As I've been travelling
around Ontario looking for a house I have been using the VIA trains to get
to the various locations. The neat thing is that you can book your ticket
on the web at their web site
www.via.ca. There is a booking form where you simply enter the station
you wish to go to... select whether you want a morning, afternoon or
evening or any time departure and then do the same for the destination
station. It will then come up with the various options for you and
you can then book online. You will get an email confirmation which you
simply print out and take with you to the station. Present that at the
ticket counter and they will issue you with your ticket.
You usually get a choice of
"comfort class" or "VIA 1" which is first class. I've travelled on
both classes and in both have found cheerful staff to look after you.
In comfort class you get a choice of snacks with coffee, tea, soft drinks,
alcholic beverages as well as sandwiches and other cold snacks which you
pay for. In first class you get a hot meal and drinks all of which
are free within the price of your ticket. I noted in Toronto you also get
use of the first class lounge where there are complimentary drinks and
newspaper while you wait.
On the whole the trains run
mostly to time and I certainly found departures on time but arrivals were
generally a wee bit late.
On first class you get a
powerpoint for your laptop computer which is certainly very useful for
those long train rides.
Today as I returned from a
visit to Brockville I was given a tray of chocolate sweets as I left the
carriage. I think that was due to my enthusiastic response to the
chocolate buzz and very nice is was of them as well :-)
So all in all I have
certainly found the trains to be clean and comfortable in both classes and
in each friendly staff that really do take service as a by word.
I might just add that my
trip today has found me a house in a place called Iroquois which is on the
St. Lawrence river about a 45 minute drive from Ottawa and 1.45 minute
drive to Montreal and thus close to the Quebec border. Brockville, the
nearest large town is around 20 minutes drive and the train takes around 3
hours 30 mins to get to Toronto. Of course right across the St.
Lawrence river can be found New York, USA :-)
Note the red dot (not the star) and that is
where the house is. It looks over the park and golf course to the St.
Lawrence river. There is both cable Internet and Fibre Internet available
in the town and there is a small shopping mall but main shopping is only
20 minutes away by car at Brockville.
And these other maps show the surrounding area
I might also add that while in Sarnia I was
ably assisted by
Scott Broad who did his very best to find me a suitable home and went
to the trouble of picking me up from the railway station and driving me
around. So if you are looking for a house in that area be sure to contact