If you’re looking for something exciting and unique to do with the kids, VIA Rail Canada has you covered. Because sometimes it’s about the journey rather than the destination.
Celebrating its 110th anniversary this past summer, VIA’s Ocean train is worth a trip. Servicing 28 communities between Montreal and Halifax, the picturesque views and relaxed atmosphere allow you and your family to see the hidden beauty of Canada’s east from the comfort of your seat or cabin.
Let your little ones stay up a bit past bedtime and head to the Dome car after dark to gaze out of large windows and see the twinkling of the stars above. During the day, settle into this panoramic section of the train and get lost in the vastness of the horizon. A game of eye-spy or a little train trivia could be fun too!
Or let them play their favourite games on the iPad in the service car where free Wi-Fi is available for guests. Individuals with Sleeper or Sleeper Plus class tickets can expect three delicious meals in the train’s dining car over the course of their trip at an affordable price (Sleeper class) or complimentary as part of their ticket price (Sleeper Plus class).
Though the adventure of traveling on the Ocean is definitely worth it, it is a 20-hour trip so you can expect even the most well behaved children to get a bit antsy. We’ve rounded up a few tips to keep your family entertained and make your journey east to Halifax or West to Montreal as smooth as possible.
- Complete meals are offered for all seat classes throughout the trip but since hungry bellies lead to temper tantrums be sure to bring a snack or two for kiddos who get hungry between scheduled meals. You can also load up on snacks like chips and chocolate bars on board at the canteen located in the car in front of the dining car.
- Load up your tablet or smartphone with your kids’ favourite movies and TV shows before your trip. Or pack a portable DVD player, travel games and books. The train makes its way through areas where cell and Wi-Fi service is patchy at best so having movies and shows ready to go will save you in a pinch.
- Space in all classes is limited so check VIA’s baggage allowances before packing for your trip. It’s possible to check your luggage but be prepared that those pieces go to the baggage car and you won’t see them again until you reach your destination. http://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-info/baggage/carry-baggage
- Keep an eye on ticket prices as VIA has seat sales regularly. They also offer a 50 percent discount for children age two to 11. Kids traveling in Economy class are $14. Discounted student rates are also available for tweens and teens. Learn more at http://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-info/baggage/carry-baggage.