How often do you meet?
Unfortunately, due to Toronto’s rigid smoking laws we can only meet outside. Being Toronto, that means we generally meet each month from May until October since none of us want to freeze to death. From time-to-time we do manage to find an indoor venue during the deepest depths of winter, and occasionally host special events. (Our last one was a summer BBQ at the home of pipe-maker Michael Parks.)
Where do you meet?
Originally, our meetings were held in the King West area but we later moved to the patio of a pool hall on Queen West. Until the Ontario patio smoking ban that was passed in January 2015. Now we have gone rogue and meet in parks, backyards, railway trestles, abandoned mines, and floating barges.
What kind of people go to these things?
Just about every kind of people. (Except women, seemingly.) Our youngest members are in their early 20s, and our oldest is in his 80s. The rest of us are somewhere in between!
How do I become a member?
If you show up at a meeting and bring a pipe, consider yourself a member! There is no official membership list and no dues. (Fortunately, our costs in running the club are quite low.) You can either visit our website regularly to find out about upcoming smokers or subscribe to our mailing list.
Why would I become a member?
I think GK Chesterton said it best:
No one has even begun to understand comradeship who does not accept with it a certain hearty eagerness in eating, drinking, or smoking… It is a clamorous confession of the weakness of all flesh. No man must be superior to the things that are common to men.
It’s also a great way try new tobacco (often some that are quite old or rare), learn more about pipes, smoking, and the other eclectic interests of others!
What do I bring to a “Smoker”?
Bring your favourite pipe(s), some tobacco, and yourself! Heck, if you don’t have tobacco then just bring a pipe — there’s always a lot to share.
Where can I buy [my favourite blend of tobacco] in Toronto?
Yeah, well… good luck with that. The selection of pipe tobacco in Toronto (and Canada in general) is pretty abysmal. Downtown, your best bet is Cheers on McCaul — although they are cash-only and their customer service is wretched. In the Beach area, we recommend Brigham and MORE. Out Oakville-way, have a chat with Joe at Celebrity Cigar. In the East, try the folks at Victory Cigars.
Well, then. Where’s a good place to get tobacco online?
The group consensus is either smokingpipes.com or 4noggins.
Yeah, but will I have to pay taxes?
You will very likely have to pay excise tax as assessed at customs. But, really, how else are you going to get [your favourite blend of tobacco] in this country?!? Best advice I have is to keep your order under 200 grams and CBSA may go easy on you. Having said that: it’s your patriotic duty to pay taxes, and lots of it.
Due to a loss of my [family member / friend / health] I have a bunch of pipes that I don’t know what to do with. Can you help?
Sadly, we have been approached on numerous occasions for advice in such matters. There is no easy answer on what you should do. Sometimes those pipes may be valuable, but usually they are only to the person who smoked them (or will end up smoking them). Give us a shout and we’ll help you figure out the best route to go. (It helps to send us pictures and/or the brands of the pipes. It also helps to let us know if your primary intent is to get the most money for them or if it’s to find them good homes.)