The winter season is quickly approaching and VIA Rail Canada makes it easy for travelers to join Canadians and celebrate the season’s most popular holidays and festivals. Canada, known for snow, hockey, and dog sleds, is practically synonymous with winter travel. This year, stray from the usual, and take advantage of some of Canada’s quirky events and festivals that truly celebrate the winter spirit.
From gigantic ice slides, to the largest winter festival in the world, to taking a dip with polar bears, a winter adventure is just one stop, or two, along VIA Rail’s convenient routes.
A major attraction in Canada for the holiday season, the CAA Winter Festival of Lights is Canada’s largest lights festival turning Niagara Falls into a winter wonderland, attracting more than one million visitors.
Hop off the Corridor train at the Niagara Falls stop and visit the festival that features more than 120 spectacular illuminations, including the world-famous Enchantment of Disney displays. The lights go up on November 3rd, 2012 and runs until January 31, 2013.
For more information, please call 1-800-563-2557.
This holiday season, VIA Rail will extend the all-inclusive Sleeper Plus Class offering. The Sleeper Plus Class halts service on the Ocean during the winter season, however, from December 16 through January 6, travelers can take advantage of this service while enjoying a winter adventure on the Ocean (Montréal-Halifax).
It is particularly fun for families and couples.
This class of service includes:
All-inclusive meals served in the dining car (alcohol is not included)
Exclusive access to the famous domed Park car for spectacular views along its seaside route
Informal presentations and activities on the Maritimes
For more information for this exclusive offer visit:
While on the Ocean later in the winter, visitors can stop at Moncton and join in on Winterfesthiver for fun filled family activities.
On February 2-3, 2013, New Brunswick’s best winter celebration comes to Fredericton.
The popular gigantic ice slides, almost 23 feet high, thrill visitors from far and wide. Families will also enjoy the snow maze, snow and ice sculptures, pony rides, horse-drawn sleigh rides, polar bear games of bowling, curling and golf, dog sled rides, petting zoos and much more.
For more information, please call (506) 474-0096.
Stop at Halifax on the Ocean route during the “dead of winter.” The In the Dead of Winter festival is an acoustic music festival held annually on the last weekend of January. The festival brings a diverse group of acoustic musicians together to not only perform but to also meet one another in a professional environment. The event showcases the diversity of acoustic music in the Atlantic Region, Canada and the United States.
For more than 56 years, the Québec Winter Carnival has been the biggest winter festival in the world, offering 17 days of fun for the entire family including over 300 shows and activities, an ice palace, two magical night parades and a daytime parade, a 400-foot-long ice slide, and an outdoor stage with dance and music performances every Friday and Saturday night.
Visitors who aren’t afraid of heights can ride on the zip-line high above the Plains of Abraham, one of Canada’s most prestigious city parks. More athletic challengers can be found in the ice canoe racing events on the St. Lawrence River or the dogsled races.
The Québec Winter Carnival begins on February 1-17, 2013.
For more information please call (418) 626-3716.
Travelers can take a dip with the “polar bears” when they hop off the Canadian or Corridor train in Oakville, Ontario for The Courage Polar Bear Dip for World Vision. On January 1, 2013 at the Coronation Park, hundreds of people will jump into the ice cold waters of Lake Ontario.
Some dippers show up for the fun festival atmosphere, many dressed in crazy costumes and others attend to support a great cause.
Net proceeds from the Courage Polar Bear Dip have been donated to World Vision Canada since 1995.
For more information on The Courage Polar Bear Dip or World Vision, please call 1-800-COURAGE (268-7243).
While on the Canadian route, visitors can’t miss the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg. Literally translated as “Festival of the Traveler”, this 10-day winter festival takes place February 15-24, 2013, celebrating the sights, sounds, snow and spirit of Canada.
“Voyageur” refers to those who worked for a fur trading company and usually travelled by canoe. The Festival du Voyageur’s emphasis is on the magnificence of winter with several historical, educational and entertaining activities and special events.
Look-alike contests, a beard growing contest, fiddling contest, snow sculptures are on the schedule, just to name a few. Dubbed “The World’s Largest Kitchen Party”, food and wine from the region adds to the fun. Guests will feel the spirit and culture of the Voyageur as this vibrant community comes together to celebrate.
The winter season is never complete without hot chocolate. Before you start or end your Canadian journey, snuggle up at the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival.
Top chocolate makers come together to spike their hot chocolate drinks with the wildest, most delicious flavors you can imagine. Flavors range from dark hot chocolate flavors like black sesame, salted caramel with rosemary, ginger and pistachio to milk chocolate flavors like blueberry, hazelnut and chai, and earl grey.
There are other choices like white chocolate flavors such as chestnut and vanilla and non-dairy flavors like dark chocolate with cinnamon-vanilla marshmallow. Try all flavors at next year’s festival!
For more information and for the event schedule, visit
Take advantage of VIA Rail’s Express Deals and save up to 75% on select departures. For more information visit: http://www.viarail.ca/en/deals.
For more information on VIA Rail’s winter getaways, please visit: http://www.trainpackages.ca/en/packages/seasons?thumb=getaways
For more information on VIA Rail, call 888-VIA-RAIL (888-842-7245) or visit www.viarail.ca