VIA Rail Takes You Down the Garden Path

    VIA's Garden Route now includes Communities in Bloom destinations

    TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - It's an arrangement that makes perfect sense.
Garden enthusiasts and admirers alike can explore Canada and marvel at its
splendid scenery while travelling by train along VIA Rail's Garden Route. Use
a number of VIA services to visit any of the 15 spectacular gardens stretching
from Vancouver Island to Halifax. To celebrate the third season for what has
become particularly popular for travellers in Eastern Canada, VIA is pleased
to announce that 28 'Communities in Bloom' top award-winning (5-Bloom)
communities have been added to the Garden Route, providing a total of 43 ways
to be awed and inspired.
    "Gardens and VIA Rail are a natural collaboration," says Tony DiGiovanni,
Executive Director of Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association.
"Train travel is the ideal way to experience the diverse and ever changing
Canadian landscape. Landscape Ontario is committed to promoting the benefits
and joys of horticulture, and the alliance between VIA Rail and some of
Canada's premiere public gardens is an initiative we wholeheartedly support."
    "For more than 25 years, VIA has been bringing travellers up close to
some of the most breathtaking views and beautiful landscapes across the
country," said Steve Del Bosco, VIA's chief customer officer. "Whether
traveling through the magnificent Rockies or along the shores of the Atlantic
enroute to Montréal, it was natural for us to collaborate with some of the
country's spectacular gardens by providing a relaxing and comfortable way for
visitors to get there."
    From June 15th until September 7th, travellers can take advantage of
VIA's special Garden Route ticket offers to visit any of Canada's best known
public gardens, as well as some hidden horticultural gems associated with
Communities in Bloom. For more information visit
    The VIA Rail Garden Route ( features 15 gardens

    -   The Butchart Gardens (Brentwood Bay B.C.) (VIA - Victoria)
    -   University of British Columbia's Botanical Garden (Vancouver, B.C.)
    -   University of Alberta's Devonian Botanical Garden (Edmonton, Alberta)
    -   Leo Mol Sculpture Garden (Winnipeg, Man.)
    -   Windsor Riverfront Gardens (Windsor, Ont.)
    -   Royal Botanical Gardens (Burlington/Hamilton, Ont.)
    -   Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens (Niagara Falls, Ont.)
    -   Casa Loma Gardens (Toronto, Ont.)
    -   Toronto Botanical Garden (Toronto, Ont.)
    -   Mackenzie King Estate (Gatineau, Que.) (VIA - Ottawa)
    -   Montreal Botanical Garden (Montréal, Que.)
    -   Laval University's Roger Van den Hende Botanical Garden (Québec City,
    -   Reford Gardens (Grand-Métis, Que.) (VIA - Mont-Joli)
    -   Kingsbrae Garden (St. Andrews, N.B.)
    -   Halifax Public Gardens (Halifax, N.S.)

    Visitors to each participating garden and citizens of the '5-bloom'
communities along the Garden Route can complete a contest ballot for the
chance to win a round-trip for two in VIA 1 first class to Canada Blooms 2009,
including two nights accommodation at Toronto's Delta Chelsea hotel.
    Additionally, those visiting Toronto-area gardens that fill out ballots
have a chance to win a round-trip for two in VIA 1 first class, including two
nights accommodation at a Delta hotel as well as admission to the University
of Laval's Roger-Van den Hende Botanical Garden during this year's Quebec City
400th anniversary celebrations.

    About Communities in Bloom

    Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to
fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through
community involvement and the challenge of a national program.
    Participants in Communities in Bloom are evaluated, by a volunteer jury
of trained professionals, on eight criteria: Tidiness, Environmental
Awareness, Community Involvement, Natural and Cultural Heritage Conservation,
Urban Forestry, Landscaped Areas, Floral Displays and Turf and Ground Cover
Areas. Based on the overall score, the jury awards a rating of 1 to 5 blooms.
For more information visit:

    About VIA Rail Canada

    As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is
to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost effective passenger
transportation services, both in Canada's business corridor and in remote and
rural regions of the country. VIA serves more than 450 communities with a
network of inter-city, transcontinental and regional trains. Increasingly
travellers are turning to train travel as a hassle-free and cost-efficient
alternative to congested roads and airports as well as a more environmentally
responsible way to travel.
    For more information on train schedules or to book a trip anywhere in the
VIA system, customers can visit VIA's secure Web site at
Passengers also can book their tickets at self-ticketing kiosks in most Québec
City-Windsor Corridor stations, by calling 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245),
TTY 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired), or through their travel agent.

    Note to journalists: For a complete listing of featured gardens and
websites, visit

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Carol Cowan, Zebra Promotions
Inc., (416) 929-1066,; Catherine Kaloutsky, VIA Rail Canada
Inc., (647) 228-1127,

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