This article is an itinerary.
The Trans-Canada Highway is in Canada.
Canada is the second largest country in the world, and the largest country that it is easy to travel across. The Trans-Canada Highway connects all ten provinces and is 8030 km (just under 5000 miles) long. Most Canadians have some interest in seeing the entire country and driving across Canada is a common way of doing it.
There's more than one Trans Canada highway, though. Not as many as US Interstate network, but a couple.
- Trans Canada Highway 1
- Yellowhead Highway
- Trans Canada Highway 117
- Trans Canada Highway 106/104/2
- Highway 17, Highway 11, Highway 69, Highway 12 ,Highway 7, Highway 115, Highway 71, Highway 400, Highway 417
This trip can be started anywhere in Canada. Technically the Highway runs from Victoria (British Columbia) to St. John's, Newfoundland (or the other way around, both cities declare a "mile 0" for the highway). However, for practical purposes many travellers skip the trip to Newfoundland, and end it in Halifax, others may skip Victoria and end it in Vancouver.
The trip will be detailed from west to east, obviously it could be done in the reverse direction. There are some locations where multiple routes are called the Trans-Canada highway. Generally the routes that go through the larger cities will be the route taken.
The highway, designated as Highway 1 in the four western provinces goes through the magnificent mountains of British Columbia and western Alberta and the awe inspiring Prairies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
- Victoria (British Columbia) north on Vancouver Island to
- Nanaimo take the ferry to
- Vancouver drive east on the freeway to
- Hope continues North up the Fraser Canyon (impressive) to
- Cache Creek turns east to
- Kamloops then continues east through
- the Shuswap Lake area (fishing, beaches) to
- Revelstoke (pleasant little mountain town)
- and across the Rogers Pass (heart of the rockies) to
- Banff in the Alberta portion of the Canadian Rockies.
- a major tourist resort, famously scenic
- From there continue East to
- Calgary where it goes through the centre of the city and from there continue to
- Medicine Hat. Continue through the endless Prairies to
- Moosejaw in Saskatchewan before you come to
- Regina and then
- Brandon in Manitoba finishing the western portion in
That route more-or-less follows the Canadian Pacific Railway line. An alternative would be to follow the Canadian National line. The route would be the same up to Kamloops, but would then swing further North:
Winnipeg to Ottawa
The Trans Canada runs over prairie for a little way East of Winnipeg, then a long stretch (2000 km?) of lightly inhabited forested country. It is called Highway 17 most of the way across Ontario, and 417 near Ottawa. Towns on the route are:
- Thunder Bay
- Wawa (legendary for stranded hitchhikers)
- Sault Ste Marie
- Sudbury (swing South here to reach Toronto)
- North Bay
From Thunder Bay to the Sault, the road winds along the shore of Lake Superior and is quite pretty.
Ottawa to Moncton
Moncton to North Sydney
Prince Edward Island
The Trans-Canada Highway crosses the Norththumberland Strait by the way of the 9 km Confederation Bridge and the Wood Islands ferry crossing. Depending the direction you come from, if you land on the island using the bridge, the TCH starts in Borden and meanders across the southern part of Queens County towards the City of Charlottetown. Charlottetown lies about the halfway point. Leaving Charlottetown it crosses into Kings County ending at the ferry terminal in Wood Islands. Along the way are many beautiful scenes and lots to do in Charlottetown. This is the shortest TCH section within any provincial border. The time to drive from Borden to Wood Islands, if you don't stop along the way, is approximately 95 minutes. All worth it because you'll be tempted to explore off the TCH as PEI has some of the most beautiful countryside anywhere.
Port aux Basques to St. John's
The weather in parts of Canada can be pretty extreme in the winter, so this trip is best done in the spring, summer or early fall.
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