Tour begins at 6:00 PM at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. A transfer is included from Vancouver Int'l Airport to Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. Your hotel is located in the heart of the city not far from Vancouver's lively Gastown. Meet your Tauck Director and travel companions at the welcome reception followed by dinner.
Vancouver highlights and a ferry to Victoria
Home to an active cultural scene and abundant natural resources, Vancouver is a city steeped in pleasures. On a sightseeing tour this morning, enjoy a docent-led tour of the Bill Reid Gallery, a showcase for contemporary Aboriginal art of the Northwest Coast. One of Canada's greatest artists, Bill Reid was an acclaimed Haida master goldsmith, carver, sculptor and writer, whose work is on display here. Continue on to Stanley Park, a stunning green oasis in the midst of the city, and enjoy lunch on your own at your choice of Granville Island's tempting eateries. This afternoon, travel by ferry across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island and on to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, for a two-night stay at a gracious landmark hotel with stunning waterfront views.
A day in Victoria featuring The Butchart Gardens
Throughout your stay in Victoria, you'll discover more than a bit of British influence in its double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages and formal gardens, all surrounded by the rustic beauty of the Pacific coast. Floral beauty excels at The Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site; explore what has grown to encompass 55 magnificent acres of flowers and show gardens, including the Japanese, Italian and Rose gardens. The rest of the day is free to explore one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest; downtown restaurants and Fisherman's Wharf are within walking distance of your hotel.
Visit the Royal BC Museum, flightseeing & all aboard "The Canadian"
Morning is free to spend as you wish, perhaps visiting the Royal BC Museum with your Tauck-included tickets. Meet up this afternoon for a short walk from the hotel to board a float plane; enjoy flightseeing over the pristine Gulf Islands en route to Coal Harbour in the city of Vancouver. Your next stop is Vancouver's historic Gastown district; explore at leisure before dinner and a champagne send-off on VIA Rail's The Canadian for an overnight journey to the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies. Board the sleek, newly restored rail cars of VIA Rail's The Canadian, and celebrate the start of your overnight journey to the Canadian Rockies with dinner and a champagne toast. Sleep on board the train tonight - you will be nothing less than stunned by the spectacular alpine scenery that dawn reveals!
To Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies by rail
The vistas are nothing short of spectacular from Tauck's reserved seats aboard VIA Rail's beautiful new panorama car aboard The Canadian, as your western Canada tour continues across British Columbia, where towering peaks and glaciers highlight the route. Cross the Continental Divide into the province of Alberta; arrive in Jasper National Park for a two-night stay at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Join us for a BBQ dinner in the Clubhouse tonight.
A day as you please in Jasper National Park
Spend an entire day enjoying the fun on offer at your wilderness lodge, where activities include whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, wildlife tours, golf and swimming (some at additional cost). Early evening, a Parks Canada representative shares tales of the natural wonders that surround you. Dine at leisure this evening at your choice of hotel restaurants.
Icefields Parkway, Athabasca Glacier and on to Lake Louise
The Icefields Parkway, linking Jasper and Lake Louise, is among North America's most spectacular drives. Travel this roadway today as it winds through snow-domed peaks and past hanging glaciers; keep watch for wandering elk, deer, bighorn sheep or bears. At the Athabasca Glacier, board a specially designed Ice Explorer for a smooth, slow ride up this 7,200-ft.-high part of the Columbia Icefield - one of the largest ice masses outside of the Arctic Circle. Its meltwaters flow on to feed into the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. Your final destination today is The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise; your welcome includes a lake-view room of this majestic lake within Banff National Park, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Banff National Park... from Lake Louise to Banff
Spend the morning at leisure indulging in the amenities and natural beauty of your Lake Louise resort. This afternoon, enjoy a change of scenery and resorts when you settle into your resort in Banff National Park. It was the discovery by Canadian Pacific Railway workers of wonders like the Cave and Hot Spring Basin that led to this park's establishment in the early 1880s - and of your castle-like hotel in the park in 1888, when the railway first opened tourism to the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy dinner this evening at leisure at The Fairmont Banff Springs.
Bow River float trip and a day of resort leisure
Embark on a float trip along the Bow River*, then spend the rest of the day at leisure at your grand hotel, built more than a century ago to resemble a Scottish baronial castle. Or discover the town of Banff as you please. Your resort offers a full range of optional activities (some available at additional cost) to try; perhaps take a guided nature walk, book a treatment at the renowned Willow Stream Spa, enjoy horseback riding or a round of golf, or ride the scenic Banff Gondola. Or head over to explore the town of Banff itself. Wrap up your western Canada tour this evening by joining us for a farewell dinner at your alpine resort hotel.
Tour ends: Calgary. Tauck travels through the Canadian Rockies to Calgary Airport this morning (approximately 80 miles) for your journey home. Fly home anytime after 12:00 noon. Tauck can arrange additional nights at The Westin Calgary for guests wishing to extend their stay in Calgary; an airport transfer is included for these bookings. Allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in.