When most people imagine a vacation destination, Canada doesn’t usually come to mind. White sandy beaches and palm trees swaying lazily in a Caribbean breeze are more commonly associated with the word “vacation.”
Sunburns and sandy toes aren’t on everyone’s agenda when planning their travel itinerary, though, and they certainly weren’t for Tracy Haymes when she booked her spot on the Rocky Mountaineer train excursion in April of this year.
“I wanted to travel within my own country,” Tracy, CAA Niagara’s Travel Services Manager, explained. “The Rocky Mountaineer experience was a great way to see Canada.”
Tracy departed from Vancouver and was immediately exposed to its stunning parks and sites, including the Public Market on Granville Island and the Capilano Suspension Bridge hanging 70 meters above the Capilano River.
“I experienced the Gold Leaf car from Vancouver to Kamloops, British Columbia,” Tracy said. “The Gold Leaf cars are similar to a double decker bus in that you sit on the upper level of the car and you’re surrounded by a full glass dome to see the nature around you. The Silver Leaf cars had a quarter-dome view.”
The design of the cars was what made the trip so unique, Tracy believed.
“Seeing the rivers and nature all around you as you pass through is incredible.”
Upon arriving in Banff, Tracy visited Lake Louise before jumping on a coach to Calgary, where she a helicopter ride alongside The Rocky Mountains.
“The phenomenal service made the trip worthwhile,” Tracy explained. “Breakfast and lunch were included in the package, as were snacks and beverages, and the food was great. Plus, we stayed in fantastic hotels each night.”
Tracy described the Columbia Ice Fields, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains, as the stand-out experience on the trip. Walking along the Athabasca Glacier left her in awe.
“There was greenery, water, sun and snow depending on where we were. It was incredible.”
A combination of stunning views, exhilarating experiences, and witnessing wildlife in their natural habitats were highlights for Tracy.
“I had never really travelled within Canada, and this rail journey was a great way to do so. It allowed me to see Canada in a way I wouldn’t otherwise,” she explained. “It was a breathtaking experience.”