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Canadian History and Culture by Rail

Canadian History and Culture

10

days

starting fromUS $3,980per person

Star Rating 5

5 of 5 stars (10 reviews)

  • Choose your own activities and experiences to make the most of your trip.
  • Have all the details of your trip organized and arranged for you.

Explore The Best Of Ontario And Quebec By Rail

Sit back, relax and enjoy this meandering journey through eastern Canada by train. The spectacular countryside of Ontario and Quebec rolls past your train window – lakes, forests, quaint villages and bustling small towns, rolling farmland dotted with farmhouses and tumbledown red barns. At the end of each day you’ll arrive at a fascinating new city to explore, for this is a journey between Niagara-on-the-Lake, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City.

Trip Outline

10 Days / 9 Nights

Arrive in Toronto 2 nights in Niagara-on-the-Lake 1 night in Toronto 2 nights in Ottawa 2 nights in Montreal 2 nights in Quebec City Depart Quebec City

Canadian History and Culture by Rail - Map

Availability

MayJunJulAugSepOct

Places Visited

TorontoNiagara-on-the-LakeOttawaMontrealQuebec City

Accommodation Style

Hotel

Your Train Experience

VIA Rail

Activity Level

Easy

What you'll love about this trip

  • Exploring the Niagara region, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and rural Quebec

  • Travel onboard the VIA Rail train

  • Stunning Quebec countryside

  • Daily train departures to accommodate your schedule

Common Questions

  • Is this an escorted tour?

    Our vacations are not typically 'escorted.' We combine the best of both worlds – the reassurance of seamless connections, customer service support, and scheduled activities, plus the freedom of 'independent' travel. You are not tied into a specific group, or a rigid daily itinerary. This allows us to personalize your trip to suit your occasion, interests, and timeframe.

  • Can this trip be made shorter or longer?

    Absolutely! We personalize all our clients' trips to fit their exact tastes and needs. You can add days at locations that you'd like to explore and spend more time at. Or leave out certain areas that don't interest you as much. Discuss your travel goals with our Canadian Insiders who make sure that your trip fits your needs and budget.

  • Can I customize this trip?

    Your trip can be as rich as you'd like, and completely arranged around your interests and needs. The greatest benefit of working with us is our local knowledge. You can get your FREE personalized trip plan and decide what you'd like to see and do.

    If your trip is a special occasion, we'll make sure it is unforgettable. Or if you're traveling with a group, we'll take care of the logistics so you can share time together stress-free.

  • Am I on the train the whole time?

    All of our trips include stops to get off the train to explore Canada's beautiful locations, national parks and unique cities. However, if you're keen to maximize your time onboard, we'll pair you up with the perfect train experience.

  • Where am I staying on this trip?

    You'll be staying at various local three to five star hotels or lodges along your route, some of which are very iconic properties with great locations, views and history. All our accommodations are carefully selected by our Canadian Insiders. We'll make sure that wherever you stay, you get the best value and comfort based on the seasonal availability.

  • What is the train experience like?

    Because most Canadians typically do not use the train for commuting (as in the US or Europe), the two main rail providers here are driven by tourism. You'll experience the romance of true trans-continental rail travel, with a wide selection of services, accommodation types, and great food.

    Featured train experiences:

      VIA Rail is Canada's national train provider, with routes running Coast to Coast and through remote parts of northern Canada. The type of train depends on your journey, and can vary from the classic trans-continental sleeper trains to daylight trains with overnight stops.

  • How much does my trip cost?

    All our trips are personalized to fit our clients' schedule and budget. The price of your trip generally depends on the travel season, train service, accommodations, and the sightseeing tours you take. Please request your personalized quote which will provide you with the detailed information you need.

  • What is included in the price?

    Typically we include and pre-book all your main trip components so you don't have to worry about your connections, places to stay, or activities on your trip. You'll receive your detailed digital travel documents, and our Canadian Insiders remain at your disposal throughout your trip to answer any questions.

  • What are the best ways to travel around Canada?

    Canada has a network of spectacular roadways, train routes, ferry crossings, and float planes. We can arrange for you to travel by car or to sit back and relax.

  • When is the best time to see wildlife?

    That depends on the destination and type. As a rule, the main feeding and migration seasons are best for wildlife experiences. Tell us which animals interest you and we'll make your trip coincide with the best viewing season.

  • Will it be cold when I visit Canada in summer?

    The temperature varies from mild to hot, depending on location. Canada's west coast, mountain regions, and Maritimes enjoy milder summer temperatures. They range on average from 59°F to 77°F (15°C – 25°C). The interior of British Columbia, prairies, Ontario and Quebec can reach temperatures around 95°F (35°C). Northern Canada will range between 50°F to 64°F (10°C – 18°C) in summer.

This Trip in Pictures

Spend two nights in charming Niagara on the Lake, the heart of Ontario Wine Country.

Spend two nights in charming Niagara on the Lake, the heart of Ontario Wine Country.

You'll have a day to go wine tasting, or simply enjoy the laid back atmosphere.

You'll have a day to go wine tasting, or simply enjoy the laid back atmosphere.

Visit the awe inspiring Niagara Falls, before returning to Toronto.

Visit the awe inspiring Niagara Falls, before returning to Toronto.

Travel on board the Via Rail 'Corridor' train from Toronto to Montreal.

Travel on board the Via Rail 'Corridor' train from Toronto to Montreal.

In the heart of historic French Canada, sample the cuisine and discover cultural gems.

In the heart of historic French Canada, sample the cuisine and discover cultural gems.

Recommended Itinerary

Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. Our experienced Canadian Insiders will create a personalized trip plan for you that matches your travel style, schedule and budget.

Day 1 – Welcome to Niagara-on-the-Lake
Arrive in Canada’s largest city, Toronto, and be whisked away to the charming town of Niagara on the Lake. Surrounding you are rolling vineyards and blooming flowers, framing Lake Ontario. Eagerly check in to your appealing accommodations before heading out to explore the town. Take in the fun holiday atmosphere as residents celebrate the beauty of the season.

 

Feature Dinner in Niagara-on-the-Lake
This evening, savor cuisine inspired by locally sourced products from the fertile Niagara region. Try award winning wines expertly paired with your gourmet meal. Make great memories from the very beginning of your vacation.

Overnight in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

 

Day 2 – Niagara Falls or Niagara Wine Tasting
Today you have 2 options from which to choose:

 

• Option 1: Niagara Wine Tour
Travel the lush Niagara Peninsula on this delightful wine tour. Visit two renowned Niagara wineries and enjoy a wine tasting at each winery. Enjoy a delicious lunch along the Niagara Parkway.
Activity rating: Easy

• Option 2: Niagara Area Sightseeing Tour
With a small group, venture to picture perfect Niagara Falls. Visit all the highlights of the area – The Upper Rapids, Niagara Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and Table Rock. Also included is a thrilling ride into the mist of Niagara Falls on a boat tour.
Activity rating: Easy

Overnight in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

 

Day 3 – Onward to Toronto
As you travel back to the ‘big city’ this morning, the funky and colorful neighborhoods of Toronto are waiting to be explored. Spend the day at your leisure and discover what lies behind Toronto’s famous skyline. From a visit to the bustling St. Lawrence Market to the many vibrant neighborhoods this city has to offer there is no shortage of things to see.

 

Feature Dinner in Toronto
This evening, go up the famous CN Tower and enjoy an unforgettable three course dinner combined with an outstanding revolving view of Toronto more than 350 metres (1,150 ft) below. Don’t forget to plan some extra time before your meal to enjoy the glass floor outdoor terrace.

Overnight in Toronto.

 

Day 4 – Canadian Train Journey – VIA Rail’s Corridor to Ottawa
Settle into your seat for a relaxing train journey in the company of fellow travelers. Travel along the shores of Lake Ontario, past the thick forests and over rivers. The train will travel through villages and farms, with grain towers gleaming in the sunlight, and red barns in various states of repair.

Overnight in Ottawa.

 

Day 5 – In Ottawa – The Capital of Canada
Ottawa is a beautiful Canadian city, with countless attractions and hidden gems. This is the federal capital of Canada so museums abound – the Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum and the National Art Gallery, all awaiting your visit.

 

You have 3 options to choose from today:

• Option 1: Small-Group Sightseeing Tour and River Cruise
On a small group tour explore the highlights of Ottawa including the Parliament Buildings and Canadian Museum of History and visit Ottawa’s historic Notre Dame Cathedral. The tour ends with a scenic cruise to Rideau Falls.
Activity rating: Easy

• Option 2: Private Historical Walking Tour
Why not take a leisurely stroll around Ottawa on this guided walking tour. Visit Parliament Hilll, The National War Memorial, Sparks Street, The Byward Market and other major city highlights.
Activity rating: Moderate

• Option 3: Ottawa Bike Tour
Experience Ottawa in a slightly different way – hit all the highlights and enjoy fabulous vistas of the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River, cycling over the Portage Bridge and incredible views of Quebec’s Gatineau Hills.
Activity rating: Moderate

Overnight in Ottawa.

 

Day 6 – Train to Montreal
As the train glides out of Ottawa, you will start to notice more and more French words floating in the background. You journey towards the open farmland of eastern Quebec, chat with old friends and new, dip into a book, or do the crossword. This is what train travel in Canada and being on vacation is all about! Arriving in bilingual Montreal, you settle into your hotel and go for a walk – enjoy the shopping, the cobbled streets of the Old Town, or the entertainers outside a sidewalk cafe.

 

Feature Dinner in Montreal
We have selected one of our favorite restaurants for you in Montreal. With a menu created with a certain ‘French flair’, enjoy a showcase of the finest, freshest regional products. Enjoy this charming little nook, situated in the Old City.

Overnight in Montreal.

 

Day 7 – Explore Montreal
Bienvenue à Montréal!

 

You have 3 options to choose from today:

• Option 1: Private Food Tasting Tour
Discover the cultural and culinary charms of historic Old Montréal, guided by a passionate local foodie. As you follow narrow and winding streets, your private guide will feed your hunger for knowledge of the history of Montréal and its many culinary pleasures.
Activity rating: Moderate

• Option 2: Walking Tour
Explore the winding cobblestone streets of Old Montréal on a guided walking tour. Travel back in time to Fort Ville-Marie in 1642, to today’s modern city and find out more about all the eras that shaped Montréal.
Activity rating: Moderate

• Option 3: Small Group Montreal Tour
Enjoy a fully guided driving tour to all the “must see” areas of Montréal such as Mont Royal, Old Montréal, and the city’s picturesque riverfront. Highlights of the tour include a visit to the Notre-Dame Basillica, taking in the 360 degree views from the Observatoire Place Ville Marie, and a scenic river cruise along the beautiful St. Lawrence River.
Activity rating: Easy

 

Suggested Evening Activity: Aura Lightshow at Notre-Dame Basilica
If you have time this evening, we recommend the Aura lightshow at the Notre-Dame Basilica. Discover the artwork of the Basilica through multimedia installations then sit down and a combination of light, orchestral music and stunning architecture provides an unforgettable experience.

Overnight in Montreal.

 

Day 8 – Montreal to Quebec City
Voyage by train to the city the French and English battled so fiercely over. As the St. Lawrence River dances in the sunlight, the charming town of Cap-de-la-Madeleine passes outside your window. At the end of the day, step off the train into Quebec City, where your surroundings fill-up with old stone buildings, cobbled streets, Quebec’s distant mountains, and a wealth of history and culture.

Overnight in Quebec City.

 

Day 9 – Quebec City
Your Quebec train vacation continues with a wide choice of excursions exploring one of Canada’s most historic settlements.

 

Today you have 3 options to choose from to help you enjoy Quebec and its surrounding area:

• Option 1: Private Walking Tour
On a leisurely walking tour, explore the unique art, architecture, and history of Quebec City’s upper and lower towns. Your guide is equally passionate and knowledgeable about their home town.
Activity rating: Moderate

• Option 2: Quebec Sightseeing Tour
Spend the day discovering Quebec City’s French-Canadian culture on a group bus tour. From your comfortable seat, enjoy the beautiful architecture of the fortified city, visit historic sites commemorating the battles between French and English, and take in the sights of this unique city.
Activity rating: Easy

• Option 3: The Food Tour
So confident are the folks that run this tour – that they simply called it ‘The Food Tour’ – the only food tour you will need to take! This tour covers seven different venues, and samples about 15 different products. Try food of French-Canadian origin from crepes to organic wine.
Activity rating: Moderate

Overnight in Quebec City.

 

Day 10 – Departure
Say farewell to Canada’s scenery, history and culture as you are transferred to Quebec City’s airport, in time for your flight home.

Start Dates

Daily departures from Toronto*
April 28 – October 22, 2022

* Limited availability and surcharges may apply during the Grand Prix in Montreal (June). Please call for details

Pricing

Prices of this trip vary by departure date, hotel class and the choice of activities. Request your quote to check availability or to book this trip.

  • Train Experience

    Train Experience

    Learn more about the onboard service and look inside the trains you will be traveling on during this trip.

    Read about the VIA Rail train

    VIA Rail

    VIA Rail trains take passengers across the vast country of Canada through some of the most amazing scenery in North America. The service includes sleeper cars, gourmet meals, and lounge and viewing areas.

  • Accommodations

    Accommodations

    Below are examples of the places you can stay on this trip. Please get in touch to discuss your options and to check availability.

    Hotel Bonaparte

    Hotel Bonaparte

    The cozy Auberge Bonaparte is a charmingly historic inn, nestled in Old Montreal. Along with an award winning French restaurant, guests can enjoy sunny summer days or moonlit nights on the rooftop terrace. A full complimentary breakfast at the restaurant is included in your stay here (or continental breakfast if guests choose to eat in their room).

    Hotel Place d’Armes

    Hotel Place d’Armes

    It takes a special hotel to equal Montreal’s unique urban sophistication and charm, and that’s exactly what the 4.5 star Hotel Place d’Armes is. Luxury and exceptional service are the rule at this gem nestled among the lovely cobbled streets of Old Montreal. Here, you’ll discover three centuries of history, boutiques and art galleries as well as fine dining and vibrant nightlife.

    Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

    Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

    This deluxe landmark chateau-style hotel is located within the walled city of Old Quebec. To enjoy views of the St. Lawrence River, upgrade to a deluxe view room. The hotel offers 3 restaurants, 2 lounges, a pool with whirlpool, fitness room, steam bath, spa, and shops.

  • What's Included

    What's Included

    These are the places and experiences to look forward to on this trip.

    Accommodations:
    9 nights hotel accommodation

    Train Experiences:
    • Daytime journey onboard VIA Rail’s Corridor Train – Toronto / Ottawa / Montreal / Quebec City*

    Niagara Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 2:
    1. Niagara Wine Tour
    2.
    Niagara Area Sightseeing Tour

    Ottawa Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 3:
    1. Small Group Sightseeing Tour and River Cruise
    2. Private Historical Walking Tour
    3. Ottawa Bike Tour

    Montreal Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 3:
    1.
    Private Food Tour
    2. Walking Tour of Old Montreal
    3.
    Small Group Sightseeing Tour

    Quebec City Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 3:
    1. Private Walking Tour
    2. Quebec Sightseeing Tour
    3. The Food Tour

    Meal Inclusions:
    Feature Dinner at Niagara-on-the-Lake
    Dinner at the CN Tower
    Feature Dinner in Montreal

    Transfer Inclusions:
    Transfer from Toronto airport to Niagara-on-the-Lake*
    • Transfer from Niagara-on-the-Lake to downtown Toronto*
    • Private train station transfers in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City
    Private transfer to Quebec City’s airport, in time for your flight home

    Other Inclusions:
    • Digital Travel Documents
    • Gratuities for private transfers and tours (unless otherwise
    noted)
    • Fresh Tracks Canada customer service support – from the time you book, you will be assigned your own personal Vacation Coordinator with whom you can reach out to with any questions or requests.

    * Note:
    Comfort level hotel prices include Economy class on VIA Rail.
    Boutique and Deluxe level hotel prices include Business Class on VIA Rail
    Comfort and Boutique level hotel prices include bus transfers between Toronto and Niagara
    Deluxe level hotel price includes private transfers between Toronto and Niagara

    Important Schedule and Trip Notes:
    • Train schedules are subject to change and delays may occur
    • Daily tour availability may vary based on the season and may not be available for all departures. For more information, please speak to your Vacation Advisor.
    • Small group tour with cruise starts running May 15 and ends October 15. A Hop On / Off Tour will be substituted in the early and late seasons.

     


    Not Included

    • Meals, other than those mentioned
    • Airfare
    • Gratuities for rail, hotel, tour & transfer staff

    • Trip Cancellation & Travel Medical Insurance (highly recommended)
    • Canadian Sales Taxes

    Ideas to customize your trip

    Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. These are some of the experiences you can add-on to personalize your trip.

    • Upgrade to Business Class for access to the Panorama Lounge at the train station, priority boarding, and meals and bar service, including alcoholic drinks served by an attendant on board the train
    • Add on a car rental and spend a few days exploring the charming Eastern Townships in Quebec
    • Spend some extra time in Quebec City and visit the charming island – Ile d’Orleans for spectacular views, local artisans and gourmet local fare

  • Customer Reviews  (10)

    They had everything planned so we could just enjoy the experience

    Star Rating 5

    Read full review...

    It was an absolutely wonderful experience. There was a second when my husband and I got off the plane and we started getting nervous "where do we do again?", "Is the driver going to be here now to pick us up?". And like magic he was standing there with a sign that read CANADA and he called our names. It was perfect. They had everything planned so we could just enjoy the experience.

    Fresh Tracks made everything so easy!

    Star Rating 5

    Read full review...

    Fresh Tracks made everything so easy! The trip unfolded seamlessly; drivers picked us up exactly when/where stated & delivered us exactly as scheduled. Everyone was so helpful & went out of their way to accommodate us.

    Receiving private transfers and tours was something unique

    Star Rating 5

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    We have taken many group tours but this personalized tour was a much more relaxed and pleasant experience. We didn't have to visit every attraction in the area and could spend more time in the hotel and relaxing. Receiving private transfers and tours was also something unique. Everyone was prompt and pleasant and all of the vehicles were new and comfortable. Our favorite transfers were the VIA train rides. Clean, comfortable, fast with great drinks, food and service.

    What a wonderful, memorable family vacation!

    Star Rating 5

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    What a wonderful, memorable family vacation! We really enjoyed visiting Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City. Very pleasant experience on the Via Rail train ride between Toronto and Montreal, and Montreal to Quebec City. Excellent accommodations at Fairmont Royal York (Toronto) and Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (Quebec City).

    Keep up the wonderful work you do

    Star Rating 5

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    Thank you all so much for all you did, the vacation ended well and will definitely recommend you to everyone going to Canada. Keep up the wonderful work you do. Many people do the planning themselves when traveling, including myself, but using your services made me fall in love with travel agencies all over again. When we go back to Canada again we will give you a call for sure! Thank you!  

    Your company is first rate

    Star Rating 5

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    We had a great time! I have some wonderful pictures and memories. Your company is first rate for sure. We loved the two higher level hotels and would not have found them on our own. Can't say enough good about them (despite a too soft mattress in one of them). More later, but I hope to travel with your company again! And thanks for the welcoming treats at the first hotel, champagne and chocolate, how special is that...

    Thank you for arranging such a successful vacation

    Star Rating 5

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    Our trip was a very good experience overall and we would recommend Fresh Tracks Canada. We enjoyed each city and your arrangements worked out very well. The train experience was fun and a very efficient way to travel.  Everyone we met was very helpful and friendly. Thank you for arranging such a successful vacation.

    The package you put together was phenomenal

    Star Rating 5

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    Thank you for such a wonderful vacation we will remember for the rest of our lives! We all had an awesome time and the package you put together was phenomenal. Janet and Gordon were very happy with the beautiful Hotels and the train ride itself, it was a very good time. Thank you again.

    The attention to detail was really nice

    Star Rating 5

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    Our trip was wonderful! The attention to detail in all transportation was really nice. The limos and drivers were on time and very helpful. Local bus tours/drivers were well worth the time and greatly enhanced our visits and knowledge of the cities. The hotels were superior, especially the Fairmont in Toronto. The Deltas in the other cities were fine. The only disappointment was in Montreal, where the dining room menu had been greatly abbreviated apparently due to staff shortage. All staff were courteous and helpful. Local people were all very friendly. I was impressed with how clean all the cities were (Montreal perhaps less so). The weather was very wet (only one whole day of sunshine), with few glimpses of anything but rain clouds and lots of wind. Nevertheless, we had a great time. The fall colors were gorgeous. While we Wisconsinites are accustomed to fall colors, our traveling companions are from California, so seeing the scenery was a real treat for them. We were amazed at the parliament buildings in Ottawa. LOVED, loved, loved Quebec City. It is so European and quaint. Food was great everywhere. Trains were clean and comfortable. We are considering doing the Rockies trip in the future, having noted that the rail line plans to improve sleeping cars soon. Thanks for your help in making our trip so memorable.

    The trip was planned to our satisfaction

    Star Rating 5

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    This is to express our sincere thanks to you for scheduling such a delightful vacation for Robert and me along with our friends, the Raifords and the Smiths. We had a ball in Canada! There was so much to do and see on the Canadian Culture and History tour in each city, but we also had sufficient time to explore each city on our own. The weather was perfect and the natives were very friendly and welcoming (especially in Toronto). We knew the itinerary looked awesome and it was just that! The trip was planned to our satisfaction and we could not have planned a more enjoyable vacation. I will be busy uploading photos that will bring back many beautiful memories of this vacation. When our travel plans call another visit to Canada, we will make sure to contact your company. Thanks so much for making this a carefree, wonderful and pleasant trip. My friends thought I was just awesome for discovering and choosing your company for our travel.

Get your personalized trip plan organized and arranged for you

Get your personalized itinerary
  • Get a trip that covers everything you want to see.
  • Know which places to go and which areas are best during certain times of the year.
  • Have someone local who knows the area to suggest trains, hotels, dining, sightseeing, etc.
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Customized Trips

Customized Trips

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Advice From Canadians

Advice From Canadians

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Everything Arranged

Everything Arranged

Have all the details of your trip organized and booked for you.