Bear Tracks – 11 Days / 10 Nights
Start your adventure in Toronto, Canada’s largest city with its vast culture, fascinating museums, great shopping, and international cuisine. Then board VIA Rail’s “Canadian” for a two night train ride to Winnipeg. The accommodations and services aboard the train are top notch! Upon arrival in Winnipeg, a full day is scheduled with a city tour. The next day, you will again board VIA Rail for two more nights on the rails. As you travel northbound through Manitoba, you follow the train tracks literally to the end of the line – Churchill. The town of Churchill is the Polar Bear capital of the world. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise, the Beluga whale capital of the world and a perfect place to view the Northern Lights. This is where you will have an extraordinary Bear Tracks adventure! You will experience two full days aboard Tundra buggies, observing these beautiful creatures in their natural habit. Other activities in Churchill are also planned for your enjoyment, before flying back to Winnipeg, where you will have an overnight stay prior to your return home.
Day 1 – Arrive Toronto
Welcome to Toronto, the starting point for your rail journey across Canada. Transfer on your own from the airport to your hotel. Our choice of the Fairmont Royal York puts you into one of Toronto’s most popular historic hotels. Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, the Royal York opened in 1929, introducing visitors to the largest hotel in Canada and the tallest in the British Empire! The hotel has so many pleasing features, that you can amuse yourself without ever leaving the hotel. Enjoy the elegance of their gracious lobby, their beautiful pool and spa, delicious dining, and unique shops. However, do plan to go outside and explore the many famous sights and attractions only minutes from the hotel.
Overnight – Fairmont Royal York
Day 2 – Toronto Sightseeing/VIA Rail Toronto to Winnipeg
Your train departs later this evening, allowing you all day to enjoy this comsopolitan city. We have included a city tour that allows you to hop on and off at various attractions throughout the city. This will allow you to pick and choose what interests you the most. This evening, we have included dinner at Joe Badali’s restaurant. The restaurant is close to the hotel and train station, making it a perfect place to have a wonderful meal between the city tour and boarding the train. The train is scheduled to depart at 10pm.
Plan to be at the rail station one hour prior to boarding. The rail station is across the street from the Fairmont Royal York. If you need assistance with your luggage, let the bell desk know that you will be departing on VIA Rail’s Canadian in Sleeper Touring Class. VIA Rail has a special check-in area for Sleeper Touring Class passengers. Here you can present your tickets to the VIA Rail staff and check the luggage that you want to travel in the baggage compartment.
Nothing shows you Canada like a trip on the train. Your bedroom is VIA Rail’s “top of the line” accommodations. Your sitting room by day converts to upper and lower berths at night. Once aboard the train, the staff will see that you are comfortably settled into your room. As a Sleeper Touring Class passenger, your fare includes all meals, use of any of the lounges and access to the domed skyline car for spectacular viewing. The VIA Rail staff will brief you on the dining schedule. Seating in the domed skyline cars is on a first come, first served basis. Hot tea and coffee are available in the lounge area throughout the day and evening.
Overnight – VIA Rail sleeper car
Day 3 – Toronto to Winnipeg
As you travel east to west, you will travel through five of Canada’s provinces. Starting in Canada’s largest city, Toronto, the train heads north through the Canadian Shield. This region of billion year old rock lies between the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay. Here, ancient glaciers scoured thousands of lakes and filled them with remarkably clear water. On their rocky shores, outcroppings of granite, pink, grey and black form rounded boulders that breathtakingly tower over the tracks. As you pass into Manitoba, you enter a land of forests and lakes. Many of the 200 lakes were formed by meteor craters. This wealth of trees and water make Winnipeg, located at the junction of the Red, Assiniboine and Seine Rivers the capitol of Canada’s fur trade.
Overnight – VIA Rail sleeper car
Day 4 – Arrive Winnipeg
You are scheduled to arrive into Winnipeg at 8am. The Fort Garry hotel is conveniently located across the street from the train station. Your room may not be available for check-in, so leave your bags and set out to explore Winnipeg, on the included city sightseeing tour. The city has excellent museums, very good restaurants and an active cultural community that supports ballet, theatre and musical events.
Overnight – Fort Garry Hotel
Days 5 & 6 – VIA Rail Winnipeg to Churchill
Your train departs today. Churchill is only accessible by air or train. The train trip takes two nights, so sit back and relax! You travel over tracks that were built in 1929 over permafrost and muskeg. It took 3,000 men to lay the 1,000 miles of track to Churchill. All of your meals are included while on the train.
Overnights – VIA Rail
Day 7 – Arrive Churchill
Upon arrival in Churchill you will be met for some local sightseeing, some of which will be outside, so dress warm. After your sightseeing tour, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Overnight – Churchill hotel TBA
Days 8 & 9 – Churchill
These are full days on the Tundra, and it’s all about the bears! These bears tip the scales at over 1,300 pounds and stand 10 feet tall. They can smell a seal from 20 miles away. Thanks to the Tundra Buggy, you can be within a few feet of a bear and be completely safe and secure. While no one can predict when and where a bear will appear, you would think that anything that can smell a seal from 20 miles away would find a Tundra Buggy full of people pretty interesting. Lunch is included both days on the Tundra Buggy, as well as the transfers to and from your hotel.
Overnights – Churchill
Day 10 – Churchill to Winnipeg
This morning enjoy a half-day of dog sledding! This includes a slide show of Arctic and Antarctic dog sled travel. Enjoy an exhilarating ride behind a strong team of huskies on a custom-made sled. Afterwards you will be transferred to the Churchill airport for your flight to Winnipeg. Your hotel is conveniently located at the airport.
Overnight – Sheraton Four Points Winnipeg
Day 11 – Winnipeg/Home
You have joined a small group of elite travelers who have been to Churchill to see the polar bears. Treasure the experience. Thank you for choosing Cartan Tours!
- 1 night – Fairmont Royal York
- Toronto hop-on/hop-off city sightseeing tour
- Dinner at Joe Badali’s Restaurant
- 2 nights – VIA Rail Sleeper Touring Class, Toronto to Winnipeg
- 1 night – Fort Garry Hotel with breakfast
- Winnipeg sightseeing tour
- 2 nights – VIA Rail in a private sleeper, Winnipeg to Churchill
- 3 nights – Churchill (hotel TBA)
- 2 full days on the Tundra Buggy, viewing the bears
- Churchill and area sightseeing tour
- Entrance to the Eskimo Museum and Parks Canada Interpretive Center
- Evening slide show presentation on the four seasons of Churchill
- Dog sledding excursion
- All Churchill and rail meals
- Air service between Churchill and Winnipeg
- 1 night – Sheraton Four Points – Winnipeg Airport
- Maps and destination information
- Hotel, rail & GST taxes as applicable
Dates & Rates – 11 Days / 10 Nights
- Begins on select dates
- Rates are in US Dollars, per person, based on double occupancy
|October 2018/19||on request|
|November 2018/19||on request|
COMING SOON: This section will include detailed information about the hotels in this tour, along with a PDF of the hotel brochure.
CUSTOMS/IMMIGRATION – PLEASE NOTE: ALL U.S. CITIZENS MUST HAVE A VALID U.S. PASSPORT FOR TRAVEL TO OR FROM CANADA AS OF JANUARY 08, 2007.
You clear Canadian Customs and immigration at your first point of entry into Canada. Customs and Immigration clearance is generally a quick and simple process. Please note that Non-citizens should carry a valid passport and check with their local Canadian Council for visa requirements.
If transfers are included in your tour package, vouchers have been provided. Present your vouchers to the bus driver.
Be casual and comfortable. Comfortable shoes are a must. We suggest flat shoes with rubber soles on the train, as this makes getting around easier and safer.
We are pleased to pass your requests to our hotels, but we cannot guarantee that the hotels will be able to accommodate these requests. Please keep in mind, that often hotels are filled to capacity.
Electricity is on the same current in Canada as in the states – 110 volts. If you are traveling on VIA Rail, bedrooms have a small sink and outlet for small appliance use like razors.
HOTEL CHECK-IN TIMES
When planning your daily activities, please keep in mind that your hotels are generally not available for check in until mid afternoon. If you arrive and cannot check in, we suggest you leave your bags with the hotel bell desk and go off to explore the city!
Based on your tour service selections, Cartan has reserved and paid for these tour services. Services, which you elect not to use, are not refundable. In the event a service cannot be used for reasons beyond your control, a refund will be issued provided the service supplier has agreed that they will refund or credit Cartan Tours. Based on the service suppliers’ refund to Cartan Tours, requests for qualifying refunds must be made in writing and will be processed less a $35.00 handling fee.
Incidental charges such as valet, telephone calls, beverages, and room service must be cleared before leaving the hotel. If you have made calls with a credit card or called collect, you may still have charges to clear. The hotels will appreciate your clearing them before you leave.
Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Canada. To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, we suggest you use your credit cards. Change the amount of money you feel you will need for general day-to-day activities. We find you get the best rate of exchange when you exchange money at a bank. Most people find it convenient to change money at the airport bank when they arrive.
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
Cartan Tours pays GST on all taxable inclusions; however, we are not required to pay GST on hotel stays for non-Canadian visitors. Thus, there is no GST rebate due on hotel rooms reserved and paid by Cartan Tours.
Tipping percentages and policies are as in the States. A very acceptable tip for a meal is 15%. When dining, always check to ensure the service charge has not been added to your bill. You will see a tax charge that averages 12 – 17%. Service, if charged, should also be listed. Although menus frequently specify their policy on tipping, if unsure, feel free to ask.
It is customary in Canada to leave a small tip for the chambermaid. We suggest $1.00 per room per night. Baggage handling we suggest $1.00 – $2.00 per bag.