An ideal way to explore the Eastern provinces is by train. Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces are full of history and culture. Discover the buzzing food and art scene of Montreal; the world-class museums of Toronto; the cobbled streets of Quebec City; and the quaint coastal villages of Nova Scotia. These Eastern Canada train tours will give you plenty of photos to share and stories to tell.
Don’t miss the highlights and hidden gems of this region. Our team of travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations can help you plan your perfect trip to Eastern Canada. We customize your itinerary to suite your interests, tastes and budget.
Best Canadian East Coast Train Trips
Speak to a Canadian Train Vacation Advisor to discuss all your options.
The Coast to Coast is the ultimate Canadian trip by rail and includes East Coast train rides. You’ll see the country’s top highlights, including Peggy’s Cove, Niagara Falls and Lake Louise. This trip includes a trip on VIA Rail, in a sleeper cabin, and on the Rocky Mountaineer.
The route goes between Vancouver and Halifax. It can be done in either reverse direction.
Miles covered on train: 3,240
Days on train: 5
Nights on train: 4
This East Coast train vacation takes you from Montreal to Halifax (or in reverse). It includes a night on VIA Rail’s Ocean train in a sleeper cabin. You’ll have time to explore both Montreal and Quebec City, as well as Halifax. Hotel options include the historic Chateau Le Frontenac in Quebec City. While in Halifax, you can take a day trip to Peggy’s Cove to see Canada’s most-photographed lighthouse.
Miles covered on train: 835
Days on train: 1
Nights on train: 1
Spend time in two of Canada's most sophisticated cities. This five-day itinerary takes you between Montreal and Quebec City. Optional excursions include walking and food tours, dining at award-winning restaurants, and visiting world-class museums.
Miles covered on train: 144 miles
Days on train: 0.5 days
Nights on train: 0 nights
Canada’s East Coast Train Experiences
Whether you are looking for a quick week-long getaway to see the region's highlights, or a longer excursion into Canada's history and culture, we have the ideal Eastern Canada train trip itinerary for you.
VIA Rail is Canada’s main passenger train and connects Vancouver to Halifax with four major train routes. Stops you can explore include Vancouver, Jasper, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec and Halifax. The trains run year-round, but there are special presentations and activities during the summer, including live music, wine tastings and history talks. Depending on the route, they offer overnight sleeper train experiences.
There are two train routes in Canada which allow you to sleep on the train, both through VIA Rail. Travel between Vancouver and Toronto on The Canadian with stops in Jasper or Winnipeg. Or travel the East Coast of Canada on the Ocean train. Both sleeper train routes are available all year long. Some sleeper trains in Canada are equipped with special panoramic viewing cars to provide you with the best view of the scenery day or night.
The Canadian Train
Hopping a ride on VIA Rail’s Canadian Train is the ultimate way to discover how big and beautiful Canada is. The Canadian was the flagship of the Canadian Pacific Rail line when it first began service in 1955. Now, connecting Toronto to Vancouver, the Canadian carries you from the forests of Ontario, through the sweeping fields of the Prairies and past the dramatic snow-capped Rocky Mountains.
The Ocean Train
Onboard VIA Rail’s Ocean Train you'll travel from the French speaking province of Quebec, through the blissful backdrop of lighthouses and seascapes in the Canadian maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia before reaching your final destination of Halifax. As you relax onboard, you'll see tiny communities along your route, representing French Canadian, Acadian, Celtic and English heritage.
Facts about the Canadian East Coast
- The first provinces to form Canada are in the East: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario.
- The East Coast is one of the best places in the world to see whales. In the summer months and early fall, Minke, Humpback, Finback and North Atlantic Right Whales can be spotted in the waters.
- The major cities of Eastern Canada include Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City. Ottawa is the country’s capital.
- The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick is home to the highest tides in the world. You can also see Hopewell Rocks, unique rock formations known as Flowerpots.
- The province of Ontario is home to more than 250,000 lakes. This includes some of the Great Lakes, which are on or near the Canada/U.S. border. Toronto is on one of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario, and it is the perfect spot for sailing and sight-seeing cruises.
- Quebec is home to some of the oldest buildings in Canada that are still standing. They date from the early 1600s.
#1 Travel tip: Find the best seafood
Many places on Canada’s East Coast are famous for their seafood. Take the sleeper train to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and try world-class fish and chips, lobster, and scallops.
Places to Visit in Canada’s East Coast
There are so many great Canadian experiences you can pack into one trip when you explore Eastern Canada. From the humbling power of Niagara Falls, to the endless hiking trails and scenic viewpoints along the St. Lawrence River, you'll want to squeeze plenty of side trips into your train vacation.
- Niagara Falls: Take a boat tour that will bring you so close to the enormous, thundering falls that you'll feel the cool, misty spray on your face!
- CN Tower: Admire the twinkling lights of the city from the viewing platform in this iconic building in the Toronto skyline or have dinner with a view at the revolving restaurant.
- St. Lawrence River: see the gorgeous historic architecture of Quebec City and Montreal and Canada’s gorgeous trees while on a boat cruise on this impressive waterway.
#2 Travel tip: Spend time in the Niagara region
If you’re travelling through Ontario, in addition to seeing Niagara Falls, you could explore the wineries nearby and visit the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
5 Reasons to take an East Coast Train vacation
From pristine national parks and lively cities to historic French-Canadian chateaus, there's so much to discover in the heart of Canada.
- Friendly hospitality: Residents are known for their laid back, welcoming friendliness, so you'll be greeted with kind smiles and friendship.
- Diverse landscapes: From the limestone caves in Bruce Peninsula and sparkling lakes of Ontario's cottage country to the deep forests of Quebec, you'll enjoy unspoiled wilderness.
- Some of Canada's finest cities: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City are packed with world-class museums, historic architecture, and trendy restaurants.
- Relax in comfort: Stretch out in your spacious berth or sit back in the dining car and enjoying a gourmet meal for an enjoyable train trip.
- Canadian history: Stroll down the cobblestone streets of Quebec City, admire elegant Victorian architecture, and explore the Rideau Canal National Historic Site in Ottawa.
What Our Customers Say
Many thanks to you both for making this lovely trip a reality
Other that the unsatisfactory hotel in Montreal, the tour was wonderful! The dinner at the Bonaparte Restaurant helped us forget the uncomfortable room. Special highlights of the t...
Pay and John
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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Canada’s East Coast includes Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. These provinces are along the Atlantic coast of the country.
The Fall months are the best time to visit Eastern Canada. Along with mild weather and reduced crowds, the vibrant autumn colours are a major attraction.
Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City are the most populous cities in Eastern Canada. Coastal cities include Halifax and St. John’s.
Yes, VIA’s Ocean train runs along the East Coast of Canada. This sleeper train travels between Halifax and Montreal.
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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