Think of Cigar Company + Gentleman’s Barbershop as the equivalent to what one of its four partners, Orion Armstrong, calls a “man spa,” offering a refined boys’ day out that won’t soon be forgotten.
Located in a 130-year-old heritage landmark building in the heart of Markham Village, the spot functions simultaneously as a barbershop, an event space and a tobacco shop. The venue is unlike any other, offering a testosterone-filled oasis to bond with your buddies, groomsmen or the seasoned tobacconist behind the counter. Just a 20-minute drive from the city (well, on a good day), the multi-purpose spot offers a perfect escape from the daily grind for the gentleman who seeks a refined yet relaxing experience.
Here, it’s all about the experience; so, if you’re simply looking for a transaction, stick with your local cigar shop.
“One hundred and thirty years ago, you would find cigars in barbershops,” said Armstrong, who is Canada’s prominent tobacconist and vintage cigar expert. “We want to reclaim this experience for the modern gentleman. We want to offer them a place to escape the noise and nonsense of the city the same way some feel about a spa.”
The spot, which opened up its doors this spring, features a curated selection of cigars, pipes, accessories and grooming services that cuts no corners (aside from the ones you want it to). Here, you can educate yourself on the basics of cigars, relax and smoke a cigar, have a hot towel shave, get your hair cut and sip scotch over shop talk. A vintage cigar room houses one-of-a-kind cigars you may not find anywhere else, including rare and exclusive regional editions.
Another talking point is a custom walk-in, Spanish cedar humidor that cost a cool $100 k to create (importing Spanish cedar and milling it down doesn’t come cheap). “You can smell the quality when you walk in,” says Armstrong.
One of the most notable features of the space, however, is a 3000-square-foot outdoor cigar lounge – a spot for relaxing and indulging, but also a prime event venue. This oasis lends itself well to everything from groomsmen events (“Pictures taken here are a lot more original than the typical shots of the groomsmen jumping up and down in front of a church,” says Armstrong), to corporate functions like post-golf events at nearby courses (“Cigar smokers tend to enjoy golf,” says Armstrong).
When it comes to events, the brand can also bring the experience to you, and you can expect to see them pop up at some of Toronto’s most coveted parties and happenings in the near future.
Don’t let the refined, up-scale vibe intimidate you; the shop actually celebrates the first-time cigar buyer. “To us, a new, young customer is almost more significant than a seasoned cigar enthusiast with dollars to drop,” says Armstrong. “We flew in someone in from Habanos in Cuba to train the staff to curate the experience from an educational standpoint that is comforting. We want to be the spot where people buy their first cigar.” Curious customers are invited to bring in their humidor for stabilization and conditioning and to learn more about it through starter humidor sessions.
Whether you’re in the market for a quality gift for a client, your first cigar or an overdue boys’ night, a drive up to this spot is totally worth it.
Photos by Nick Lee