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Jasper and Toronto (Niagara Falls) stopovers on The Canadian


Aug 15th, 2012, 11:15 PM
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Jasper and Toronto (Niagara Falls) stopovers on The Canadian

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.
mike_nz is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2012, 12:55 AM
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shengtian is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2012, 05:46 AM
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I have only skiied the Rockies in winter, we didn't do much touring, but on a sunny, clear day, I would think the Icefields Parkway would be beautiful. I would not want to go on a cloudy day or a day with poor visibility. Waterfalls are really pretty in winter. The lakes will be frozen so you won't see the amazing color of the water. It is not a drive where you are driving on the edges of cliffs, you mostly drive through mountain passes. It closes occasionally through winter for a couple days but I would not think this would be a scary drive to do with your rental car.

Jsper also has a wildlife tour that would be interesting. Walking Maligne Canyon in Jasper in winter--with crampons, would be beautiful.

I have only been there (we stayed in Banff) in late March to ski. Be sure to bring really warm clothing for January--ski jackets, gloves, hats etc. I would think it is going to be really cold in January.

Sundog Tours (I have not used them)offers several winter guided trips and one tour does go to Banff. Banff is a lovely ski town.

We have been to Niagara Falls in the winter. There are often discounted rates at hotels--this is really their slow season. The roads from Toronto to Niagara Falls should be clear unless there is a major snowstorm--which could happen. If the weather is clear, you could easily rent a car and drive to the Falls. Snowstorms are predicted ahead, so if the weather doesn't cooperate, you would find plenty to do in Toronto.
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Aug 16th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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It will be much cheaper to rent a car in Toronto and drive down to Niagara (90 minutes)... stay in Niagara Falls because rates are much lower in winter...Consider Fallsview Casino and Resort, Embassy Suites, or Oakes Hotel for great views...

There is a major Icewine Festival in Niagara on the Lake in the last two weekends of January and the area is alive with events...

The Falls in winter can be magical... have fun
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Aug 17th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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There are the GO Trains out of Toronto Union (train) Station to Burlington that are set up so as to connect to a GO train bus to Niagara Falls. I've no experience with it, so don't know how easy it is. There is a VIA rail train that seems to go all the way to Niagara Falls, but unfortunately it does not seem to work with your schedule.


Have a great trip! Daniel
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Aug 20th, 2012, 02:23 AM
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Rental car out of Toronto to Niagara Falls looks like a good option then.

We will check out the Sundog Tours packages as we think we might see more if we're not doing the driving ourselves and can instead gaze out the window?!
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Aug 24th, 2012, 10:43 PM
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Sundog is the only company offering transportation between Jasper and Banff/Lake Louise in the winter - they have a daily shuttle. www.sundogtours.com
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