Toronto’s a big city, and it can help to have connections. Satisfying all manner of tastes, here are 10 memberships that could just make city life a little easier.
Established in 1908 by a group of writers, architects, musicians, academics, and arts supporters, the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto has existed as a meeting place for similar minds to meet and socialize ever since. Club programming includes regular luncheons, stage productions, and art exhibits that revolve loosely around its “LAMPS disciplines”: literature, architecture, music, painting and stage. Membership fees are priced according to age and status, starting as low as $120 (students) and peaking at $1203 (resident members aged 50-64) and may be paid in instalments.
Cycle Toronto is a grassroots inspired cycling advocacy group that works to facilitate a healthy, safe, productive, and accessible city through addressing challenges and opportunities in city infrastructure and education. Available at four different rates (ranging from $20-$150), annual memberships help to further Cycle Toronto’s action initiatives and afford supporters discounts at local businesses and incentives like free flat fixes.
The Revue Film Society is responsible for keeping Roncesvalles’ repertory cinema alive when it and other cinemas in the city were threatened to hit the dead pool in 2006. Today the RFS continues to keep the Revue alive through engagement and patronage. Individual memberships cost $114 and afford members and the guest of their choice monthly access to the members’ screening of their choice, $3 off regular admission, 10 per cent off the snack bar, as well as discounts at local businesses and voting rights at the RFS AGM. “Champion” level membership ($1130) affords all of this as well as unlimited admission for up to two adults and family members 12 and under, on-screen acknowledgment, and a free large popcorn at each visit.
Founded in London, England in 1995 as a “home from home for people working in creative fields,” Soho House is now an international franchise with club houses in the UK, Berlin, Istanbul, New York, West Hollywood, Miami, Chicago, and Toronto. Patrons apply for acceptance, and Soho House selects members to “assemble communities of members that have something in common: namely, a creative soul.” Toronto members can access a drawing room, restaurant, roof terrace and all Soho House Toronto event programming, as well as a nearby fitness studio and the Chicago faciliites. Soho House offers four self-explanatory tiers of membership – Local House ($1200), Every House ($2800), Under 27 Local House ($750), and Under 27 Every House ($1400).
Founded in 2003 and opened in 2004, the Spoke Club is a private members club specifically geared towards socialites with interests in media, entertainment, and the arts. Event programming includes film screenings, fashion shows, skills seminars, live music, and more. Initiation fees and annual membership costs are determined each year by the club, and members are welcome to bring as many as three guests with them to each event.
The oldest camera club in Canada and the fourth oldest photography club in the world, the Toronto Camera Club was founded in 1888, and they’ve existed as a space for image makers to enthuse about photography and camera technology ever since. Memberships range from $50-125 annually depending on desired level of engagement, but full memberships grant patrons darkroom access and the opportunity to enter competitions, have work judged, and participate in salons, as well as meetings every Monday evening September to May and a weekly lecture series on Thursdays.
Membership with the Toronto Public Library is one of the best deals the city has going. Aside from access to almost any book you can imagine at all of its 100 branches, a library card affords access to decades of vinyl magazines on computer, tablet, and smartphone devices, free training workshops, and you can even borrow a Museum & Arts Pass for free access to Toronto museums and other venues. That’s all available free to anyone living, working, going to school, or owning property in Toronto. Just bring in proper ID and be sure to renew your card annually.
The Toronto Tool Library offers one of the more liberating memberships in Toronto, where, for an annual fee of $50 (if cost is a barrier, they also have “pay what you can” memberships available), you can rent any of over 4000 tools for up to five days at a time and attend workshops and tool training sessions. For an additional fee, they also offer in-house 3D printing and laser cutting services.
Vapor Central is a cannabis sanctuary where users are free to rip on their own supply, no questions asked. Required upon entry, memberships are available at $5 (single day), $12 (weekly), $25 (monthly), and $95 (yearly) rates, while medical users receive half price.
(Main photo from SoHo House)