On July 1, 1867, Canada officially became a nation. 150 years later we’ve got our party hats on and you are invited to the celebration! Welcome to Canada 2017!
In the 19th century, settlers from all over the world were flocking to North America to embrace new lives in wide open spaces ripe with opportunity. Canada’s railway formed the backbone of the brand new country in the early days, linking one end of Canada to the other and opening up a world of possibilities that never existed before. 150 years later, that world of possibilities exists in all of the great sights and attractions you will experience.
Prior to 1867, Canada was just a collection of mainly British colonies. 150 years ago we began to unite into one country, first in the eastern provinces, then gradually moving westward. The promise of rail service to bridge the vast distances between developing areas enticed more provinces to join Confederation until we became the country we are today. In a very real way, without our railroad, Canada as we know it would not exist today. The Canadian Pacific Railway helped open the west.
One of our favourite stories from Canadian rail history is from the very first transcontinental passenger train trip. Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A Macdonald, and his wife Lady Agnes rode that train east to west. As they neared Lake Louise, Lady Agnes was so moved by the beauty of the Rockies that she decided the view from the window of her private cabin simply didn’t do it justice. She declared she would ride outdoors on the front of the train, known as the cowcatcher, the rest of the way to the coast. As she put it, “From summit to sea.”
In spite of many protests, her determination won out. She used an empty candle crate as a seat and rode in the open air from near Lake Louise all the way to the west coast, proving that Canada’s intrepid spirit of adventure and fearlessness in the face of the elements has been part of us since our earliest days. While we do not allow our guests to travel on the cowcatcher, we certainly want you to see the sights that Lady Agnes did on that trip. Rocky Mountaineer’s GoldLeaf glass dome coach is the perfect way to do achieve this.
Today, our railway is still the lifeline of Canada, moving freight and passengers alike from one end of the country to the other, uniting us from the Maritimes, across the prairies, through the mountains, all the way to the west coast.
At Canada Rail Vacations, we are thrilled to offer our guests the opportunity to experience and celebrate Canada’s history by riding those very same tracks. See the earliest beginnings of our railway and our history travelling Eastern Canada. Marvel at the endless expanses of prairie grass and wide open sky on a Trans Canada tour. Ride through the famous Spiral Tunnels in style aboard the Rocky Mountaineer in the west. Experience world-renowned Canadian hospitality at its warmest and most welcoming everywhere you go.
A rail trip with us is always something special but in 2017, as we celebrate 150 years as a nation, it will be an experience like no other.