A Canada 150 Adventure with Viva Luxury
My name is Annabelle Fleur and I’m the Editor-in-Chief at www.thevivaluxury.com, a site dedicated to fashion and travel. I first started my site over 6 years ago as a hobby, which has now turned into my full time job. I currently live in Los Angeles where I moved to from Toronto, Canada, about 11 years ago. Prior to starting my blog, I worked for a shoe designer who reaffirmed my love for fashion and inspired me to follow my fashion dreams. My background is in IT, which is pretty much the polar opposite of what I do now, but I have always been a creative person, so my site is my creative outlet.
When Fairmont Hotels reached out to me to go on an adventure and explore some of their Canadian properties, traveling with VIA Rail Canada, I couldn’t say no! I’m always up for an adventure and since I‘m from Canada and still have family there, it was the perfect opportunity to visit and explore. 2017 is a big year for Canada, as the country celebrates its 150th birthday, and in celebration Fairmont had organized some very special activities!
Our adventure started in Quebec City at the beautiful Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. The property was absolutely breathtaking—it was essentially a castle with so much history behind it. In the evening, we had the most beautiful dinner and got to mingle with the locals and learn quite a bit about the hotel and Quebec City. The property has been around for nearly 125 years, and for our dinner, the hotel created a dinner menu for us with dishes spanning the decades! They even showed us an original menu from 1906. The food was absolutely delicious; for dessert we had Baked Alaska that I still can’t get out of my head.
The next day we woke up bright and early to board the VIA Rail Canada train and head to Montreal. We only had a few hours there, but managed to have a super delicious lunch. Cheese boards are my weakness, and that might have been the best cheese board ever; not to mention the lobster rolls, charcuterie boards, and all kind of desserts. Over lunch we learned about the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, which is currently closed for extensive remodeling but will be opening this summer. I certainly can’t wait to visit!
After lunch and exploring Old Montreal a bit, it was time to head back to the train station and go to Ottawa. Even though I lived in Canada prior to moving to Los Angeles, it was my first time going there. We stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, which happened to be yet another castle, located right next to Parliament. Our room even had a gorgeous Parliament Hill view. In the evening, we had yet another amazing dinner, where we met the chef who talked to us a bit about his culinary experiences and the dinner we were about to have. Needless to say, everything was absolutely delicious.
The next day in Ottawa, we had a little bit of time in the morning so we opted for a delicious breakfast in bed. I ordered the pancakes and croissants, which is my go-to breakfast when I travel to new destinations. In the afternoon we headed back to the train station for our 4.5 ride to Toronto. We boarded our train, and it was the best train I have ever been on. It was super spacious with the most comfortable seats; I couldn’t help but take a nap. During our train ride on VIA Rail Canada, the staff opened a special bar car for us with hand crafted cocktails and small bites. As if that wasn’t enough, Sarah McLachlan performed for us on the train! It was quite the special experience that felt a little surreal.
Once we arrived in Toronto, a band greeted us at Union Station and serenaded us out. In Toronto, we stayed at the Fairmont Royal York which is conveniently located right across the street from Union Station. Once again, it was a gorgeous hotel in the downtown core and close to just about everything. Our beautiful room had a view of the city and the CN Tower, which brought back so many lovely memories about living in Toronto. The evening we arrived, we were treated to yet another delicious dinner. I ate so much during this trip, I couldn’t help it! The next morning was our last in Canada before heading back to Los Angeles. As a final treat, we experienced Afternoon Tea at the Library Bar at Fairmont Royal York, which ended up being the perfect end to our Canadian adventure. Thank you to the amazing teams at Fairmont Hotels and VIA Rail Canada for organizing this unforgettable trip. What a way to celebrate Canada 150!