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Duration: 16 days Visiting: Canada
A luxury blend of transport showcases Canada's idyllic landscapes, as you embark on one of the most renowned long-distance journeys in the world. From the vibrant city of Vancouver, set out for the majestic Rocky Mountains before boarding 'The Canadian' train for a unique rail journey through the western Prairies and lakes of northern Ontario to cosmopolitan Toronto. Dine at the highly rated YEW Seafood + Bar in Vancouver. Visit the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler and take part in a one-of-a-kind holistic tea workshop to create your own tea concoction. The graceful Emerald Lake Lodge is set on a 13-acre peninsula making the perfect location to enjoy Yoho National Park. A well-balanced tour combining coach, ferry and rail. Spend two nights unwinding in Victoria and Banff, with a further relaxing journey aboard VIA Rail Canada's The Canadian train. Two nights in cosmopolitan Toronto cap off a fantastic trip.
Welcome to Canada's vibrant port city of Vancouver. On arrival at Vancouver International Airport you will be met and transferred to your luxury downtown hotel in the heart of the city's premier shopping and entertainment district. At 18:00, join your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Dinner with drinks at the Zagat-rated YEW Seafood + Bar.
Victoria - putting the British into British Columbia
Experience the best of Vancouver during your exclusive sightseeing. Explore historic Gastown, Chinatown, the eclectic community of English Bay and view the famous totem poles in Stanley Park. Later board your ferry and relax in the exclusive Seawest Lounge, with scenic coastal views all the way to Victoria. On arrival, an orientation introduces you to the Inner Harbour, the ornate Parliament Buildings and Bastion Square.
Begin the day with a visit to Butchart Gardens with ample time to explore the 55 acres (22 ha) of stunning floral displays, meandering paths and spectacular views which have delighted visitors for over 100 years. Check in with an on-site botanist to find out more about your favourite flora. Back in Victoria, enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
The Ultimate Resort of Whistler
Journey across the Strait of Georgia back to the mainland. On the way to Whistler stop to see the roaring Shannon Falls. Upon arrival in Whistler, you visit the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and take part in a one-of-a-kind holistic tea workshop, creating your own tea concoction.
On to the Napa Valley of the North
Travel into the lush Okanagan Valley region, known for producing some of the best fruit and hybrid wines in the world. Your home for the night is at the lakeside Delta Grand Okanagen Resort. In the evening, enjoy dinner complemented by local wines.
The Three Exquisite National Parks
Journey through three of Canada's most breathtaking National Parks: Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, and Yoho en route to Emerald Lake, one of Canada's most outstanding wilderness settings. Built of hand-hewn timber and featuring massive stone fireplaces, your destination is the beautiful Emerald Lake Lodge. After dinner, savour a liqueur at the lodge before stargazing under the night sky and roasting s'mores (a traditional campfire treat) by a lakeside bonfire.
Iconic Lake Louise and Moraine Lake
(Relaxed Start) The morning is yours to relax in the peaceful setting of Emerald Lake before heading to the Spiral Tunnels viewpoint. Pass by the spectacular Natural Bridge, spanning the Kicking Horse River, before departing for another great icon of the Canadian Rockies, Moraine Lake. A flat, easy trail weaves its way through shoreline trees and offers extraordinary views of the Ten Peaks, a series of encircling summits all over 10,000 feet (3,048 metres). Hike up the Rock Pile for an alternative view of the turquoise waters and nearby Tower of Babel. Then drive to Lake Louise and iconic The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for your stay.
The Unspoiled Wilderness of Banff National Park
Enjoy an interpretive talk along the shore of Lake Louise also known as the 'Jewel of the Rockies' and learn about the history and geography of the area. The rest of the morning is yours to do as you please. Take a canoe out on the lake, take a hike to Lake Agnes and the historic teahouse or just relax and take in the beauty of the lake surrounded by dense green forest and crowned by the glistening Victoria Glacier. In the afternoon, head out for the popular resort city of Banff where you will have an orientation including viewpoints, landmarks, historic places and a ride on-board the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Enjoy a private meet and greet with a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. Wearing his iconic red serge uniform, he will fascinate you with personal stories, the rich history, and traditions of the RCPM. For your evening meal, choose from a selection of restaurants, for your dining pleasure.
At Leisure in Banff
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a day at leisure to relax and take advantage of the hotel facilities, browse the shops along Banff Avenue or join a helicopter tour of Canada's Rockies.
Along the Icefields Parkway to Jasper National Park
Motor along the unforgettable Icefields Parkway and witness amazing scenes such as the Crowfoot Glacier and Columbia Icefield, North America's largest sub-polar ice pack. At Athabasca Glacier, climb on-board a specially designed Ice Explorer for a guided tour over steep grades, snow and ice as you ascend part way up the glacier. Your home for the night is the beautiful Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, in the heart of Jasper National Park – an alpine wonderland of immense forests, bejewelled lakes, soaring waterfalls, soothing mineral hot springs, rugged glaciers, colourful meadows and majestic mountains. After a Celebration Dinner, enjoy a fun and interactive talk by a wildlife expert that will transport you back in time through storytelling and costume. Their firsthand experience in Jasper's environment reveal an authentic voice teaching about some of the park's most interesting residents including elk, moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear, black bear, beaver and caribou.
Jasper National Park and Iconic Maligne Lake
This morning, embark on a private, narrated cruise on the serene waters of iconic Maligne Lake, one of the jewels of the Canadian Rockies. Stop at Spirit Island, one of the most photographed sites of the Canadian Rockies. Then, join your Travelling Concierge for an interpretive walk at Maligne Canyon, one of the most beautiful gorges in the Canadian Rockies. Stroll along the canyon's trail, past beautiful waterfalls, astounding rock formations, and learn about the underground river system. Later in the afternoon, bid farewell to your Travelling Concierge and settle into your private compartment with en-suite facilities, on-board VIA Rail's The Canadian, one of the world's greatest rail journeys. Enjoy comfortable accommodations, delicious meals and impeccable service on-board the train. See prairies stretching to the horizon and cross forests studded with sparkling lakes. Discover the unique pleasure of rail travel by night as the gentle rocking of the train lulls you to sleep.
Arrive in Toronto, Canada's most cosmopolitan city, located on the shore of Lake Ontario. On arrival, you will be met and taken to your stylish hotel in the heart of Toronto's vibrant city centre. Time permitting, start exploring Toronto with your complimentary 'hop-on, hop-off' city sightseeing tour.
Note: Your scheduled arrival at Toronto Union Station is scheduled for 9:30. While VIA Rail will do everything to rectify any potential delays, local rail traffic conditions may result in significant service disruptions and delays. Should you arrive too late to enjoy your complimentary ‘hop-on, hop-off' city sightseeing tour, we will replace it with with another ticket valid for Day 16 before your departure time; we therefore recommend you do not book an early flight on Day 16 to avoid any potential disappointment.
Niagara Falls up close and Sightseeing
In the morning, travel to Niagara Falls and board a cruise to the base of the mighty cascades for close up views of one of the world's great natural wonders. Then visit picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake, a nationally recognised historic site. Before returning to Toronto, experience the region's wine-making culture with a visit to a local winery for a tasting.
Your contrasts of Canada journey comes to an end as you are taken to Toronto Pearson International Airport for your onward flight.
Vancouver (Central) - Canada
Set in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, above the Pacific Centre mall, this upscale 30-story hotel enjoys an ultra-convenient location for enjoying the best Vancouver has to offer. Amenities include the only indoor/outdoor pool in town, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, and luxurious accommodations with flat-screen TVs, DVD players and marble bathrooms. A visit to the acclaimed seafood restaurant and chic bar is a must as is a stroll around the fine shops that surround the hotel.
Victoria (Central) - Canada
Located right on Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour, the Hotel Grand Pacific offers guests welcoming comfort, world-class facilities, an unbeatable location close to Victoria’s downtown restaurant and shopping district, and Fisherman’s Wharf—a working harbor surrounded by an array of casual food counters, unique shops, and water adventures including whale watching. Offering the best in Victoria accommodation, guests will enjoy guestroom featuring a private balcony offering fresh air and a view, a mini-refrigerator and high-end bathroom amenities for pampering. The Hotel Grand Pacific is also home to four food and beverage outlets.
Whislter (Central) - Canada
Grand in scale, intimate by nature, the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Whistler epitomizes the mountain spirit. Revel in one of the 273 luxury lodge guest rooms with open-sky spaciousness, European-styled refinement and balconies that open up to superb Whistler views. Savor the delicacies of locally sourced fare featuring spices from a rooftop garden at the Classic Steakhouse, Updated, while Sidecut Bar welcomes guests with a glowing ambience of fire and ice, as well as a menu of creative cocktails and wines by the glass.
Kelowna (Scenic) - Canada
Delta Grand Okanagen Resort, Kelowna
Yoho Nat.Park (Scenic) - Canada
Set on a 13-acre peninsula on Yoho National Park’s Emerald Lake, this upscale lodge features posh rooms with private bathrooms, private balconies with lake views, wood-burning fireplaces and comfortable sitting areas. The refined restaurant serves regional cuisine, and there's a seasonal bistro by the lake. A stately lounge features a stone fireplace, plus an oak bar from a 1890s saloon. Other amenities include a game room and a hot tub, plus a fitness center.
Lake Louise (Scenic) - Canada
Surrounded by soaring mountain peaks, the majestic Victoria Glacier and a glistening emerald lake, the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel is located in Alberta's Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally built as a base for outdoor enthusiasts and alpinists over 100 years ago, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a year-round luxury mountain resort. The luxury of a bygone era has been perfectly preserved in the plush, well-appointed guest rooms which offer scenic mountain views. Dining options include a modern Canadian restaurant, an alpine-style eatery and a 24-hour deli. There's also a spa, an indoor pool and a gym.
Jasper (Scenic) - Canada
Situated in Alberta's magnificent Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the iconic Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge resort invites you to experience a great Canadian lodge, surrounded by nature and abundant wildlife. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a 700 acre year-round luxury mountain resort which wraps around the shores of pristine Lac Beauvert and Canada's #1 Golf Resort Course. A village of heritage log cabins connected by picturesque paths, The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge's superbly appointed guestrooms offer the perfect accommodation inside the national park. Choose from 6 food and beverage outlets and enjoy outstanding service and a culinary tradition rich in Alberta history.
Toronto (Central) - Canada
The Fairmont Royal York, Toronto
5 out of 5
8/7/2016 Lucinda Walter, Green Valley, United States
This Insight GOLD Tour was outstanding! Everything was very well done and our Tour Guide, Andrea "Happy Feather" and our Bus Driver Martin were excellent. Tour Guides and drivers can make or break a tour and both made this an exceptional one. Happy Feather left us in stitches as she punned the way throughout the tour. She was very organized and explained everything in great detail so we could enjoy the tour and not worry about anything. Both were delightful and so helpful. The accommodations were excellent as was the food. The scenery got more amazing each day. The Train was excellent with great service and food. In Toronto we meet our Insight Guide and she was very helpful and made sure we connected with our tours of the day. All in all, I would recommend this tour to anyone who wants to see the Canadian Rockies, travel by rail and see Niagara Falls as those were the highlights for us. The only negative thing I would say about this trip is this: Insight provided us with a ticket to Niagara Falls that did NOT provide us lunch. We were the only couple on the bus that had to spend time looking for a place to eat in Niagara, Canada. For a few dollars more lunch should have been included and our time would have been better spent. When you spend around $15,000 including air fare for a tour a few dollars more for a lunch would have made our last day go a lot better with happier memories. Next time, Insight please give lunch to your people on this tour. It would make the last day more memorial. A couple final thoughts: This was our first Insight Gold tour and if you are thinking if you should spend the extra for a Gold Tour, my suggestion would be go for it. If you are looking for outstanding accommodations and service as well as an all-inclusive tour than this is the one for you. The only extra cost would be for a helicopter ride over the Rockies, if you wanted. We chose not to take this one because of the price ratio to the time in the air. We have been on the helicopter ride in Hawaii and that was a better price and longer time in the air. I would rather have all things paid for upfront than have to come home to another $500 or so per person bill waiting for you for extra excursions. My husband appreciated the extra room on the bus and the addition of Wi-Fi was great for me. I would highly recommend this trip!