys

01904 527120 (UK)

  Raildiscoveries

01904 730727

Rail Discoveries, www.raildiscoveries.com, 01904 730 727...

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large bullet pointGuidebooks & Timetables

Lonely Plant Canada - click to buy onlineRough Guide to CanadaRecommended guidebooks...

The Trans-Canada Rail Guide...

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large bullet pointAccommodation in Canada

Recommended in Toronto:  The Fairmont Royal York...

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel is Toronto's most famous place to stay and one of the world's classic grand hotels with over 1,000 rooms.  It started life as a railway hotel, opened by the Canadian Pacific Railway in June 1929 - at that time the tallest building in the British Empire.  Today it's easily the most convenient, comfortable and historic place to stay before or after catching a train, being directly across the road from Toronto Union Station.  I've stayed there several times now!  There's more historical information about the hotel at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairmont_Royal_York.

Royal York Hotel, Toronto   Royal York Hotel, Toronto   Royal York Hotel, Toronto

A Fairmont Gold room at the Royal York...

 

En suite...

 

Hotel exterior...

Royal York Hotel, Toronto   Royal York Hotel, Toronto

The Royal York seen from a departing train...

 

The impressive grand lobby...

Recommended in Vancouver:  The Fairmont Vancouver Hotel...

In the centre of downtown Vancouver, next to Christ Church Cathedral and only a few blocks from the Waterfront, the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel is a former railway hotel.  It was started by Canadian National Railways but completed in partnership with rival Canadian Pacific, opened in 1939 by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.  It's another iconic Canadian chateau-style hotel, a true Vancouver landmark.  And if your budget will stretch, Fairmont won't disappoint.  If you want something a bit cheaper, try the St Regis Hotel, also excellently located downtown and also a historic Vancouver landmark, opened in 1913.

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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large bullet pointFlights to Canada...

Finding the cheapest flight...

Overland travel by train around Canada is an essential part of the experience, so once there, don't cheat and fly, stay on the ground!  But a long-haul flight might be unavoidable to reach Canada in the first place.  Try the Skyscanner system to find the cheapest airline...

1) Check flight prices at Opodo,www.opodo.com...

2) Use Skyscanner to compare flight prices & routes worldwide across 600 airlines...

skyscanner generic 728x90

3)  Lounge passes...

Make the airport experience a little more bearable with a VIP lounge pass, it's not as expensive as you think, see www.loungepass.com

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large bullet pointTravel insurance

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

UK flagIf you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

UK flagYou can use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

  Australian flag New Zealand flag  Irish flag    If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

A Curve card saves on foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of writing.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


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