November 4, 2011

A Gentleman's Oasis

I had the distinct pleasure to patronize Terminal Barber Shop 2 this week. Located a block west from the original landmark  shop (est. 1925), the second location is exactly what you expect a proper barber shop to look, feel, and even smell like.

Besides the warm and beautiful wood floors, the centrepieces of The Terminal are their vintage barber chairs. Absolutely stunning, they are magnificent works of craftsmanship.

Clients are treated to classical music emanating from hidden speakers as they hang their coats in a handsome wardrobe. With the comforting odour of talcum powder floating about, you slip into one of their leather lounge chairs, enjoy a newspaper or one of the neatly stacked men's magazines from the UK.

There are three barbers, neatly dressed in 3-button white coats, and they are meticulous, courteous, and very professional. I meet one of the owners, Karim Saaden, and he welcomes me and asks my name. My barber is Frank, and he quietly and efficiently works on my hair, with scissors, a very quiet shaver, and a straight razor. 

The experience harkens back to a centuries old tradition. I have to say this was one of the most civilized 30 minutes I have ever spent. I'm sure it was not that long ago one could have expected to be offered a scotch or a cigar. This was indeed a proper barber shop, not a "hair salon" or "stylist" or however else folks with scissors like to call themselves. This is the real deal, old school, musk and all. What a wonderful discovery amongst the cacophony of downtown Toronto.

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