Journey by train through the cosmopolitan cities and untamed wilderness of Canada, discovering architecture in Montreal, cuisine in Toronto and sweeping views in the Canadian Rockies.
Rating (4.95)
Program No. 3844RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
4,749
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13 days
12 nights
30 meals
12 B 8 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Montreal, QC
D
Holiday Inn Montreal Centreville Downtown

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Arrive to cosmopolitan Montreal and transfer to the hotel. Program Registration. 4:00-5:00 p.m. Come meet our group leader in the lobby and get your welcome packet. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in and the front desk will be happy to help you.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a welcome dinner

Evening: We’ll begin our evening with an orientation session where we’ll get to know each other as well as review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes. We’ll go over important information as well as have time for questions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars or settle in for the night. You may also wish to explore what the city has to offer.

DAY
2
Transportation History, French-British Battles, Old Montreal
Montreal, QC
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Montreal Centreville Downtown

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles; approx. 1.5 hours; some uneven terrain and cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Two presentations at the hotel with a local historian will set the stage for our activities in Montreal. The first will provide an analysis of transportation technology and its impact on Montreal commerce; the second lecture will focus on the French Empire in North America and the British Conquest. Then set out to explore the architectural history of the city as we travel the cobbled streets on an expert-led walking exploration in Old Montreal. Notable highlights during the walk will include Notre Dame Basilica, Place d'Armes and Place Jacques Cartier. This historic city center is rich in museums, galleries, restaurants and grey stone architecture spread out along narrow cobblestone streets. Stroll through Place Jacques Cartier, a lively public square, and then turn south to the waterfront (Vieux Port). Its impressive harbor front facilities include a 1.5-mile (2.5-km) long recreational park along the St. Lawrence River, a state-of-the-art science center, a theater, antiquarian bookshops and inviting cafe.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: We’ll rendezvous at a local restaurant for dinner

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to continue your exploration of Montréal, or relax at the hotel. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Canadian Railway Museum, City Excursion, Train to Toronto
Toronto, ON
B,L
Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Downtown

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile on field trips; approx. 2 hours; some periods of standing. We will depart by train for Toronto and travel approximately 340 miles; about 5 hours. Scheduled to depart at 3:40 p.m.; approximate arrival in Toronto is 8:30 p.m. Train schedule is subject to change.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: We'll head out for a field trip to the Canadian Railway Museum where we will examine with a museum docent transportation artifacts including giant steam locomotion engines and refurbished early coaches. One of Canada's most unique museums, the collection of railway material here is the largest in the country and one of the most important in the world.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: En route to the train station, enjoy a field trip through Montreal via motorcoach narrated by a local expert. Highlights along the way will include St. Joseph’s Oratory and Mont Royal. Upon arrival at the station, we’ll board the train and begin our transfer to Toronto.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like aboard the train.

Evening: After arriving in Toronto, we’ll transfer by coach to the hotel and check in. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
4
Loyalists, Railroad of Western Canada, Free Time
Toronto, ON
B
Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Downtown

Activity note: Today's activities are at the hotel. Minimal walking.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: The theme of the two morning lectures at the hotel will be the history of Ontario and the United Empire Loyalists, with an emphasis on Toronto's origins as the capital of Upper Canada, the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States, and contemporary Toronto. Our expert lecturer, the Senior Program Officer at Historic Fort York (a municipally operated museum that specializes in the era of the War of 1812) will also discuss the building of the railroad through central and western Canada. Fort York features some of the oldest buildings in the city of Toronto.

Lunch: On your own to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Free time to explore Toronto on your own. You may wish to explore the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Bata Shoe Museum or the Eaton Centre independently.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy the local fare or join the Group Leader at a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
5
Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, Overnight Train to Jasper
Aboard train
B,L,D
VIA Rail

Activity note: After check-out, bags can be stored at the train station until we board the train in the evening. Due to luggage limitations on the train, passengers are restricted to 2 small carry-on bags. Larger bags will be checked through from Toronto to Jasper. All luggage will be returned in Jasper. For more information, see the Travel Details section. We will travel a total distance of 2,400 miles between Toronto and Jasper over 3 days aboard the train. Train schedule is subject to change.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Set out by motorcoach for a mobile learning adventure with an onboard lecture given by a local expert as we traverse the city while examining its history. Toronto is one of North America's most ethnically diverse cities, home to more than 80 ethnic communities from around the world.

Lunch: At the café at the Royal Ontario Museum, we’ll enjoy lunch

Afternoon: Explore an exceptional array of themed galleries at the Royal Ontario Museum, spanning both world cultures and natural history. With 6 million objects in the ROM's collections, there's something new to discover around every corner. Exhibition subjects span from coast to coast, showcasing the rich history of Canada and its natural wonders from dinosaurs discovered in the Badlands of Alberta to the legacy of Canada's First Peoples and more. Our experience will begin behind-the-scenes in a private room with an expert from the ROM and dozens of Canadian artifacts from the vaults. Touch and discuss the artifacts in an environment that encourages collaboration and group discussion. Then, we’ll continue with an expert-led adventure in the Museum's galleries; experience the diversity of this great country and discover what makes the ROM like no other museum. There will be free time before we meet up at a local restaurant for dinner. Participants can use the public transit system - TTC - to transfer to the restaurant for dinner. The group leader will provide money and instructions for public transit.

Dinner: We’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant

Evening: Our train will depart from Union Station in downtown Toronto in the evening (scheduled departure is 10:00 p.m.; train schedules are subject to change.) The train route will follow the "iron road" that was carved out of solid rock more than a century ago. Journey past lakes and mountain peaks crowned with snow as we wind our way across bridges and through tunnels. We will sleep aboard the train for the next 3 nights and cross 4 provinces traveling from central Canada to Canada's west to arrive in Jasper, Alberta.

DAY
6
Aboard the Train, Trans Canada Railway
Aboard train
B,L,D
VIA Rail

Activity note: Full day aboard train.

Breakfast: In the dining car aboard the train, enjoy breakfast. Each meal aboard the train promises to be a memorable experience: sophisticated, enticing cuisine served with a generous portion of stunning landscapes.

Morning: Enjoy spectacular views through large picture windows and cozy accommodations. Choose from a selection of affordable meals, snacks, beverages, cooked meals and alcoholic drinks on board the Skyline car. Extra blankets and pillows are available for purchase. Whether from the comfort of your cabin or from the scenic dome car, you’ll see why VIA Rail is called Canada’s best window. The activity car will be available to everyone; it contains a variety of audiovisual materials, games, and other things to enhance the journey.

Lunch: Aboard the train, enjoy lunch from the menu and served on the dining car’s elegant china.

Afternoon: Topics aboard the train will include the role of transportation in Canada’s development, the challenges of laying rail across Canada, and how railways shaped the country and Canada today. Spend some time with your fellow Road Scholars, share some favorite experiences from the program so far, or just relax and enjoy the passing scenery.

Dinner: Aboard the train, enjoy dinner

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to join in some games are watch movies as they will be the featured activities this evening.

DAY
7
Free Time in Winnipeg, Aboard the Train
Aboard train
B,L,D
VIA Rail

Activity note: The amount of free time in Winnipeg may be shorter if train is behind schedule.

Breakfast: Aboard train.

Morning: We’ll make a stop to enjoy some free time in Winnipeg (amount of time in Winnipeg is subject to change), the largest city in Manitoba. Containing over half of the provincial population, Winnipeg is also the provincial capital. The city is located near the geographic center of North America, at the confluence of the historic Red and Assiniboine Rivers, a point now commonly known as The Forks. Winnipeg lies in close proximity to hundreds of lakes, including Lake Winnipeg, Canada's 5th largest lake and the world's 11th largest, as well as Lake Manitoba and the Lake of the Woods. Return to the train on your own in time for all aboard (train is scheduled to depart at 12:00 noon).

Lunch: Aboard train.

Afternoon: The train will depart Winnipeg in the early afternoon.

Dinner: Aboard train.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Jasper National Park, Maligne Canyon
Jasper, AB
B,L,D
The Crimson Jasper

Activity note: Scheduled arrival in Jasper is 1:00 p.m.; train schedules are subject to change. Walking about 1 mile; approx. 1 hour; on paved or maintained trails at Maligne Canyon.

Breakfast: Aboard train.

Morning: The train will approach Jasper, nestled deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and recognized internationally for its rugged beauty. Jasper is a world premiere national park with a combination of startlingly blue-green mountain lakes, soaring peaks, and broad, forested valleys. While VIA endeavors to operate on time, due to freight traffic, delays are not uncommon and this demands we adopt a flexible approach to delivering program content.

Lunch: Aboard train.

Afternoon: Upon our arrival into Jasper check into the hotel before settling in for a presentation given by a local expert, which will provide us with an orientation to the extensive riches of Jasper National Park. Encompassing over 4,200 square miles (10,878 square kilometers), the park has healthy wildlife populations including grizzly bears and wolves living among the grand peaks. The park's distance from large urban centers and its relatively intact ecology create a special sense of the early days in the Rockies. We’ll explore Maligne Canyon with a local expert who will lead us as on a short walking exploration of the natural wonders and discuss the geological evidence of deep canyon formation, the rich natural history of the site, and wildlife habitats. Scenic trails will allow us to explore the spectacular vantage points, flower meadows, and sapphire blue mountain lakes. The forests of these wilderness areas are home to mountain goats, elk, moose, and bears as well as a variety of birds, including bald eagles.

Dinner: We'll enjoy dinner at the hotel

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to explore Jasper on your own or just relax at the hotel. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

DAY
9
Jasper Natural History, Athabasca Glacier, Ice Explorer
Jasper, AB
B,L,D
The Crimson Jasper

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles; approx. 1 hour; some uneven ground, rocks and tree roots. Driving approximately 175 miles; about 3.5 hours with stops for interpretation in Jasper National Park. Stairs lead up to the entrance of the Columbia Icefields Interpretive Centre. The remainder of the field trip will be completed by motorcoach. The Ice Explorer ride on Athabasca Glacier is 3 miles roundtrip.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Our learning activities will be geared to the study of the natural history and wildlife in a number of areas of this beautiful and diverse mountain terrain. Setting off by with our expert naturalist, we’ll explore Jasper National Park. Exact destinations are weather dependent but possible sites of study include Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, Maligne Lake, and the Valley of the Five Lakes.

Lunch: En route, we’ll have boxed lunches at a scenic spot

Afternoon: Next, travel to the Columbia Icefields and learn all about this impressive geological feature. Upon arrival, we’ll board a specially designed Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier on a 3-mile (5 km) roundtrip journey for an awe-inspiring glimpse of icy crevasses and ice-fed streamlets. Our driver will explain how glaciers are formed and point out interesting geological features as we travel onto the glacier in safety and comfort. At the mid-point, we will have the opportunity to step out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 200 years ago

Dinner: We’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
10
Yellowhead Museum, Train to Vancouver
Aboard train
B,D
VIA Rail

Activity note: Same luggage parameters as noted on Day 5. Walking about 1 mile; approx. 1.5 hours, paved roads. Distance by train is approximately 500 miles; 21 hours between Jasper and Vancouver; schedule may be subject to change. Luggage (including carry-on bags) will be transported to train station; carry-on bags will be picked up at the train station prior to departure. Scheduled departure is 2:30 p.m. (subject to change).

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: We’ll gather in the meeting room for an expert-led presentation about the history of Jasper. Then walk to the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives where the educational program, delivered by a docent, will address the human history of the area in this research and exhibit museum. Its documents and artifacts illustrate the cultural development of Jasper National Park and the Yellowhead corridor.

Lunch: On your own to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Enjoy some free time in Jasper before the train departs for Vancouver mid afternoon.

Dinner: On the train, we’ll dinner

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Explore Vancouver, Granville Market, Anthropology Museum
Vancouver, BC
B,D
Blue Horizon Hotel

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles throughout the day; periods of standing; some uneven terrain and cobblestones. Scheduled arrival in Vancouver is 9:40 a.m. (subject to change).

Breakfast: Aboard the train in the dining car, we’ll enjoy breakfast

Morning: Upon arrival in Vancouver, we’ll disembark the train and immediately commence our exploration of this vibrant city via motorcoach and on foot. In the company a local historian, we’ll venture to the downtown areas of the city, such as Stanley Park, Gastown and Chinatown, as they will be the subjects of our study. We will then head to Granville Island.

Lunch: On your own at Granville Island. You may wish to go to a casual waterfront café, a top restaurant, a funky bistro or simply sample fresh foods from the market.

Afternoon: At the Museum of Anthropology, the focus of our afternoon educational programming will be the culture of indigenous people, on a self-guided exploration. A spectacular building on the campus of the University of British Columbia overlooking mountains and sea, this museum is Canada’s largest teaching museum. Its collections, exhibitions and programs are renowned for providing insight into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world. There will be some free time for independent exploration

Dinner: We’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to explore Vancouver on your own, take in a show, visit a favorite watering hole or simply relax at the hotel.

DAY
12
Vancouver's Evolution, West End, Farewell Dinner
Vancouver, BC
B,L,D
Blue Horizon Hotel

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles; approx. 2 hours; relatively flat terrain.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Vancouver is Canada's gateway to the Pacific Ocean. The two morning presentations at the hotel will be led by a local historian and highlight the evolution of this dynamic city from a social, ethnic, and economic perspective while examining its place in the context of Canada. With a local historian, take walking field trip to explore Vancouver's West End; historic landmarks, dramatic new architecture and great parks. Explore the extraordinary evolution of the city's downtown, and the Coal Harbour waterfront, and see how it has become one of the most talked about urban transformations in North America.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: Free time to explore Vancouver on your own.

Dinner: We'll enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
13
Program Concludes
Vancouver, BC
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12.00 noon

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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