One of the most stunning places to visit in wintertime is Canada. The country is at its most beautiful at this time of year, covered in a dazzling coat of snow and ice. For those who don’t particularly want to brave the elements but still wish to enjoy the scenery, a rail adventure is a fantastic way to tour Canada.
It is possible to traverse the whole of Canada by train, with most tours taking around two weeks. Specialist trains travel the 2,000 miles through spectacular scenery and diverse terrain.
A common route in to begin in Toronto, east of the Great Lakes, then travel west towards Winnipeg and Edmonton before heading into the Rockies. This is where the scenic splendour of the Canadian winter is at its most awe-inspiring. Trains continue through Jasper and Kamloops, all the way to culturally vibrant Vancouver.
One of the most breathtaking sights on a Canadian tour is Niagara Falls, which looks particularly magnificent in winter. Icicles hang from the rocks surrounding The Horseshoe, one of two enormous falls; mist and spray dazzle along with the rest of the landscape. Stick around for light shows in the evening when the ice and water are brought to life in a rainbow of colours.
A popular starting point for rail tours, Toronto is a culturally diverse city that epitomises Canada’s reputation for tolerance and acceptance. Here, you will find a melting pot of cuisines, shopping experiences and people. A trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without catching an ice hockey game.
Onward through central Canada, travelling by train gives passengers a sense of the country’s sheer scale. Here you will get your first taste of wilderness as snow covered expanses pass by out of the window. Native forests, cabins with smoking chimneys and frozen lakes characterise the landscape.
Heading east, the train reaches the central prairies of Manitoba and Saskatoon before arriving at the foothills of the Rockies.
The West and the Rockies
Western Canada is where wilderness is at its wildest. Panoramas stretch out, mountains and valleys dwarfing all that surrounds. Trains pass through Jasper National Park where pine trees rise like snowy spires above drifts of snow, icicles hanging from rocky crags. The world looks unfathomable precious, and shimmers under clear blue sky.
Walking on glaciers is a humbling experience, with millions of years of geological transformation buried beneath your feet. During winter in this region you can also enjoy a plethora of sports and activities from dogsledding and cross country skiing to ice climbing.
Vancouver will most likely mark the end of the rail tour, and is a city that appears to have everything. Hugged by golden beaches, surrounded by snowy crags and full of world class galleries and museums, it’s easy to understand why this is considered to be one of the best places to live on the planet.