Tag Archives: toronto

Happy Birthday! – Canada Celebrates 150 Years

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Canada is celebrating 150 years in 2017!

New York Times lauded Canada as one of its “52 Places to Go in 2017,” and our agents agree! The world’s second-largest country has a wealth of national parks and historic sites to explore. And it’s birthday is just another excuse to go check it out! ALL of the country’s more than 200 parks are offering free admission through the year, from wooded Vancouver Island to the glacial peaks of Banff and on to the swelling surf of Nova Scotia.

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Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, spoke of his hopes to use the celebrations as a time to really connect with Canadians, to promote festivities, patriotism, as well as “moments of reflection.” Here are just a snapshot of reasons to check out the Great North this year:

Montreal

The city of Montreal is turning 375, and throwing a party all year. Brave and dance the cold away at Igloofest, a festive electronic music party in the open winter air. Indulge your inner junk-food junkie with La Poutine Week (Feb 1-7). Vote on your favorite combo of fries, curds, gravy, and a special X topping. Don’t miss Canada Day celebrations over at the Old Port in July, a day of cake, hockey and cannons.

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Toronto

Toronto comes alive with a series of art installations and events. Head down over to the central waterfront to Ice Breakers (January), public art made icicle goodness. The Toronto Symphony (January) is bringing to life some of the country’s long-forgotten heritage composers, from French to jazz to indigenous sounds. The score will be composed and broadcast across the nation.

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Quebec City

Quebec City harks back to its Catholic heritage with Carnaval de Quebec (Jan 27), featuring more than 200 events over 17 days. Night parade or ice sculptures anyone? The Rendezvous Naval 2017 Tall Ships Regatta (what a mouthful!) is a transatlantic race of a fleet of historic tall ships. The expedition will stop in six different countries, including 30 Canadian ports, and unite for a festive celebration in Quebec City (July 18-23). Departing from the UK in April and spends almost two months in Canada before returning to Europe.

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Vancouver

Vancouver goes all out culture-wise with the red carpet event Movie Nights Across Canada (January), an exhibition of Musqueam artist Susan Point at Vancouver Art Gallery (Feb to May) and the theatrical Vancouver Fringe Festival (May to June). Indigenous culture also plays an important role in Canadian history, and the country goes out of its way to honor both Multiculturalism Day and National Aboriginal Day, both in June.

For more events, check out The Star: 150 Ways to Celebrate Canada 150 in 2017.

Been to the Great White North? Tell us about your favorite Canadian adventure in the comments!

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Where in the World is the WIT Client? ~~ Traversing Canada by Train

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Lately we have been booking rail journeys in the Great White North, so we decided to feature this month’s Where in the World is the WIT Client? in Canada! Check out how our clients travel by rail and which options might be right for you.

Popular due to gorgeous vistas, high level of comfort, and spacious car designs, traveling Canada by train often offers a cozier journey and more stunning views than travel by plane. Since a trip will often take a few days, many trains offer accommodations, sleeper cars and meals to their passengers. Peak time to travel is from March to September.

There are also a number of vacation packages on offer that include rail, transfers, accommodation, and city tours together. Call Willamette International Travel and speak with one of our many qualified agents if you’re interested.

photo by Shayne Kaye

Which Route is Right for Me?

There are dozens of train routes all across Canada—the longest one coursing from Vancouver to Toronto. Before choosing a route, consider what you find most valuable in travel—destinations, vistas, onboard service and comfort. Each train is different and each has its own unique offerings. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular.

East Coast: Montreal to Halifax

The route from Montreal and Halifax is more than 1300 km and offers chances to view some spectacular scenery. Passengers are treated to fantastic panoramas of Matapedia Valley, Chaleur Bay, and the countryside of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Fun fact: one train’s sleepers were originally intended for the Channel Tunnel that runs between Great Britain and France.

Ontario and Quebec

The tracks that run through Ontario and Quebec showcase the best of Canada’s culture, traveling from Quebec City and Montreal to Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls. Passengers can stop and enjoy French-speaking Montreal, wander through the elegant neighborhoods of Ottawa, shop in boutiques in Toronto, or stroll through the charming water town of Kingston. This route is popular with business travelers and tourists alike as its trains are frequently as fast as commercial airlines.

photo by Martin Cathrae

The Canadian: Vancouver to Toronto

Probably the most popular of routes for leisure travelers, the Canadian travels from Vancouver, stopping at the major cities Jasper, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and ends in Toronto via a breathtaking transcontinental route. This train takes 4 nights and 3 full days, traversing 5 provinces and 4466 kilometers, and hosting some of the finest sleeper facilities in North America. It departs three times per week and guarantees striking views of the Rockies, the vast Prairie grasslands, and the serene Muskoka Lakes.

The North

This northbound route takes travelers up to the far arctic province of Manitoba and the town of Churchill. It is a popular route for seasonal tourists hoping to catch glimpses of polar bears and the Northern Lights. Passengers can also enjoy the beautiful transition from gentle prairie to stark tundra. The train travels 1,700 km in two days, departing from Winnipeg on Tuesdays and Sundays, and from Churchill on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Jasper-Prince Rupert

The Jasper-Prince Rupert route is a unique rail journey through the Pacific Northwest and fjord country. Crossing 1160 km, it departs from Jasper, coursing past Mount Robson and the rest of the Canadian Rockies, and through the incredible wild scenery of upper British Colombia. The train departs three times a week from Jasper in Alberta, overnights in Prince George, and continues on to Prince Rupert on the Pacific coast.

Interested in traversing Canada by train? Or just want to get more information about tickets, routes, or discounts? Call us at 503.224.0180 or email our rail specialist at wailanak@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Canada, North America, Travel by Rail, Where in the World is the WIT Client?