As a young boy I recall the time spent with my Father going to Toronto to get our haircut. Going to the Barber was a cherished ritual I enjoyed, often it included going out for lunch at a Delicatessen or simply a walk and some “Street Meat” from a local Hot Dog Vendor.
On one of these outings I recall walking by the Dunhill store in Toronto, located on Bloor St., East of Avenue Rd, and asking my Father to go in, at the time I must have been between 8-10. I don’t recall much reluctance from my Father as I charged forward into the store, a young stocky kid with no business being in there. I don’t remember much resistance from the staff when I walked in either! Immediately I was bathed in the luxury and beauty that was an Alfred Dunhill store. I recall standing in the humidor and smelling the rich earthy aromas of the cigars, as well as the nausea from the same aromas as I was clearly not mature enough for such decadence. I fantasized one day about being a cigar aficionado. The pipes on the wall reminded me of my Grandfather and the sweet smell of a recently smoked pipe, still warm, resting, waiting to be picked up again.
Right or wrong, I had a love affair with premium Tobacco and pipes at a very early age. It wasn’t complicated, I just connected to it, a passion. It was not until I was 40 years old that a well placed image happened across my phone while looking at men’s fashions. It was an image of a dapper dressed fellow, his chin tilted down with a pipe clenched in his mouth as he drew a lit match to the pipe. In an instant I recalled all the feelings of that day in the Dunhill store, of my Father and my Grandfather. Was pipe smoking still a thing?
To my delight it was! In fact it had seen a resurgence and I dropped right into the middle of it! I quickly announced my arrival to the world of pipe smoking to little or no fan fair, HA! It was like I found my tribe after being lost for so many years. The hobby found me during a time of conflict and heartache as my marriage slowly died away. It connected me back to that kid in the Dunhill store with his Father.
Soon after discovering this hobby, I had also began antique hunting. I had no idea that the two interests would collide as they did. I started seeing pipes EVERYWHERE. I realized I could curate a collection for myself and busy my hands by cleaning them up. There was also a presence online dedicated to Pipe Restoration, these tutors showed me the way and I quickly developed a passion and skill for the hobby.
Welcome, to Lunting Bear Pipe Restoration! Grab your favourite pipe and stay for a while.