I took this picture for Photo Friday at Lake Kamloops while riding the spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver in British Columbia to Jasper in Alberta. This privately-owned, daylight-only train adventure offers sensational itineraries through the Canadian Rockies.
It comes from a proud pedigree of two great railways, the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Rail, which played a key role in the settlement of Canada.
The president of Canadian Pacific Rail believed tourism was vital to the railway’s success and he famously said back in the 1880s, “If we can’t export the scenery, we’ll import the tourists.”
And import them they did with both companies developing grand hotels to entice travellers along their routes. More than 130 years later Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf guests still stay in spiffed-up, Victorian-era edifices like the Banff Springs Hotel, Chateau Lake Louise and Jasper Park Lodge, now all run by the esteemed Canadian hotelier Fairmont.
The benefits of traveling in the two-storey Gold Leaf carriage is that you sit up top in a custom-heated, leather reclining seat under a glass dome, all the better to enjoy the mind-blowing views. An elegant, white-table-cloth dining room is downstairs as well as a covered outdoor viewing deck where you can take pictures of the mountains, rushing rivers and wildlife like bears, moose, and big horn sheep. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that you also enjoy multi-course gourmet breakfasts and lunches while the David Attenborough-like documentary rolls past your picture windows.
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