The Real Deal: VIA Rail passes for 10 to 30 days of travel, from $299 per person. Plus, fall savings of up to 50 percent on single-use fares throughout Canada.
The fine print: Prices are per person based on economy-class travel. Taxes average between 6 and 14 percent, depending on which province you depart from. Service charge for refunds is $50. (These conditions apply to all VIA Rail passes and tickets unless otherwise stated.)
Contact: VIA Rail, 888-842-7245, viarail.ca
The CorridorPass, from $299
The 10-day pass is valid for travel in southern Quebec and southern Ontario. The route includes Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Niagara Falls, Kitchener, Stratford, London, Sarnia, Windsor, and stations in-between.
Book by: No deadline
Details: The pass must be bought at least five days in advance. It expires 10 days after you begin the first trip. The lowest price features "Comfort Class" seats (equivalent to economy class). Passes including "VIA1," or first-class, seats start at $714. Discounted rates for youths (up to age 25), students, and seniors (ages 60 and over) are $269 for economy-class seats and $643 for first-class seats. The pass doesn't permit more than one round-trip between the same two cities or their suburbs. Smoking is prohibited aboard trains in this region.
The Canrailpass, from $523
This pass is good for 12 days of VIA Rail travel throughout Canada—from the Atlantic to the Pacific and up to Hudson Bay. One of the perks of this pass is that you have a whole month to use it, allowing you extra time and freedom to cover more ground.
When: The lowest price is based on off-peak travel from Oct. 16 to Dec. 31, 2007, and Jan. 1 to May 31, 2008.
Book by: Dec. 31, 2007, to lock in 2007 rates for travel this year and next. Rates for bookings in 2008 will jump by 3 percent.
Details: Reduced rates include economy-class (Comfort) seats. Surcharge for first-class (Sleeper) travel depends on your destination and length of trip. All travel must be completed within 30 days. Add up to three days of travel within the 30-day period for $45 per off-peak day and $71 per peak day. Discounted rates for youths, students, and seniors start from $471 in the off-season and $753 in the high season. Reduced-rate extensions are $41 per off-peak day and $64 per peak day. Pass holders must obtain a ticket for each trip.
The North America Rail Pass 2007, from $815
The pass is valid for 30 days of travel throughout Canada and the United States aboard VIA Rail and Amtrak trains—covering 28,000 miles and over 900 cities.
When: Lowest rates are based on off-peak travel from Oct. 16 to Dec. 31, 2007, and Jan. 1 to May 24, 2008.
Book by: Dec. 31, 2007, to lock in 2007 rates for travel in 2007 and 2008. Rates for bookings in 2008 will jump 3 percent.
Details: The lowest price is based on economy-class seats. Upgrades are available for additional charges. The pass can be used on any VIA Rail or Amtrak train with the exception of Auto Train, Acela Express, and select Amtrak Thruway connecting services. Discounted rates for youths, students, and seniors start from $734 during the off-season and from $1,034 for peak travel. Service charge for refunds is $25. Pass holders must obtain a ticket for each trip.
Fall fare sales
The East meets ... savings special is part of VIA Rail's autumn sale, offering 50 percent off fares for long-distance eastbound travel. One-way economy-class tickets between Montreal and Gaspe aboard the Chaleur train start at $84, and tickets between Montreal and Halifax aboard the Ocean start at $106. Sleeper-class fares are $157 between Montreal and Gaspe and $179 between Montreal and Halifax. Visit Gaspe's Bay of Chaleur for some of the best views of the fall foliage or sample the season's harvest at the Halifax Farmers Market in Nova Scotia.
When: Through Dec. 19, 2007
Book by: Oct. 31, 2007
Details: The sale is only valid for travel between Montreal and Gaspe and between Montreal and Halifax. The discount applies to one-way or round-trip regular adult fares with seats in Comfort class or sleeper class. The promotional fare is not valid for travel within or between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Stopovers are not permitted. Tickets must be purchased at least five days in advance to qualify for the discount. Service charge for refunds is $15 per ticket.
What to see: Fall festivals abound in the Ontario-Quebec Eastern Corridor—from the Niagara Wine Festival in St. Catherine's historic Montebello Park to the leaf-peeping and organ music fusion of the Orgue et Couleurs in Montreal. But hurry, since most of the festivities will be over by early October.
A few festivals last into mid-October, such as Ottawa's Fall Rhapsody, in the capital's Gatineau Park, which runs through Oct. 14. The highlight of the festival is a hike to Luskville Falls for magnificent views of the Ottawa Valley.
Nature lovers should venture to Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this month. Visitors can seek out fall foliage on horseback, by boat, by bicycle, or on foot.
Another option: Take the Chaleur train overnight from Montreal, along the St. Lawrence River, and through the Matapedia Valley to the hilly Gaspe Peninsula, situated between the St. Lawrence River and Chaleur Bay. While the area is prefect for hiking and biking, sailing and sea kayaking are even better ways to take in the fiery foliage from afar.
Getting there: A recent Sidestep search yielded the following lowest round-trip fares to Toronto in early October: $183 from New York (Northwest), $242 from Chicago (Northwest), $418 from Los Angeles (US Airways), and $458 from Houston (multiple carriers).
Early October fares to Montreal start from $202 from New York (multiple carriers), $245 from Chicago (US Airways), $420 from Houston (Continental Airlines), and $476 from Los Angeles (multiple carriers).
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.