By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: My husband and I are seniors and don't do much travelling anymore. Our young granddaughter (she's seven), will be staying with us for a whole month in August. She hasn't seen us in years and I thought it might be nice to take her on a train ride. We're both retired and hope you could provide some suggestions.

A: Ideally, you can take advantage of the senior companion fare where one senior pays and the other travels for free on most services while travelling aboard VIA Rail Canada. Catherine Kaloutsky, Senior Officer of Public Affairs suggests that if you wish to see and do lots, the Corridor Pass has unlimited travel in a 10-day period.

"It means that they will be on the go, but depending on where they are coming from they can take a day trip down to Niagara Fall (up and back the same day), but then they can do the triangle of trips. Go from Toronto to Ottawa, visit the canal and the Parliament buildings, then catch the train to Montreal," she says. While in Montreal, be sure to visit the Botanical gardens for great children displays. Catherine says, "The Corridor pass is terrific value, but it is 10 days of non-stop travelling."

If you're looking for something a little more laid back, take advantage of the "100 Special" which Catherine reports the price commemorates the 100th anniversary of The Ocean, VIA Rail Canada's Atlantic overnight train with service between Montreal, Moncton and Halifax. With sweeping views of the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River Valley, everyone will catch the majestic scene of the lush rolling hillsides on their way to historic Halifax, a scene that once captivated the early settlers.

The "100th Anniversary" fares are available immediately and are valid for travel between June 7 and September 9, 2004. Some conditions apply. The Senior Companion Fare is valid now through February 28, 2005. Adults over age 60 traveling in Comfort Class® (Economy) can bring along a companion of any age for free. Available on all VIA Rail trains offering Comfort Class, this 2-for-1 deal comes in addition to the regular 10% discount that seniors ordinarily receive.

For more information on these special promotions, call VIA at 1-888-VIA-Rail or visit your nearest travel agent.


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