The Canadian by RICK LUNDSTROM
Up to 30 cars may be needed to accommodate passengers on The Canadian during high season. Approximately half that number is used in the winter
Via Rail’s flagship service is a four-day, four-night trip that exposes the traveler to a vast expanse and the best of the country’s cuisines
hough a trip from Vancouver to Toronto on Via Rail’s transcontinental route The Canadian takes four days and four nights to cross the vast nation, many may find the pilgrimage worth the long trip to note an important year. The year 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. During a trip on Via Rail’s flagship service, a passenger selecting the rail line’s Sleeper Class Service can dine in comfort on a variety of Canadian favorites with the spectacular Rockies rolling by out the window. Bison Burgers, grilled salmon, chicken skewers and a vegetarian item called the Malibu black bean burger were part of a recent lunch offering on Via Rail. Dinner may be cod loin and duck leg; however the most popular of the evening offerings
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Manager of Product Service Design at Via Rail. During the high summer season the train grows to up to 30 cars. Sleeper Service passengers are served three meals a day, with up to two sittings per meal services. With the exception of desserts, everything aboard The Canadian dining car service is prepared on board the trains. There is also a Café Express outlet where meals can be ordered. The work in the dining care is highly hands on, in The Canadian. In high season there may be two 60-foot dining cars. About half the space in the cars are devoted to the meal service. A chef and a cook complete their service with a galley composed of two ovens, three refrigerators, two freezers, a steam table and a sink. Chefs on Via Rail are required to have the Canadian Red Seal, which is earned through classroom training and years of apprenticeship. Though most chefs are Canadian, Drozdowski said German and French chefs have worked the dining cars. At press time Drozdowski said Via Rail had 46 chefs on staff. Many are allocated to other tasks when they’re not on board cooking. Via Rail makes use of caterers for its corridor routes between major cities, which are commonly used more for business travel and commuting. Gate Gourmet is an important supplier for meals in the business class car, which is a standard traytable service. It is on the corridor route where Via Rail challenged staff and chefs to submit homegrown recipes in celebration of the 150th year of Confederation. One of the winners: a Cottage Pork Roll with sauce and steamed potatoes.
is the Via Rail prime rib. Side dishes may include lentils sourced from the country’s Prairie Provinces and sweet Saskatoon Chutney. Though produced in France, the primary source for the Dijon mustard are the seeds, also grown in Canada. Wild rice, another Canadian specialty, is also used freely through the menus. Wines from British Columbia and Ontario are prominently featured. “As much as humanly possible” the rail line looks to domestic sources for its menu items, said Cathy Drozdowski, Officer of Service Design at Via Rail. With a generally good idea of the number of travelers booked for dining car service, Via Rail can carefully plan and load products based on a long history of seasonal bookings and anticipated passenger counts. During the low season, The Canadian typically runs Via Rail is proud that up to 9%0 of its menu ingredients on between 12 and 14 cars, are sourced from Canada said Dean Rockhead, Senior