We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

TOM BIHN Forums Statistics


Topics: 14,822   Posts: 191,272   Members: 6,719   Active Members: 269
Welcome to our newest member, tinacap77.


No announcement yet.

Canada Train Trip & Tom Binh Bags

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    The toem poles were likely at the museum of anthropology at the ubc campus. Well worth a visit.


      Originally posted by greywriter View Post
      Itsablur, I'll have a Hop-On Hop-Off bus pass for both cities (two day pass in Vancouver) so in Toronto I plan to just hop on and ride till I see something interesting! Might go up in the CN Tower to get a bird's eye view, and I think there's an art museum downtown not far from the train station? I really like just walking, seeing neighborhoods, people-watching, stopping for tea & journaling or sketching. Can I do that sort of thing safely near downtown? I'm not much of a night owl and may just have dinner at my hotel (the Fairmont Royal York, which I understand has some interesting history). Any other suggestions?

      My must-do in Vancouver is to ride the ferry over to Victoria, see the Gardens, and have tea at The Empress; I was in Vancouver in the early 70s for a conference on the UBC campus but never got to Victoria. Stanley Park, definitely, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge sounds great if my friend is up for it. I remember being mightily impressed by totems somewhere on the UBC campus - a sort of outdoor museum? - and would like to learn more about The First Nations cultures. I do hope the weather is nice and would appreciate any insight you can give me on how rainy or cold it could be in either city in mid-October!
      Toronto in mid-October will probably be in the 9-14C range on average (I think that's 50s-60s F), but with lows/highs between 4C and 18C. Generally it isn't a particularly rainy month, but it does rain a little every so often. I've only ever been to Vancouver and Victoria in the spring, so can't comment on autumn weather beyond what I can find online.

      In 1.5 days in Toronto, you will probably mostly be downtown in the core where it's really quite safe. There are generally always other people on the street out and about. The less savoury neighbourhoods are a little ways out of the core proper and there isn't much to see out there, so I doubt you would go that way. The Royal York is a lovely hotel; a real iconic, classic building with lots of history. The CN Tower is pretty close by (2-3 blocks), and they have spruced up that area quite a lot this past year with the opening of the ~$130m Ripley's Aquarium that opened right beside it.

      The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is about a 15 minute walk north; from your hotel, just follow University Ave north until you reach Dundas, then turn left and walk a block to the next street light. You can't miss the Frank Gehry redesigned front architecture. Not sure what the current exhibition is, but the regular collection has a lot of lovely work in it. Of particular note is the large collection of paintings by the Group of 7 (Canadian landscapes mostly, many of which have been put on stamps or commemorative coins). Just behind the AGO is the country's foremost art and design school, the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). Hopefully your bus turns down McCaul street because that building is really impressive and funky, if you don't just walk down the street yourself.

      If you don't mind a longer walk (you could also take a subway straight here from near the hotel), up at University and Bloor is the Royal Ontario Museum, which had a recent additional designed by Daniel Libeskind called The Crystal. Another beautiful structure (though not everyone thinks that), and lots of interesting things in there. The ROM is right beside the part of town known as Yorkville. If you ever see coverage of the massive Toronto International Film Festival, this is where all the big movie stars stay, shop, eat, hob knob, etc.

      A lot to possibly do/see, depending on your appetites. We haven't even gotten into all of the multicultural things in the city...

      Now as for BC, great idea on going over to Victoria. The Butchert is gorgeous, and Victoria itself is a lovely little city. I found it quite walkable.
      Own: Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Iberian), Aeronaut 30 (Steel/Ultraviolet), Night Flight (Coyote/Steel), Guide's Pack (Steel), Synapse 19 (Olive/Steel), Daylight (Navy), Aeronaut Packing Cube Backpack (Wasabi), Founder's Briefcase (Black), Pilot (Steel 400d/Steel), Co-Pilot (Black/Iberian), Side Effect (Black/Ultraviolet), Travel Tray (Iberian), various cubes, pouches, sacks, and straps

      Want: EVERYTHING.


        A great recommendation, monkey lady! That definitely makes the "must-do" list. And yes, the cooler weather is always a treat for me.
        And clendrum, I've heard about delays but they don't bother me -- I look on it as just more time on the train; I can always take a nap in my cozy little roomette if there's not much to see outside :-). And my Vancouver schedule is totally flexible so that makes delays even less stressful.

        Another A30 question: will my A45 small packing cubes fit in the A30 arranged like books on a shelf?


          Itsablur, I've just been learning a little about the Group of 7 so your AGO recommendation is spot-on. I'll be a happy Toronto visitor!


            @greywriter, if you have not done so already, ....I recommend you read THE FOREST LOVER by Susan Vreeland. It is an historical fiction chronicling the life and work of Emily Carr, a renowned and beloved (nowadays) artist who was deeply drawn to the First Nations peoples of British Columbia. Much of her work "catalogs" in paintings the magnificent totem poles of the area. A must read. The Natural History Museum frequently has exhibits devoted to her life and work. I do believe, however, that many of her paintings are part of the permanent collection in the provincial museum in Vancouver.
            Last edited by monkeylady; 08-01-2014, 05:42 AM.
            The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.


              Not much I can add to the already wonderful suggestions except to advise you to sign up for Fairmont's president club before you arrive to save the hassle and $15 fee to access wifi at the hotel and to let you know that for an enjoyable evening Cirque Du Soleil has their wonderful new show "Kurios" playing this fall at the port lands in Toronto not far from your hotel. Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill has a deal for the show and a special 4 course dinner beforehand in the historic distillery district.

              Besides that for people watching having a coffee in Kensington and having a stroll around St. Lawrence market are hard to beat. I agree with itsablur downtown Toronto feels very safe even at night, you are more likely to see nice couples walking their dog than gangs of drunken youth roving the streets.

              I am sure you will love your trip, once you get to the mountains the views are truly breathtaking! Have your camera ready!


                Thanks so much for all the wonderful suggestions and the packing list critiques. My Aeronaut 30 arrived yesterday and I've culled the clothing list again so that now I can get everything comfortably in it (not at all stuffed). Fully packed, the A30 weighs 15 lbs. and I can lift and hold it straight up above my head -- no worries about overheads for me!! The MCB will be my personal bag.

                Am reading the suggested book about Emily Carr (as well as her autobiography) and SO looking forward to every part of this trip. In a way, all you helpful Forum Binhers will be traveling with me. Thanks again.

                I will make a final list of everything in the bag and post it in the "Packing Lists" forum before I go, and also plan to share post-trip packing notes as well.


                  Vancouver in October can be gorgeous, or pouring rain. Recommendations for stuff to see and/or do:

                  - if you are into walking: head to English Bay and walk along the seawall heading southeast. Stay on the seawall as it hugs the water and passes by or through Yaletown, Science World, the Olympic Village, countless parks and cafés, and finish in Granville Island (wonderful market, arts, theatre...) and then take one of the Aquabuses back over the water to almost where you started your walk.

                  - if the weather is clear, take the Skyride (gondola) up to the top of Grouse Mountain. There might be some snow, or not. Incredible views - sit out on the deck and have a burger and beer

                  - go out for Chinese food - incredible quality and variety. Dim sum at Kirin is recommended.

                  - for First Nations wonders: Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, UBC Museom of Anthropology. While out at UBC, Nitobe Memorial Garden is a gem

                  Bring a rain jacket of some sort. And an extra TB pouch for all of the change that you'll have to carry around ($1 and $2 coins lovingly referred to as the loonie and the twoonie)!


                    @greywriter, have you taken your trip yet? I would love to hear how the train was!
                    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


                      Yes, I'm back home. The train was amazing - a totally wonderful trip. SO glad I did it! Food was even better than I had expected from all the good reviews on various Via Rail forums, the scenery was stunning, and I loved my little "cabin for one". I had reduced my packing list from the one I posted earlier and, although I ended up taking a small (20") Rick Steves roller bag/backpack rather than the Aeronaut 30, the packing was spot-on and I took very few things I didn't actually wear or use.

                      It was an outstanding trip, and all the suggestions made by various forum members were really helpful -- not just in terms of what to pack and what to leave out, but also in terms of things to see in Toronto and Vancouver.

                      And thanks for checking back, Janine!


                        Since this thread has everyone thinking about trains ...

                        I've taken the train (when I lived in Seattle, and sometimes when visiting) between Seattle and Portland (round trip) a few times, and from Bellingham, WA to Seattle (one way, after a lift to Bellingham), and that entire stretch is beautiful. If you do visit the Northwest, the trains seem better bargains than they do on the east coast (of course, it all depends on where you're going; Bellingham is not NYC), and also generally more comfortable. And the views are spectacular - highly, highly recommended.


                          Originally posted by timothy View Post
                          And the views are spectacular - highly, highly recommended.
                          I agree. And if you want a longer ride, I would add that the overnight train from the San Francisco area to the Northwest is lovely too.


                            Hi it s a great trip I did it last year...