Canada is not just a big country, but a huge one – it is the second largest country in the world (after Russia). Accordingly, the question of travel over vast distances is quite acute. Fortunately, Canada has no problems with this – there are airplanes and trains (including special tourist trains), a developed system of bus service, and a large network of quality highways at the disposal of travelers.
Flights within Canada
Canada is a very large country, and it makes sense to cover long distances by plane, especially if the sights you are interested in in Canada are located at different ends of the country. The main national airline is Air Canada. It flies all over Canada and to international destinations. In addition, there are many low-cost airlines as well as regional companies serving parts of the country: Air Canada Jazz, West-Jet and others.
Trains in Canada
The total length of Canadian railways is 36,114 km. The main national rail carrier is the federal state corporation VIA Rail Canada , which has a network of rail routes throughout the country.
Regional railway companies are:
VIA Rail trains provide transcontinental service across Canada, connecting Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Flights run three times a week in both directions, transiting Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Jasper. This route is popular with passengers, giving them the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the three mountain ranges (Rocky Mountains, Selkirk Mountains and Coast Range) being crossed, as well as stunning panoramas of glaciers, lakes and waterfalls. All trains serving the transatlantic route are equipped with sleeping-car shower rooms. Transcontinental service includes regular rail service from the Atlantic provinces and from the cities of Quebec and Montreal.
There are daily train services between Quebec City, Montreal, Halifax, Toronto, Windsor, and Ottawa. Tickets for trains on these routes include meals, snacks, and drinks. On the transcontinental route between Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, VIA Rail also runs night trains. The cars in these trains are extremely comfortable, air-conditioned, and have restaurant service.
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Tourist rail routes
There are several other rail routes in Canada that can also be recommended to tourists.
For example, the Great Canadian Railtour Company’s Rocky Mountaineer rail system allows you to travel by train between the cities of Calgary, Banff, Jasper, and Vancouver during daylight hours. This route is one of the most popular panoramic routes in the country. The fare includes a one-night transit stop in Kamloops, bus fare from the train station to the hotel, two continental breakfasts, two light lunches and additional beverages (coffee, tea, juices).
The Polar Bear Express panoramic route can be recommended for tourists who want to see Canadian wildlife. The train runs from late June to early September daily (except Fridays) on the Toronto – North Bay – Moosonee route. Passengers are advised to reserve a hotel in Moosonee well in advance.
The following rail routes are also very scenic:
Sous-Saint-Marie – Eaton – Hurst with views of the Montreal River and hundreds of lakes;
Winnipeg – Hudson Bay – Churchill;
Vancouver – Whistler – Lillooet – Prince George (along the scenic coast of Howe Sound, wooded Cheakamus Canyon to Alta Lake, past snow-capped mountains and forests to Fraser River Canyon).
When buying train tickets in Canada, it’s worth remembering that children under two years old who do not occupy a separate seat ride for free. For children 2 – 16 years old, there is a 50% discount on the fare. Passengers over 60 years of age and students with an ISIC student card are eligible for a 10-50% discount (it depends on the type of ticket).
Canada train passes
Tourists can be advised to buy special rail passes for Canada.
Multi Pass – a pass for 10, 20, 50 or 100 trips that allows you to travel on VIA Rail trains across Canada for 6 months. The cost depends on the number of trips chosen and the tourist season. Available as Student Pass and Youth Pass. For more information and on-line booking click here.
Corridorpass – a pass that allows you to travel through the southern provinces of Canada (Quebec and Ontario) on VIA Rail trains, valid for 6, 12 or unlimited rides for 15, 30 or 60 days. For more information and online reservations, visit the website.
Alaska Pass – An 8, 15, 22 and 30-day rail pass for travel in Alaska and British Columbia during the May-September season, provided by regional railroad companies. See the Alaska Pass website for details.
Buses in Canada
Greyhound’s Canada Travel Pass is a pass for travel in Canada purchased outside North America and entitles you to unlimited travel for 7, 15, 30 or 60 days in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Yukon and as far east as Montreal. Also included in the pass are routes from Canada to the United States: Montreal to New York and Vancouver to Seattle.
Greyhound Canada Travel Pass PLUS – bus pass valid for 15, 30 or 60 days throughout Canada, including the area east of Montreal.
For more information and online reservations, visit the Greyhound Bus Company website.
Another bus company in Canada is Grayline Coaches, which offers, among other things, tours to some of the most visited places in the country. There are also many smaller regional bus companies.
Urban transportation in Canada
As for city buses in Canada, for example, the fare on metropolitan buses does not depend on distance and is paid with a single ticket for 3.25 CAD. The same price for a bus ticket in Montreal. A day pass costs CAD 12.50 and a week pass costs about CAD 43.75.
Cabs are not the most economical way to travel in Canada. It makes sense to use it for short trips.
All cab cars are licensed, and payment for a trip in them is regulated: the cost of a trip depends on distance and time of a trip. The trip cost consists of the following: getting into a car about 3,5 CAD + every next kilometer – about 1-2 CAD + every minute of waiting – 0,5 CAD. Luggage is free of charge. The cab driver turns on the counter only when the client is in the car and the engine is running.
Six cities in Canada have subway and light rail systems: Toronto Metro, Montreal Metro, Sky Train in Vancouver, C-Train in Calgary, Edmonton Light Rail and O-Train in Ottawa. Their lines tend to connect the most frequented places in these major cities.
Traveling by car in Canada
Canada has 901,902 km of highways, of which 318,371 km are paved and 16,571 km are expressways. The longest road is the Trans-Canada Highway, which stretches 8,000 km from west to east.
In all cities and airports in Canada it is possible to rent a car. All the leading rental agencies of the world are represented in the country: Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Thrifty, and others.
In Canada, you can rent a car if you are at least 23 years old and have an international driver’s license and a credit card. In addition to the rental itself, you pay insurance and local taxes.
Traffic is right-handed. The speed limits are: 100 km/hour on freeways, 80 km/hour on rural highways and 50 km/hour in towns. Alcohol at the wheel in the country is prohibited categorically – control is carried out constantly. Passengers must wear seat belts. Many states strictly prohibit police radar detection devices. In Ontario, the use of studded tires is prohibited, but they are allowed without seasonal restrictions in the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Yukon, and in other provinces, such tires can only be used in winter.