Heading out West from Toronto involved three train journeys. The first was from Toronto to Winnipeg and took 34 hours. In hindsight we were...

Train Journey

Heading out West from Toronto involved three train journeys. The first was from Toronto to Winnipeg and took 34 hours. In hindsight we were totally unprepared for a day and a half on a train without wifi. It was long, and because we left at midnight it meant spending two nights trying to sleep on the train which was pretty uncomfortable.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Throughout my time travelling around Canada I've come to realise you learn a lot more about a city when someone you know is showing you around - whether it's the history of the place, or just the nicest bars to go - other people are a great help. Winnipeg was one of those places where I wish I knew somebody. I spent the whole time there thinking we'd missed something.
We stayed in a hostel quite a walk from the city centre. The shower was downstairs in the kitchen, and a mouse lived in our room.

Manitoba Legislative Building
The statue on top of the legislative building is known as The Golden Boy. He faces north with its mineral resources, forest, hydroelectric power, seaport and fish, pointing towards where Manitoba's future lies.

Assiniboine Park

The one thing I was intent on seeing in Winnipeg was the statue of Winnipeg, the bear who inspired A. A. Milne. The story goes that in August 1914, Lt. Harry Colebourn, a Canadian soldier, bought a bear cub for $20 at a train station in Ontario and named her Winnipeg (Winnie for short), after the city. The bear became a mascot for Lt. Colebourn's unit and travelled to England with him. Before heading off to France, he decided to leave Winnie at London Zoo. It was here that A. A. Milne's son, Christopher Robin, saw the bear and consequently decided to change the name of his teddy bear 'Edward' to 'Winnie the Pooh'.   

Edmonton, Alberta
Winnipeg to Edmonton took 18 and a half hours, and was a much better train journey, despite there being not much to see.
I much preferred Edmonton to Winnipeg, our hostel was near Old Strathcona and Whyte Avenue where there was a few bars, restaurants and shops. 
We visited West Edmonton Mall one day, which is the largest mall in North America. It was pretty cool, but essentially it had the same shops as all the other malls we'd visited. It was just like going to the Metro Centre, but with an indoor water park, an aquarium with penguins and sea lions, and an exact replica of the Santa Maria.

All credit to Andrew for this photo! 
Legislative Building of Alberta

Vancouver, British Columbia

The journey from Edmonton to Vancouver was probably one of the worst train journeys I have ever experienced. We knew that the trains didn't run on time, so before we left our hostel we decided to ring Via Rail and ask, no answer. So we headed to the station, which was quite far out of the city, to depart at 7:30am. As soon as we arrived we were told the train wasn't going to arrive until 11am. This then turned into 1pm. And got later and later until we finally departed at 4pm, 8 and a half hours late. We were told throughout, what was supposed to be a 26 hour journey, that we'd be able to make up the time. But as the hours went on I stopped believing what I was being told. We finally arrived in Vancouver 12 hours late, after a 38 hour train journey. 
The problem with the trains on the Toronto to Vancouver route is that the train tracks were sold and freight trains now have priority. This means that when a freight train is coming in your direction, the passenger train must stop and let it past. You can be stood still waiting for 15 minutes, or an hour. And sometimes you'll even have to reverse for a while and then stop. 
Thankfully, the journey was picturesque.

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