Canada by Rail with Polar Bears – 10 Days / 9 Nights
Nothing shows you Canada like the train. Travel from Toronto past shimmering lakes and towering forests, across the “big sky” prairies, through majestic mountains to Vancouver and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Travel in the comfort of your private sitting room by day and bedroom by night. Enjoy delicious meals and outstanding service. Your Toronto overnight allows you time to see this diverse city and enjoy dinner prior to boarding the train. With four nights aboard the train, you will experience the time honored care that makes rail travel so popular. Your skyline car provides an ideal vantage point for spectacular photos. You will stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba and spend two nights, along with a day tour to Churchill, Manitoba to view polar bears. Churchill is the polar bear capital of the world and each year thousands of people journey to Churchill to view the bears before the ice freezes and they make their own journey onto the frozen ice pack. After two nights in Winnipeg, you are back on the train, headed west to Vancouver. A morning arrival brings you into Vancouver refreshed and ready to explore. This packages includes one night in Toronto and Vancouver, however, if you wish to have additional nights in either city, we can assist you with those arrangements.
Toronto, VIA Rail Sleeper Plus class, Winnipeg & Churchill, Vancouver
Day 1 – Arrive Toronto
Welcome to Toronto, the starting point for your rail journey across Canada. Transfer on your own from the Toronto airport to your hotel. Our choice of the Sheraton Centre Toronto puts you into one of Toronto’s most popular historic hotels. 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 – Sheraton Centre Toronto
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 Plus class. VIA Rail has a special check-in area for Sleeper Plus 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. VIA Rail’s accommodation offers a sitting room by day converting 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 Plus 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. The city has excellent museums, very good restaurants and an active cultural community that supports ballet, theatre and musical events.
Overnight – Fort Garry Hotel
Day 5 – Winnipeg
Today is yours to discover all that Winnipeg has to offer!
Overnight – Fort Garry Hotel
Day 6 – Winnipeg to Churchill
Today you make your way to the airport to board a flight to Churchill. You will depart Winnipeg at approximately 7:30am. Today will be a long day, but well worth it! Your excursion today includes 3 meals and a full day viewing the bears. Polar bears tip the scales at about 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 perfectly safe. 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. Later this afternoon, board you flight back to Winnipeg, with memories to last a lifetime! You will arrive back into Winnipeg at approximately 9pm.
Overnight – Fort Garry Hotel
Days 7 & 8 – VIA Rail Winnipeg to Vancouver
It’s back on the train today, headed west to Vancouver. After leaving Manitoba, you head into the province of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan shows you the unique beauty of the prairie lands. Cross into Alberta headed towards Edmonton, home of the world famous West Edmonton Mall. Midway between Edmonton and Jasper you have your first view the Canadian Rockies and the promise of what is yet to come. This is an excellent time to get a seat in the domed viewing car. Following Jasper, you continue through what is considered the jewel in the crown of this wonderful rail trip, the Canadian Rockies. As you continue west, the train crosses into British Columbia and the Rockies give way to fertile fields and eventually to the Pacific Ocean, where Vancouver is perched.
Overnights – VIA Rail sleeper car
Day 9 – Arrive Vancouver
You are scheduled to arrive into Vancouver at 9:30am. Transportation to your hotel is included. The hotel is beautiful and centrally located in the heart of Vancouver. Due to your early arrival, your room may not be available for check-in, so leave your bags at the hotel and set out to explore Vancouver. Your hop on/hop off trolley tour gives you a wonderful overview of Vancouver and allows you to make stops along the way at leisure. Visit Gastown, a lovely 19th century restoration offering a selection of excellent restaurants and shops. Other places to visit while in Vancouver are: Stanley Park, the Aquarium, Granville Island, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, colorful Chinatown, BC Place, the Sunken Gardens of Queen Elizabeth Park and the Bloedel Conservatory.
Overnight – Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
Day 10 – Vancouver/Home
Transportation from your hotel to the Vancouver Airport is included. We hope that you have enjoyed your trip to Canada!
- 1 night – Sheraton Centre Toronto
- Toronto Hop-On/Hop-Off sightseeing tour
- Dinner at Joe Badali’s in Toronto
- 4 nights – VIA Rail’s “Canadian,” Sleeper Plus class with private bedroom from Toronto to Vancouver, access to lounges and domed viewing car
- Meals aboard the train
- 3 nights – Fort Garry Hotel – Winnipeg, including breakfast
- Day tour from Winnipeg to Churchill, including round trip airfare, tundra buggy tour and 3 meals
- Transfer- rail station to Vancouver hotel
- 1 night – Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
- Vancouver Hop-On/Hop-Off sightseeing tour
- Transfer – hotel to Vancouver Airport
- Hotel taxes and GST on applicable items
Dates & Rates – 10 Days / 9 Nights
- Begins on select dates
- Rates are in US Dollars, per person, based on double occupancy
|Departure Date||Land Only|
|October/November 2018||on request|
VIA Rail Sleeper Plus Class
The Sleeper Plus class offers cozy accommodations, cuisine prepared on board by our chef and impeccable service. Let yourself be gently rocked by the peaceful rhythm of the train in a cabin for one to four people or a suite. Enjoy all the essential conveniences and little extras.
A cabin for two is designed for two people.
- Room size: 7 ft. 2¾ in. X 4 ft. 11⅝ in. (220 cm x 151 cm), excluding 2 ft. 9 in. x 2 ft. 1 in. (84 cm x 64 cm) for private washroom
- Mattress size: approximately 71 in. x 31 in. (180 cm x 79 cm) on Chateau and Manor cars
- Private washroom available inside each double bedroom
- Mirror over sink with electrical razor outlet (110 VAC)
- Individual control for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system
- Storage for one piece of carry-on baggage
- Daytime: two folding chairs
- Night-time: upper and lower beds replace chairs
- Large window with blind
- Exclusive access to a shower room (one shower room per car)
- Shower towels and amenity bag for body care articles
- Door locks on the inside only (no individual key)
- Other amenities: small closet, drinking water, paper and towels, pillows, sheets and blankets supplied, exclusive access to the departure lounge (Panorama Lounge) and priority boarding in Toronto and Vancouver.
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.