The Journey AND the Destination: The Wonders of Northern Canada by Rail | Travel Research Online


The Journey AND the Destination: The Wonders of Northern Canada by Rail

Untouched wilds have always been a draw in Canada’s north. With glass-like lakes surrounded by thick forests of coniferous trees and the snow-covered landscapes of mountains and the arctic tundras, northern Canada is an adventure of scenery. The addition of watching polar bears in their natural habitat, or hanging out with beluga whales, and northern lights that illuminate the skies make for a one-of-kind trip. This is particularly true on VIA Rail Canada’s adventure route, which provides a panoramic dome for maximum viewing pleasure.

VIA Rail Canada’s northern rail line is an adventure away from the lights and traffic of the cities to the south. The route, aptly named the Winnipeg—Churchill train, travels from Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba. This line spans 1054mi (1697km), travels for 2 days–2 nights, and is the only land route to this untamed northern territory. Their panoramic cars have a profound perspective of nature from the comfort and leisure of a train.

Once the traveler reaches Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world, they will be on the west coast of the Hudson Bay. Here, the nearest settlement that is larger is Thompson—which sits 250 miles away. This remote location so far north is perfect for viewing polar bears. Particularly in the autumn, when the bears move inland as the winter approaches. October and early November are the prime times for seeing thousands of polar bears lounge about on the shores of the bay, as they wait for the ice to reform in the bay. Thousands of polar bears lounging about on the shore is a sight to behold, one that travelers rarely get so close to civilization.


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Along with polar bears, Beluga Whales also come to Churchill in mass groups. Every summer around 3,500 whales migrate to the coast for mating and birthing. Belugas are highly sociable and curious, often approaching humans out of sheer curiosity. They’ve even been known to whistle and click in an attempt at communication. These playful creatures are an experience not to be missed in Churchill.

A less time-sensitive sight is the legendary Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis. These lights appear on almost 300 nights of the year; though, the winter months offer a longer night for viewing. Churchill sits beneath the northern Auroral Oval, the ring of magnetic activity in the atmosphere that brings the night lights alive.

From witnessing the iconic animal migrations of polar bears and Beluga whales, to being under a colorful night sky, Churchill will be a delight for the traveler. The saying “The journey is the destination” has held a philosophical place in travel before anyone can remember, but why not both? This is where VIA Rail Canada steps with a journey of Economy and Sleeper class selections that traverse the pristine landscapes of northern Canada in style and comfort. Regardless of booking class, panoramic cars offer a full view of these forests, lakes, and mountains. The journey… the destination… both are an experience of immersion for the traveler.


To find out more about VIA Rail Canada, they were recently written about in a Supplier Profile article.

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