Food on the VIA Rail Canadian

I recently rode the VIA Rail “Canadian” from Winnipeg, MB to Sioux Lookout, ON and back. On that trip I had the opportunity to eat two meals aboard the train. I’ll share them here so you can get an idea of the meal experience, coach class.

I need to emphasize that I was in coach and therefore wasn’t able to eat in the diner car. The experience is likely better there with real linens and silverware and so forth. This was more of a “take out” experience.

In coach class, you can purchase food from the food cart that comes through the train, or order from the diner menu and have it delivered to your seat. It’s important to remember what your seat number is, and what car you are in, because that’s where the food will be delivered.


On the way to Sioux Lookout, I ordered bacon and eggs from the diner menu. Since I have celiac disease, I can’t consume gluten, so this was my best choice.

Breakfast on the train
Breakfast on the train

Three slices of bacon, a few scrambled eggs, some shredded potatoes, an orange slice, and a packet of ketchup. It was… fine. It could have used packets of salt and pepper to liven up the eggs a bit. Credit where credit is due, there were a lot of eggs and it was filling.


Pork chop and potatoes
Pork chop and potatoes

On the way back to Winnipeg, we were offered a chance to order from the diner menu again. The only gluten-free option I could see was the pork chop and potatoes, so I purchased it. I was hungry.

The pork chop itself was well cooked but a little bland, but the sauce (chutney?) saved it. That was pretty tasty. The roast potatoes were good but again they could use a little seasoning.

I was so hungry that I tore into it before I thought about taking pictures…


For me the “take out” food on the VIA Rail “Canadian” was filling but not exceptional. I hope the food in the diner cars is better. Certainly the dining atmosphere would be much better than eating out of a cardboard box in your coach seat. Still, I am glad that I purchased the food and I would do it again.

5 thoughts on “Food on the VIA Rail Canadian”

  1. Steve – Is the cost reasonable ? I rode the train to Vancouver in 86 and the food in the Diner was great with friendly service for all three daily meals – Glad you had a great trip !

    Regards from a Hot Atlantic Canada !

  2. Having a meal on the train has always been one of the best parts of a trip! I am glad that your photo of breakfast showed the scenery of trees, rocks and water as the changing (or in the shield country the “unchanging” ), scenery is part of the pleasure of any meal. The last meal I had on a train was Toronto to Ottawa and was at the seat, much like on a plane but also was very good, and with real cutlery! In the dining car you often are seated with strangers and this also can be a good experience. Perhaps I have been lucky in always having a good experience dining with strangers on a train, or perhaps the genius of the head steward. Time for another trip!

    • I was hoping to be able to sit in the dining car and talk with people, but that wasn’t possible this time. Maybe on my next trip?! The scenery definitely enhanced the meal.

  3. I’m glad to hear that there were some options that suited different dietary needs. As someone who avoids gluten and cannot have any dairy, I am that guy you can’t take anywhere. It’s a constant challenge, so any option is better than none.

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