For many of us, 2023 has been something of a blur. This past year has been one of growth for the company, with improvements to our booking system, a more consistent online presence, and additional staff members.

With yet another year coming to a close, it is time to reflect on all the changes and special occasions that 2023 has brought.

Changes in 2023

Canada Rail Vacations has made some big changes throughout 2023, with plans for continued improvements in the New Year. One of the more notable changes has been our website interface and online quote request and booking forms. The goal is to make everything as seamless and user-friendly as possible. Our website contains an incredible amount of useful information, although it’s not very useful if our guests have trouble accessing it. With our new website design and search feature, finding the information you are looking for is easier than ever.

If you have been a client of Canada Rail Vacations for a while you may have also noticed that our staff has also grown. With six new staff members here to serve you, along with two new office dogs and the birth of one future train traveller, we can proudly say that all our vacation planners have experienced both VIA Rail and the Rocky Mountaineer, making this one of the most knowledgeable teams in this field of travel. Get to know all our team members here: About Us.

Lastly, we’ve been working hard to grow our online presence so we can better share our adventures and travel specials. You can catch up on everywhere we have been, learn about some of the amazing charities we have worked with, or find suggestions on how to make the most of your trip. Check us out on Facebook and Instagram, or delve into one of our Blogs.

Highlights in 2023

One of our favourite things is being able to support local causes and charities. In 2023 we were able to help support Cerebral Palsy Kids & Families and their Adapted Bike Program through the Flames Alumni Masters Golf Tournament, as well as the Ups and Downs Calgary Down Syndrome Association. You can learn more about these charities and their events by reading our ‘Connecting Hearts and Track or ‘Golfing in the Calgary Flames Alumni Masters blogs.

We also had the opportunity to attend Rendez-vous Canada for the first time ever. This travel trade show allowed us to connect and partner with other Canadian tourism businesses to be able to bring you the best that Canada has to offer coast to coast.

Throughout 2023 we were able to explore, experience events, connect and work with some amazing partners.  Every year we support our local tourism industry by attending the Calgary Stampede, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. We attended the Calgary Stampede in July, along with some of the hardworking members of the Rocky Mountaineer team.

In August, Rocky Mountaineer gave us the opportunity to send one of our team members down to the United States to experience their Rockies to the Red Rocks route, and Martin shared his adventures with us as he travelled. If you haven’t already, you can read about his experiences here: Martin’s Moab Trip.

September gave us the opportunity to showcase our passions and strengths in customer service as we worked with Hewlett Packard Enterprise on a corporate incentive trip. HPE hired us to put together a week long journey for 67 of their top sales people. With a journey onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, cultural appreciation through performances by Indigenous dancers, the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies, and time spent with amazing people, it was a wonderful time showcasing our experience working with corporate incentive groups.

Our staff members then embarked on an exciting familiarization trip in October, as we spent time getting to know the companies we partner with. We were able to experience VIA Rail, the Rocky Mountaineer, Landsea Tours, SunDog Tour Co., and Pursuit. Our team visited all the hotels in Jasper, Vancouver, Lake Louise, and Banff. You can read more about our trip here: A Train Lover’s Dream Feature

Finally, in December we celebrated the year’s success at our annual Christmas party, which was hosted this year at Big Fish & Open Range. The accumulation of all our hard work was made sweeter by the delicious meal, the wonderful staff, and being able to share it all with those we care about.

What to Expect in 2024

We currently have donations for three charity events we will be working with. We have donated over $30,000 in tours towards their live auctions. The first event supports Kids Up Front Calgary in March, and then we are partnered with the Calgary Flames Alumni for the Cerebral Palsy Kids and Families event in May. Finally, we have a bike race and charity event in June that supports the Branch Out Foundation. You can learn more about these charities and their upcoming events by clicking here: Connecting Hearts and Track.

Along with donating to local charities, we have also started working on our green initiative with GreenStep. As a company, we are always striving to be more environmentally friendly and to work with more local and sustainable partners. By working with GreenStep we are hoping to continuously improve and create lasting changes.

Another way we plan to promote both our local businesses and Indigenous cultures in the new year is by working with more corporate incentive groups. By working with these groups, we can not only provide companies with unique and specialized tours but showcase all the best that Western Canada has to offer.

Martin has also been putting together a unique private cycle tour, with cycling legend Tyler Hamilton, that will combine his love of the train and his love of cycling. If you would like more information on this upcoming tour, you can reach out to us at [email protected].

Our biggest goal for 2024 is to continue focusing on delivering the best customer service possible. This includes but is not limited to, helping you build your dream vacation, fixing any issues that may arise while travelling with us, answering your calls promptly, and responding to emails as soon as possible.

Thank You

We would like to thank all our partners for their contributions and support and look forward to continuing to work closely with them all!

Thank you to Rocky Mountaineer, VIA Rail, Jonview, SunDog Tour Co., Pursuit, Discover Banff, Tourism Calgary, Travel Alberta, Banff Lodging Co., Landsea Tours, VIP Ontario Tours, and Vancouver Island Expeditions.

Lastly, we would like to give a heartfelt thanks to all our clients for trusting us with your holidays. Without you, we would not be able to build on this passion for train travel or give back to the communities we love.

Looking for recommendations on which Canada Rail Vacations trip you should take in 2024? Here are our staff members suggestions:

Martin Flanagan: Rockies Adventurer

Heather Flanagan: Rockies Passage Westbound with an extra night in Vancouver

Spencer Arsenault: Canadian Prestige

Dalton Feltham: Canadian Trip of a Lifetime

Whitney McRae Johnson: Rockies Passage Eastbound with Victoria Add-on

Sebastian Yoria: Rockies Adventurer

Nikki Ganos: West Coast Expedition

Hélène Dubreuilh: Rockies Nostalgic in July with the Stampede Add-on

Ivana Momčilović: Rockies Winter Wonderland with Prestige upgrade

Michael Mardell: Rockies Circle Train Adventurer

Mara Dumonceaux: Train Lovers Dream with Victoria Add-on

Brianne Byiers: Eastern Canada by Rail

Vladyslav Bazenkov: Rockies Relaxer

Sarah Bell: Rockies Passage Plus

Jake Pawis: Lake Louise Explorer

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