VIA Rail's Jasper to Prince Rupert Totem Train

The Raven Totem Pole Repatriation Tour

EDMONTON, May 21 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada in partnership with Parks Canada is proud to announce the creation of a special tour package to commemorate the repatriation of the Haida Nation's magnificent Raven Totem Pole to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). This 11-day, once-in-a-lifetime tour promises to be a rich celebration of the history and culture of the Haida nation. Built by a Haida master carver in Old Masset, Haida Gwaii in the 1870s-80s, the 12-metre (40 feet) totem was acquired by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1915 and installed at the Jasper train station to greet visitors arriving by train.

A landmark in Jasper National Park for nearly a century, the Raven Totem Pole stood next to VIA's Jasper station until April 2009 when it was removed because it had become a safety hazard. It has been photographed by hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world over the years.

Departing Edmonton on June 16, 2010, travellers on this tour will be joined by members of Jasper's community, Parks Canada and representatives of the Haida Nation as they return the Raven Totem Pole to Old Masset, BC. The tour package includes travel with VIA from Edmonton to Prince Rupert, (meals while travelling in Touring class between Jasper and Prince Rupert), 10-nights accommodation, a ferry journey along the Inside Passage from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, scheduled transfers between Port Hardy-Victoria and Victoria-Vancouver, in addition to a number of popular local tours in Jasper and Victoria. Prices for this exclusive opportunity start at C$2,122.

"This exciting collaborative effort between Parks Canada and VIA Rail offers travellers a very special experience. This rare opportunity allows passengers to accompany the totem pole and learn about the rich history, culture, traditions and art of the Haida Nation while discovering unique Parks Canada experiences along the way," said Alan Latourelle, Parks Canada Chief Executive Officer.

For more information on the Raven Totem Pole Repatriation package, customers can visit http://www.trainpackages.ca/en/packages/TP-1547?check_departure_city=1 or call 1 888 VIA RAIL (1 888 842-7245), TTY 1 800 268-9503 (for hearing impaired).

About Parks Canada

On behalf of the people of Canada, Parks Canada protects and presents nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage through a vast network of 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and three national marine conservation areas. This network is considered to be one of Canada's - and even the world's - greatest treasures. Whether it's an exciting and challenging experience, or a relaxing break away from the stresses of modern life, Parks Canada always has something special to offer its visitors.

About VIA Rail

As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective passenger transportation - in both official languages. Every week, VIA operates 503 intercity, transcontinental and regional trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network. The demand for VIA services is growing as travellers increasingly turn to train travel as a safe, reliable and environmentally responsible alternative to congested roads and airports.

SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Catherine Kaloutsky, VIA Rail Canada, (416) 956-7683, Catherine_kaloutsky@viarail.ca; Lynn Lefebvre, VIA Rail Canada, (514) 871-6185, Lynn_Lefebvre@viarail.ca; Olivier Bonnet, Parks Canada, (819) 934-9777, olivier.bonnet@pc.gc.ca


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