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Western Canada: Trains, Planes, Ferries and Float Trips

By Marilyn Baron

On my trip last month through the Grand Canadian Rockies, my husband and I traveled on all modes of transportation. First, we took a classic overnight rail journey (the VIA Rail train, “the Canadian”) from Vancouver, British Columbia, into the Canadian Rockies. When converted to sleeping quarters at night, we slept in bunk beds, but we spent most of the time in a private lounge or a glass-enclosed observation car where we were treated to stunning mountain vistas.

IMG_6674 (2)train






















We also enjoyed a ferry cruise to Victoria, a floatplane ride over the Gulf Islands, an Ice Explorer ride across Athabasca Glacier, a float trip down the Bow River and a ride on the Banff Gondola that climbs to an elevation of 7,486 feet.

IMG_7135 (2)Rafting trip in Banff

IMG_7160 (2)In the cable car in Banff













































We visited Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier, the Icefields Parkway, and three national parks that are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And we were wowed by Butchart Gardens in Victoria.

Better picture of the Columbia IcefieldIMG_6671 (2)Float Plane


Those are just some of the highlights of our Canadian adventure.

Our itinerary was action-packed and we were treated to wonderful weather and some of the most magnificent landscapes in western Canada.

We saw a variety of wildlife from bears (grizzlies and black bears), and elk, to mountain goats.  My husband hiked and took a trail ride on horseback at Jasper Park Lodge while I had high tea.

I thought Vancouver, where our trip began, was one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I’d been there before on the start of an Alaskan cruise, but this time we stayed two nights and got a better opportunity to explore the city. The hotels on our Tauck Tour were amazing— the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and The Fairmont Banff Springs. It was a first-class trip all the way.

Every city we visited was more beautiful than the last. Every time we rounded the corner on our motor couch, there was a more magnificent vista. If there was such a thing as too much natural beauty, we experienced it.  We were on scenic sensory overload. But we weren’t complaining. I hope you’ll come back every Friday in July to find out more about this spectacular area of Canada.


Maxine Davis - July 11, 2014 - 8:36 am

Marilyn, I want to go! Your trip sounds fabulous, and the pictures are amazing. I’ll have a front-row seat every Friday!

Marilyn Baron - July 11, 2014 - 9:21 am

Thanks Maxine. There are more great pictures in store.

Piper - July 11, 2014 - 9:22 am

Ahh. Canada!

So beautiful! And I love their national anthem. I am looking forward to these Fridays Marilyn. What great pictures!

Marilyn Baron - July 11, 2014 - 9:27 am


Thanks. I thought the scenery in Canada was amazing and it was hard to decide between all of the pictures.

Walt Mussell - July 11, 2014 - 12:36 pm

I have been to a few of those places. I’ve been to Banff and the Athabasca Glacier. I’ve taken the ferry to Victoria. Also, when we lived in Portland, we drove to Vancouver to visit friends (and for the Chinese food).

I could do it all again. It is a beautiful area.

Sandy Elzie - July 11, 2014 - 12:48 pm

Canada is one country that we want to travel to and spend more time. We’ve been there, but not for long enough. Your pictures make me want to leave tomorrow.

Marilyn Baron - July 11, 2014 - 2:23 pm

You are lucky to have seen those places. It took me a while to get there but I loved it. Vancouver would be a great place to live.

Marilyn Baron - July 11, 2014 - 2:25 pm

I would go back tomorrow, it’s so beautiful. I’m glad you like the pictures.

Pam Asberry - July 11, 2014 - 3:40 pm

The pictures are breathtaking! I have only been to Canada once and that was just over the border from Niagara Falls. Clearly I need to get back up that way soon!

Marilyn Baron - July 11, 2014 - 5:37 pm

I was in Toronto which I loved, but this is something completely different. Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies is spectacular.

Debbie Kaufman - July 15, 2014 - 12:10 pm

Wow, sounds like a lot of fun!

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