Bike Train - Cycle Ontario This Summer

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About the Bike Train Initiative Print E-mail

justin lafontaine

The award-winning Bike Train Initiative introduces bike racks onboard select passenger rail trains (Toronto-Niagara) and services both passenger and bicycle to destinations across Ontario, making cycling holidays easy and accessible.  The initiative is a project of Transportation Options, a non-profit organization dedicated to stimulating sustainable systems of transportation.

Originally launched in partnership with VIA Rail Canada between Toronto and Niagara in 2007, the Bike Train has proven to be a fun, economic and environmentally friendly way to enjoy a cycling getaway. Getting to the destination is made easy as passengers travel in comfort while their bicycles are safely secured in a baggage car. In some cases, in bike bags or in bike racks. In 2008, the Bike Train Initiative won two Ontario Tourism Awards: Best Tourism Marketing Partnership and Excellence Award for Tourism Innovation, and in 2009 was selected as a Finalist for the Deloitte Tourism Innovator of the Year TIAC Award.

In 2011, we were proud to report that Bike Train service was being provided by passenger rail partners on the Windsor-Toronto-Montreal and Toronto-Niagara routes.  Having achieved our #1 objective which was to introduce and improve transportation options for cycle tourists in Ontario, our focus is now on marketing and promotion, along with destination development projects. 

"The Bike Train is a unique and remarkable success story within the tourism industry," said the Honourable Monique Smith, Minister of Tourism. "By expanding the bike train service to select parts of the province, this initiative is helping revitalize local tourism and is positioning Ontario as a go-to destination for cycling holidays."    (May 20, 2009)

Having served thousands of passengers to date and new routes that span the province, the Bike Train Initiative is putting Ontario on the map as a leading cycle tourism destination in North America.  

Partners and Supporters

The Bike Train Initiative was developed in partnership with:

Funding Partners:
- The Ontario Trillium Foundation
- Government of Ontario
- Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

Lead Organizations:
- Transportation Options
- Waterfront Regeneration Trust
- Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce

Project Partners:
- City of Toronto
- Ontario Northland
- VIA Rail Canada
- GO Transit 

Promotional Partners:

- Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership
- NOW Magazine
- Ontario Wine Council
- Pedal Magazine

...and with support from over 50 organizations including Tourism Toronto, Tourism Niagara, St. Catharines Tourism, Niagara Regional Bicycling Committee, Niagara Freewheelers, City of North Bay, Discovery Routes, Northumberland Tourism, Tourism Kingston, Rideau Heritage Route, Brockville Chamber of Commerce, St. Lawrence Parks Commission, Cornwall Tourism, and Tourism Windsor, Essex County and Pelee Island. 

Project Conception

Justin Lafontaine, past projects director, conceptualized the idea for the Toronto-Niagara Bike Train Initiative during a trip to the Niagara Region in April 2006. On that trip, he accompanied the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and several others from the region on their annual Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail cycle tour from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Grimsby. Impressed with the many trails, diverse landscapes, towns, cities and attractions, he was quick to begin planning another trip to the region.

When discussing the opportunities for cycle tourism with a fellow rider, Justin discovered that there was no convenient transportation option for cyclists between Toronto and the Niagara Region (the existing train service does not provide baggage capacity, and buses usually require bikes to be boxed prior to loading). This led him to VIA Rail Canada and other partners to discuss the potential to introduce a Bike Train service – a concept that quickly garnered support from government contacts, tourism organizations, small businesses, media and the public.

A project proposal was subsequently developed for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism - Investment Development Office and funding for the Pilot Year of the Toronto-Niagara Bike Train Initiative was announced in January 2007.

Transportation Options

transportation_optionsThe Bike Train Initiative is a project of Transportation Options, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering sustainable mobility and tourism solutions across Ontario.  We do so by engaging in projects that research, develop and promote new transportation and tourism choices, with a focus on those that are integrated, environmentally sound, healthy, service-oriented, and improve the experience of users. 

Past projects include:
New Mobility HUBs Program, Moving the Economy, Ontario Cycle Tourism Forum 2009, Ontario Cycle Tourism Forum 2013

Other current projects include:
Park Bus, Ontario By Bike Industry PartnershipOntario By Bike Network, and a variety of tourism development services and projects offered by Transportation Options

More information available at:

Transportation Options' Team

Louisa Mursell
Executive Director, Transportation Options
416-827-2774 / 1-866-701-2774
lmursell (at) tranpsortationoptions (dot) org

Peter McMurtry

Ontario By Bike - Project Coordinator, Transportation Options
416-827-2774 / 1-866-701-2774
info (at) ontariobybike (dot) ca

Jennifer Miao
Finance and Administration, Transportation Options
416-827-2774 / 1-866-701-2774
(at) transportationoptions (dot) org


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Funding Supporters

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Project Partners


Lead Organizations


Promotional Partners

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