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The Globe and Mail

In pictures: the tobacco-scented halls of Frank Correnti Cigars

For this summer series, The Globe and Mail’s team of award-winning photojournalists get behind the scenes around the city – uncovering what’s hidden, capturing the unexpected, in places they’ve always wanted to go. Here, The Globe’s Fernando Morales visits Frank Correnti Cigars

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I’ve always been attracted to places ignored by time that hide in the streets of every city. The Correnti Cigars factory, in the heart of Toronto, near King Street West and Portland Street, is the last of its kind in Canada.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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The strong smell of tobacco infuses every brick of this building, where the torcedoras (professional cigar rollers) have been making cigars since Frank Correnti founded the company in the 1950s.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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Just a few blocks away, glass towers and condos fill the skyline. But time has stood still in this place. At Correnti, everything is antique; lithographs from another era remain on the walls. Clients still leave the building with a handmade product.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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Titi Fong started working at the factory more than 20 years ago. Since then, she has watched as glass skyscrapers took over the city surrounding the two-storey Correnti factory.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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She says she wasn’t very surprised when, a few months ago, two real estate firms announced development of the King and Portland Joint Venture, a mixed-use office, retail and residential complex. It would mean they will have to relocate, but they don’t plan to close.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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Preserving history is a strong motivation for photographers, and it’s the reason I visited Correnti Cigars.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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The light and atmosphere there are unique and fragile – it is a bizarre space forever bonded to the past.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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Cuban cigars, manually made at Correnti Cigars factory in Toronto. Frank Correnti Cigars is Canada's only manufacturer of Cuban hand-made cigars.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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