February 7, 2017


Ottawa, February 7, 2017 – Today, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced the details of its participation in Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport; Karen McCrimmon, Member of Parliament for Kanata-Carleton and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport; David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South; Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa; and Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer at VIA Rail Canada, were at the Ottawa train station to announce the company’s  involvement in this year’s festivities.

VIA Rail will participate in a number of major initiatives organized across Canada, designed to strengthen the pride and sense of belonging felt across our country. The corporation selected these activities based on their ability to bring Canadians together, promote our culture and foster diversity. Altogether, VIA Rail’s support of these projects represent an investment of over $2 million in train tickets.

“VIA Rail allows Canadians to discover the country and travel to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. The Government of Canada is proud to participate in initiatives that contribute to making 2017 an exceptional and memorable year!”
—The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“I am delighted to see VIA Rail getting Canadians on board with Canada 150. I encourage everyone to travel across the country to take part in activities from coast to coast to coast to celebrate Canada’s linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, as well as its rich history and heritage.”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is at the centre of celebrations for Canada’s 150th birthday. The partnership between VIA Rail and Ottawa 2017 will enable us to share the festive spirit of the celebrations with travellers from across Canada, and to roll out a warm welcome the moment they pull into in our city.”
—Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson

“Canada’s 150th birthday is an opportunity to pay tribute to and celebrate our immense country, its heritage, the diversity of its inhabitants, and its quality of life. Connecting more than 400 communities together from coast to coast for almost 40 years, VIA Rail has become a part of Canadian traditions. And as a safe, environmentally friendly mode of transportation, the train is also the smart way to travel. It is in this spirit that VIA Rail invites all aboard for the celebrations! The train is Canada’s best window.”
—Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer at VIA Rail

VIA Rail 150 branding
As part of the celebrations, VIA Rail has wrapped a portion of its fleet in the Canada 150 colours.  The exteriors of 22 locomotives, 18 passenger cars and the Glenfraser lounge car are decorated with the names of some of the cities served by the national passenger rail service. VIA Rail has also hung posters and banners in its stations, inviting travellers to join in the festivities. This campaign, which uses VIA Rail’s own equipment and infrastructure, was designed to encourage people to travel by train to attend Canada 150 events or, quite simply, to discover the beauty of Canada. All aboard for the celebrations!

Pan Canadian
: A unique travel experience
To help travellers make the most of this exceptional year, VIA Rail is offering Canadians a unique opportunity to explore Canada from coast to coast. From March to October, the company is offering specially designed packages created to allow travellers to discover the cities along the following routes:

  • Vancouver – Winnipeg – Churchill
  • Vancouver – Toronto – Montréal – Halifax
  • Halifax – Montréal – Toronto – Winnipeg – Churchill

Travellers who opt for this adventure can take a guided tour through the Maligne River area, one of Jasper National Park’s most spectacular areas. They will have the opportunity to visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg and to discover the colourful neighbourhoods Toronto is famous for. They will see the impressive Niagara Falls, one of the great natural wonders of the world. In Ottawa they can take part in a cultural tour to see the priceless masterpieces at the National Art Gallery and the fascinating historical displays at the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum. Travellers will also enjoy a walking tour of Old Montreal and will learn about the history, architecture and secrets of this fascinating city. On the east coast, they will be charmed by Peggy’s Cove.

VIA Rail – a partner in initiatives that bring people together
Over the course of the year, Canadians will be able to participate in many events organized as part of 150th anniversary of confederation. VIA Rail will make travel easier for participants and festival-goers heading to select Canadian Heritage signature projects across the country, as well as other major events including:

  • The 150 Years Young project – Apathy is Boring
  • Edges of Canada – NYO Canada
  • LandMarks2017 – Partners in Art
  • National Canadian Film Day 150 – REEL CANADA
  • Canada Games in Winnipeg
  • The Walrus Talks – Conversations about Canada
  • YMCA LocalMotion Challenge
  • Travelling through history – Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie
  • Daughters of the Vote – Equal Voice
  • The Memorial Cup competition in Windsor
  • Sports events in Winnipeg and Vancouver
  • Music festivals in Halifax
  • Military events

For example, Canadians will be able to attend concerts featuring the National Youth Orchestra Canada in 12 cities across the country. They can also go to a number of athletic competitions (including the Canada Games in Winnipeg), and watch Ligue nationale d’improvisation shows in VIA Rail stations organized by the Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie. Canadians can also share their vision for our country’s future with members of the Order of Canada and youth leaders as part of The Walrus Talk’s Conversations about Canada.

Ottawa 2017: let’s celebrate in the nation’s capital
VIA Rail is also involved in a number of major events that will be held in Ottawa including Red Bull Crashed Ice, Stanley Cup tribute events, the Juno Awards ceremony, La Machine, and the 105th Grey Cup.

Train 150: a television program
Finally, VIA Rail has partnered with DHX Media to help support the making of Train 150, a timely production that will air on CBC and Family Channel. Train 150 is an original, multi-platform Canadian series presenting Canada coast to coast from a never-before-seen perspective. The reality show will feature people who, over the course of a week-long train adventure, share captivating personal stories against the backdrop of our country’s spectacular scenery. The series will also feature some of Canada’s best performers, across all genres, on and off the train.

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and its 2,600 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years. For more information, visit: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.