Taking in Canada's beauty on the rails

As our relentless dreary winter mercifully comes to an end, Canadians are finally setting their sights on the vitality and new life that summer brings. Nothing conveys this new spirit and vigor better than planning ahead for an exciting family summer vacation.

One of the latest trends when it comes to family vacations, according to travel experts, is the growing movement away from the traditional family road trip to a more stress-free, relaxing and breathtaking voyage by rail.

“We see more and more families making a concerted effort to spend more quality time when travelling together and they are choosing to do it on the train,” explained Mylène Bélanger, Senior Advisor, Media Relations for VIA Rail.

For one, the train can make the journey as exciting and memorable as the destination without all the bathroom breaks, traffic and the stress of driving in potential difficult weather conditions, not to mention climbing fuel costs and environmental concerns.

“We just love these special times travelling on the train with our kids,” smiled Jennifer Landry who with her Husband Richard and 11-year-old daughter Mia and six-year-old son James travel every year on the train from Montreal to visit family in Toronto for the summer break. It gives them a chance to reconnect and spend quality time together in comfort without all the hassles of driving.

“The train is the best way to travel with your family during the holidays and still enjoy the ride,” added Richard Landry. “The seats are roomy and comfortable, you see the beautiful countryside roll by and everyone gets to stretch their legs in the aisle. When you need a washroom, they're just steps away.”

On most routes kids are entitled to special touches that will make their journey even more enjoyable. Younger kids receive upon boarding an activity book which contains a variety of cut-and-paste and colouring activities related to train travel.

Kids and parents can also plug in their laptops, tablets or DVD players into power outlets under their seats to watch movies, play games or stay connected for work and leisure with free Wi-Fi on the train. Parents with young children enjoy priority boarding and can take advantage of the change tables available in the large washrooms.

When requested in advance, families can sit comfortably in a quad facing each other across a table that is ideal for activities and meals or to just take in the ever-changing beautiful landscape.

Recognizing this trend towards family travel, VIA offers great discounts to encourage families to leave the car at home. For example infants and toddlers under two years of age travel for free, children between two and11 years of age travel at 50 per cent off Economy class and there are senior and student special fares as well. .. More information on family travel is available at www.viarail.ca.


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