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Jasper and Toronto (Niagara Falls) stopovers on The Canadian

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Hi All,

We're travelling to North America in January and will be taking the Canadian from Vancouver to Toronto with a connecting train up to Ottawa. We have booked the tickets with VIA which give us 3 nights in Jasper (or surrounds) and one night in Toronto before moving on up to Ottawa.

Looking for some advice as to possible itineraries and transport options for the stopovers.

Jasper (3 nights):
We'd like to explore the Icefields Parkway. Obviously it's going to be the middle of winter so we'd like to leave the driving to the professionals. We love stunning landscapes and I'm sure we'll see plenty on this detour. Which tour companies would you recommend for the Icefields Parkway? Our first night will be in Jasper as the train arrives at 16:00. The question is, should we do 2 nights in Banff (or somewhere around there)? Would that allow a reasonable margin on travel to be back in Jasper for a 17:30 train departure if we were to leave Banff that same day? Or are we better off aiming to do one night in Banff and then return to Jasper with an additional night there before our train journey continues?

Toronto (1 night):
We'd like to head down to see the Niagara Falls. Our train arrives in Toronto at 09:30 on a Tuesday and we depart to Ottawa from Toronto (by train) at 16:20 on Wednesday. We looked at booking rail tickets straight through to/from Niagara Falls but were only given local bus routes as booking options - not ideal for taking our luggage methinks! So we have open options at this stage as to what happens once we arrive in Toronto. I see most of the tour companies depart Toronto at 9am for day trips to Niagara so it looks unlikely we will be able to tag onto one of those. What would be our next best option? We're thinking maybe a Greyhound bus there and back with a night in Niagara Falls?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

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