Magic Moments in Montreal: the English, the French and the In-Between

Magic Moments in Montreal: the English, the French and the In-Between

My mouth is watering as I pull into the platform at the Gare Centrale in Montreal. I can already taste the buttery croissant I have been looking forward to for the past 5 hours, suffering the shaky path of the VIA Rail (read more about VIA Rail here) as we make stops en route from Toronto in Oshawa, Cobourg, Kingston and so on. All I want is to enjoy a cup of hot tea that isn’t spilling over myself and my laptop as I try unsuccessfully to connect to the WiFi en route .

Exiting the train, I’m greeted by a friendly “Bonjour!” and with an energetic smile, I return the greeting and relish in the fact that I have begun my mini-escape in the  most European this side of the Atlantic. The city, 3/4 of whom are native French speakers, is the second largest French speaking city in the world. But it’s not only the language that is reminiscent of old world Europe. Montreal is arguably the cultural hub of North America and is without a doubt the most colourful city in Canada.

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VIA Rail: In or Out?

Passengers aboard a VIA Rail train bound for Ottawa from Toronto say they have been stuck in Smiths Falls since 4 p.m. without clear explanations from staff as to when they’ll get going.
Photo Source: The Ottawa Citizen

Founded in 1977 and supported largely by Canada’s Prime Minister at the time, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the VIA Rail was introduced to Canada as the “more human way to travel”. Now, I’m all for preserving tradition and national pride but having become a frequent user of the VIA Rail, it has come to my attention that many processes that may have served us well at one point have become less relevant as time goes on. After returning to Toronto after my last trip with Canada’s national (passenger) railway, I found myself wondering whether the VIA Rail in Canada is on its way in… or its way out?

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