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Best Ways to Travel: Vancouver to Montreal by Train

Travelling by train across Canada is one of the best ways to see the country’s diverse landscapes. Trains connect Vancouver on the West Coast to Halifax on the East Coast, passing the Canadian Rockies, the prairies, and major cities, like Toronto and Montreal. Travellers can watch the scenery change, eat locally inspired food, and completely relax as they take the train from one destination to the next.

View of lake and mountains from a train window

The Vancouver to Montreal train route is great for those who wish to visit a variety of places in Canada. Discover the beautiful city of Vancouver, and the mountains and lakes of the Rockies. Then, arrive in charming Montreal, Quebec’s largest city and one of the largest Francophone cities in North America. 

In this blog, we'll explore how to travel from Vancouver to Montreal and provide insight into the train route, accommodations, and more.

Ways to Travel from Vancouver to Montreal

There are several ways to get from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Montreal, Quebec. You can fly, drive, or take the train. Vancouver is on the west coast of Canada while Montreal is in Eastern Canada, with 4,600 kilometres (2858 miles) between the two cities.  

The quickest way to travel from Vancouver to Montreal is by air, with Air Canada, WestJet, and other airlines offering regular flights. Non-stop flight time is approximately five hours (longer if taking a connecting flight).  

If you’d prefer to take a road trip, be prepared for long travel days as the journey requires around 48 hours of driving time. You’d need at least 3-5 days for this trip (without sightseeing).  

Our favourite way to travel between these two vibrant cities is by train. Not only does train travel allow for a relaxing and comfortable journey, but it allows you to see how diverse Canada’s landscapes and regions are. There isn’t one train that services the entire route, so you can combine different train experiences. For example, you can take the Rocky Mountaineer sightseeing train from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies. Then from Jasper, spend three nights on VIA Rail’s sleeper train before arriving in Toronto. From Toronto, Montreal is accessible by VIA Rail’s Corridor train. This last part can take anywhere from five hours to eight hours, depending on if the train has any connections. 

If you are looking for a luxury train from Montreal to Vancouver or from Vancouver to Montreal, then you could combine GoldLeaf service on Rocky Mountaineer with Prestige Class on VIA Rail The Canadian train.

VIA Rail Corridor train travelling on an iron bridge over a river in Eastern Canada

Canadian Rail Tours Vancouver to Montreal

Close up of VIA Rail Canadian train travelling through forested area

Combining different train services creates a memorable and diverse cross-country journey. There are three different trains that you could include in your journey from Vancouver to Montreal — Rocky Mountaineer, VIA Rail Canadian train, and VIA Rail Corridor train.  

If you’d like to see an example of how these trains fit together in an itinerary, check out our Canada Coast to Coast by Train trip. This trip includes the train Montreal to Vancouver. Though this is the reverse direction, it is similar to if you were travelling from Vancouver to Montreal. Please reach out to one of our vacation advisors for more information. 

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Keep reading or discover more travel inspiration in our brochure. This guide showcases our world-famous train journeys, with ideas for personalizing your Canadian vacation.

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Train Onboard Experience

Each of the trains mentioned above have a different onboard experience, so there is always something new to enjoy as you make your way to Montreal.

1. Rocky Mountaineer (Vancouver to Banff or Jasper)

Couple enjoying the views from the GoldLeaf outdoor viewing platform on Rocky Mountaineer train

Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury sightseeing train that runs during daylight hours. The custom-designed glass-dome train cars mean you can enjoy panoramic views as you travel. Gourmet locally inspired cuisine is served onboard the train, either at your seat if you are in SilverLeaf or in the lower-level dining room if you are in GoldLeaf. Other features of the train include outdoor viewing platforms and comfortable, reclining seats. Rocky Mountaineer hosts provide commentary on the history of the railway and the scenic highlights of each area.

2. VIA Rail Canadian train (Vancouver to Jasper to Toronto)

Couple drinking coffee in a sleeper cabin on The Canadian train

The Canadian train is a sleeper train that takes you from Vancouver to Toronto in four days. You don’t have to do the entire journey; you can also start in Jasper or Winnipeg. 

There are three levels of service offered on the train: Economy, Sleeper Plus, and Prestige. For multi-day journeys, it is best to choose Sleeper Plus or Prestige class so you can relax in a private cabin. Cabins feature large picture windows, comfortable seating, and bedding for one or two people. Prestige class is the highest level of service and includes a larger cabin with an L-shaped leather couch, as well as a dedicated concierge, priority meal reservations, and access to the Prestige Park car.

The Canadian train has a dining car and several viewing cars. Hot meals are served in the dining car throughout the day and are included in Sleeper Plus and Prestige class tickets. The Skyline car and Prestige Park car both feature a top-floor viewing area.

3. VIA Rail Corridor train (Toronto to Montreal)

VIA Rail attendant speaking to three people on The Corridor train

The Corridor train travels between cities in Ontario and Quebec. Economy and Business class are offered onboard. Lights meals, drinks, and snacks are available for purchase in Economy, while meals and full-bar service are included in Business class.

Vancouver to Montreal Train Route

1. Vancouver to Jasper – Rocky Mountaineer

Map of Vancouver to Jasper Rocky Mountaineer train route

Once the train departs Vancouver, it meanders through the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest, gradually heading towards the majestic peaks of the Canadian Rockies. The train stops in Kamloops, where the landscape transforms into arid terrain. Guests stay overnight in a hotel before embarking on day two of their Rocky Mountaineer train journey. Highlights along the way include the Spiral Tunnels, an engineering marvel, and Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak.

2. Vancouver or Jasper to Toronto – VIA Rail

Map of The Canadian train between Vancouver and Toronto

Leaving Jasper behind, The Canadian train winds through the prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The scenery is full of small farming towns, and green and gold fields. As the train crosses into the province of Manitoba, guests can admire the Canadian Shield landscape, marked by pristine lakes, rocky outcrops, and dense forests. If you want to extend your journey, you can get off the train in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital, and explore this prairie city before continuing to Toronto. 

This is part of The Canadian train route between Vancouver and Toronto. Another option would be to board the train in Vancouver rather than Jasper.

3. Toronto to Montreal – VIA Rail

Map of The Corridor train route between Toronto and Quebec City

The final leg of a Vancouver to Montreal train trip is from Toronto to Montreal. The train takes you along the shores of Lake Ontario and follows the St. Lawrence River, passing countryside and forested areas. 

This section is part of The Corridor train route, which goes from Windsor in Ontario to Quebec City in Quebec. Key stops along the way include Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. It is a scenic commuter train.

Vancouver to Montreal Train Price

The Vancouver to Montreal train price depends on what train services you choose, the travel season, and availability. Your journey will include two or three trains, as well as hotels on either side of the train ride. At Canadian Train Vacations, we customize your trip to suit your specific interests and needs. Please contact one of our vacation advisors for more information on the price of a Vancouver to Montreal rail journey or a Montreal to Vancouver train trip.

Vancouver to Montreal Train Time

The Vancouver to Montreal train time varies depending on which trains you choose and the connections. Here’s a rough estimate of the time you could spend on each train. Your total train journey would span 1-2 weeks, especially if you want to explore the attractions in each destination. Usually, one or two nights is needed between trains because of the different train schedules. 

  • Vancouver to Banff (Rocky Mountaineer): 2 days. Departs on Mondays, Fridays, and some Tuesdays at 8am between April and October.  
  • Vancouver to Jasper (Rocky Mountaineer): 2 days. Departs on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8am between April and October.  
  • Vancouver to Toronto (VIA Rail): 4 nights. Departs Vancouver on Mondays and Fridays at 3pm.  
  • Jasper to Toronto (VIA Rail): 3 nights. Departs Jasper on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 12.30pm.  
  • Toronto to Montreal (VIA Rail): 5 hours. Daily train service. Some days have multiple departures. 

Note: if you wanted to take the train to Vancouver from Montreal, the schedule and timings would be different. 

Choosing the ideal time for your Vancouver to Montreal train journey depends on your preferences. The summer months, from June to August, are popular for their warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, enhancing the amount of time you can spend viewing the scenery. Fall, particularly September and October, unveils a tapestry of vibrant autumn colours, creating a picturesque backdrop. Fall colours can be seen in the Canadian Rockies and throughout Ontario and Quebec. Winter train journeys, with the snow-covered landscapes, are enchanting. Spring, from April to May, is a quieter travel season than summer, which is perfect if you’d like to avoid the crowds.  

Rocky Mountaineer only runs between April and October, so experiencing this train would not be possible during the winter. Since VIA Rail runs trains year-round, you can take VIA Rail Montreal to Vancouver or VIA Rail Vancouver to Montreal anytime. You would combine The Canadian and The Corridor trains.

Vancouver to Montreal Accommodation

Exterior view of Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal at night

When travelling on The Canadian train, you’ll sleep onboard in a private berth or private cabin (Sleeper Plus or Prestige class).

Sleeper Plus cabins feature daytime seating next to the window. At night, you’ll cozy up in retractable upper and lower beds. In the cabin for two, there is a small washroom (toilet, sink, mirror) and a shared shower is down the hall. Cabins for one and private berths are alternative options in Sleeper Plus class.

Prestige Class cabins are 50 percent larger than Sleeper Plus cabins. There is an L-shaped leather couch which converts to a lower bed for two. Your bed faces the window, so you can enjoy the views all day and night if you like. There’s an in-room entertainment unit and a mini bar stocked with your preferred beverages. You can enjoy the private washroom which includes a shower.

For the rest of your across-Canada trip, including Rocky Mountaineer train days, you’ll stay overnight in hotels. Here are some of our favourite accommodation options in Vancouver, Jasper, Toronto, and Montreal: 

  • Coast Coal Harbour Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver 
  • Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver 
  • Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper 
  • Fairmont Royal York, Toronto 
  • Hotel Bonaparte, Montreal 
  • Le Place D’armes Hotel and Suites, Montreal 

Enhancing Your Train Journey

Woman reading Mile Post, the Rocky Mountaineer magazine, onboard the train

To make the most of this epic Vancouver Montreal train adventure, consider these tips.  

  • Enjoy the panoramic views and every-changing scenery by spending time in the viewing cars on The Canadian train, especially during daylight hours. 
  • During the peak summer season, take part in the various onboard activities available on The Canadian train. 
  • If you choose GoldLeaf on Rocky Mountaineer, don’t forget to step onto the large outdoor viewing platform when key sights are coming up. There is a small outdoor viewing area in SilverLeaf too.  
  • Listen to the onboard commentary on Rocky Mountaineer and read the onboard newspaper, Mile Post, to learn more about your train route. 
  • Chat with fellow passengers, share travel stories and recommendations as you travel across the country. 
  • Bring a camera to capture the awe-inspiring landscapes as you traverse the Canadian Rockies, the prairies, and the Ontario countryside. 

And finally, allow yourself the luxury of unplugging from the hustle and bustle of the everyday and relish the slower pace and rhythm of train travel.

Preparing for Your Train Adventure

As your journey to Montreal spans several days and involves catching multiple trains, it’s important to pack appropriate clothes and other items. We recommend dressing in layers. Temperatures on the trains may vary from day to day, just like the areas you’ll be travelling through. Comfortable, flat-soled shoes are best for walking around train stations and moving between train cars.  

It’s also a good idea to pack a book, tablet, or other form of entertainment for your sleeper-train journey as this is the longest train ride on your way to Montreal. While all the trains mentioned offer dining services, bringing a few snacks and a reusable water bottle can be convenient for the time between meals.  

For Rocky Mountaineer travel days, you can only bring a small bag onto the train each day. The rest of your luggage is sent to your hotel. Make sure any valuables or important items are in your small bag. 

VIA Rail’s Canadian train also has luggage restrictions. You will need to pack your essentials for the train into a small bag or carry-on and you will check in larger luggage items. It’s important to remember that you won’t have access to any checked items until the end of your sleeper-train journey.


Taking the train is a comfortable and relaxing way to travel across Canada. If you want to see the highlights of the country, then a train trip between Vancouver and Montreal is a fantastic option. You can choose your train experiences, stopover destinations, accommodations, and more. If you’d like information about train trips in Canada, please contact a vacation advisor at Canadian Train Vacations.

#1 Travel Tip: From food tours in Montreal

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To whale-watching excursions in Vancouver, there is so much to see and do. Add an extra night (or two!) at the start or end of your train trip so that you have enough time to explore.

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

#2 Travel Tip: Each day of your train journey will be different!

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Pack a travel journal to document your reflections, highlights, and memorable experiences.

Blog Author - Hannah Poaros-Mcdermott
Hannah Poaros-McDermott
Travel Writer and Senior Content Coordinator

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Montreal jazz fest free?

No, the majority of events at the Montreal Jazz Festival are ticketed. While some outdoor shows and activities may be free, most performances, especially headliners and indoor concerts, require tickets.

How many people go to jazz fest every year?

Over 2 million people attend the Montreal Jazz Festival annually, making it one of the largest and most popular music festivals in the world.

How much does it cost to attend the Montreal Jazz Festival ?

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When is the Montreal Jazz Festival ?

The Montreal Jazz Festival typically takes place in late June to early July. For 2024, it is scheduled to take place from June 27th to July 6th.

Who to see at the Montreal Jazz Festival 2024?

The 2024 artist lineup includes exciting performers such as Laufey, Pink Martini, Elisapie, Alfa Mist, and more. Stay updated by checking the official festival website and social media channels for the latest artist announcements.

About the author: Hannah Poaros-McDermott is the Senior Content Coordinator at Fresh Tracks Canada. She has previously written for and shared her local knowledge in Where Vancouver, Where Whistler, and Essential Vancouver magazines. Originally from the UK, Hannah travelled... Read more

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