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Train Journeys in Canada: Spotlight on Toronto to Quebec

Thursday, 29th February 2024


canada via rail the corridor route ontario

Imagine exploring two provinces and four cities in just 10 days? That’s exactly what Charlotte, our Canada Product Manager, did on her Canada rail trip between Toronto and Quebec City.

The extensive rail network in Canada is operated by VIA Rail, and the line from Toronto to Québec City (known as ‘The Corridor’) allows for easy city-hopping. New environmentally-friendly carriages were recently introduced, making the journey even more comfortable and sustainable. And while the scenery might not be as dramatic as train journeys in Western Canada, the convenience and cost-effectiveness of travelling by train in the east make it a great option for those in search of an alternative to self-drive.


Toronto to Ottawa

After taking a head-spinning trip up the CN tower and cruising into the mists of Niagara Falls aboard the Hornblower, I hopped on an Ottawa-bound train at Toronto’s Grand Union Station. Snaking east along the northern shores of Lake Ontario, it was a relaxing five-hour journey to reach the Canadian capital. One of the big advantages of rail travel is that you often arrive right in the heart of your destination – a taxi from the train station to Ottawa’s iconic Parliament Hill only took 10 minutes. I easily filled the next couple of days exploring the magnificent neo-Gothic buildings of the Senate and House of Commons (free guided tours are available), browsing the stalls, boutique stores and cafés in the nearby ByWard Market and visiting some of the city’s excellent museums and galleries.

canada aerial view of montreal city istk

Onwards to Montréal

Back on the train, I headed from Ontario into French-speaking Québec. Arriving by train in Montréal was amazing – the station is right by the St Lawrence River and within minutes I was walking in the shadow of the 19th-century Gothic Revival masterpiece of the Notre-Dame Basilica. A cosmopolitan and welcoming city, Montréal has distinct neighbourhoods, and Vieux-Montreal is one of the most fascinating and atmospheric. A trip here wouldn’t be complete without a guided tour along its cobblestoned streets, admiring the architecture and sampling the city’s famous dish, poutine (fries, gravy and cheese curds).

canada-boardwalk-by-chateau frontenac-quebec-city-astk

End of the line in Québec

The final leg of my rail journey took me to Québec City to soak up more French-Canadian culture. Towering above the St Lawrence River, the famous green-roofed Château Frontenac dominates this historic city. I headed straight to the Dufferin Terrace for some of the best views, then delved into the narrow lanes of UNESCO-listed Old Québec where 400 years of history can be discovered inside the city’s old fortified walls.

Feeling inspired?

If Charlotte’s trip inspired you, contact us on 01737 214 250 or send an enquiry to start planning your own tailor-made rail holiday.