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Fashion Stores

Garrison's By The Park

Posted by Staff / Posted on May 3, 2011

Garrisons Barbershop TorontoGarrison's By The Park probably has the best view of any barber shop in the city. Most barber shops look out on a stretch of retail streetscape or the hallways of a mall or hotel lobby, but this new entrant to the field has front windows that frame the southeast corner of Trinity-Bellwoods Park, and its smaller back window looks out at the red and cream brick of Farr House and the condo complex that wraps around it. The space was co-owner Doug Stewart's home for a couple of years, and last year he and his wife Hollis Hopkins had the bright idea of turning it into probably the city's most relaxing barber shop.

They began work last November, having convinced barbers Sydney Woods - Doug's regular hair-cutter - and Alan Brown to go in with them. The result is a bright space that, despite the opening up that Victorian spaces need in this day and age, retains the building's vintage feel. An antique city map covers much of one wall, along with a display of photos of the area from the city archives, while Stewart and Hopkins have set up little displays of retro men's accessories by the park-framing windows.

garrisons by the parkStewart looked around at the other guy-friendly barber shops that have been opening up around Toronto and decided to nix the flat-panel TVs tuned to cable sports since they "shut down conversation," and he wanted his customers to have a chance to socialize. Free beer and hot toddies (in the frigid winter months) come with the price of a haircut or shave - $35 for a cut, @25 for a shave, and $50 for the package of two - and there's a spacious deck at the back ready for customers who don't want to cool their heels on the curved church pew inside when the sun is shining.

garrisons torontoI sit down in British ex-pat Alan's chair for a shave and trim, which begins with hot towels and an application of pre-shave glide balm from local shave product makers Crown Shaving Co., rich with herbals and a feature of Garrison's. Alan works patiently and carefully, working with the grain of my almost two-week-old beard, careful to avoid triggering the neckline rash I get from quick shaves, and which he was courteous enough to ask about before starting.

garrisons barber shopIf you suffer from an excess of moles, bumps, ingrown hair or any other epidermal issue, then Garrison's is probably the place for you - Alan gave me a shave as clean and close as I've had while working with some very sensitive skin, all the more so since it hadn't seen a razor since Lent. The haircut that followed was quick and clean, exactly what you'd expect when you asked for a close buzz in preparation for the summer months.

You might have a hard time finding Garrison's if you miss the little sandwich board out front or the rotating barber pole by the door, but Stewart says he's planning to add a vintage-style mural to the east wall of the building, in keeping with the neighbourhood's retro character. He's also working on promotions with local businesses like Capsule Music, Green Shag, Grreat Stuff and the nearby Fred Perry outlet, in the hopes of creating a "neighbourhood shop" for local guys.

Writing and photos by Rick McGinnis



The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 09:41 am
Can this douchebag rip off The Crow's Nest any more?
andrew replying to a comment from The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 09:54 am
You know, you're allowed to have more than one classic barbershop in a city, right?
Iaxe replying to a comment from The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 09:59 am
Seriously? You are aware that Crow's Nest took a fair bit of their style from Blood and Bandages, right?

If you are going to play the elitist game, you should at least start in the right place.
Slick Rick / May 4, 2011 at 10:04 am
Do they serve pancakes with your haircut?

If not, then wtf am I paying for?
Rhooke replying to a comment from The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 10:04 am
I know! And the way they use scissors to cut hair is so *done*. I mean, I went to a place in Berlin where your hair was chewed shorter by ferrets specially trained to like the taste of hair. Now that's original, which automatically makes it better, despite all the ferret droppings!
Bubba / May 4, 2011 at 10:15 am
you shouldn't advertise your giving free beer or liquor as it is illegal in the province of Ontario, you can lose your license and be shut down for it.
Cliph / May 4, 2011 at 10:16 am
I've made this my regular barbers and very much enjoy Alan's cuts and conversations.
GatsbyTO / May 4, 2011 at 10:25 am
Is anyone else stunned at $35 for a haircut??
The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 10:27 am
Free beer... Church pew. Really guys? That is a classic barber shop. Sort ur shit out. Thievery!!!
DB replying to a comment from Iaxe / May 4, 2011 at 10:28 am
I don't think Crow's Nest stole any of their style. If I'm not mistaken, the guy from Crow's Nest was one of the proprietors of B & B and they split up.
The Legend replying to a comment from Rhooke / May 4, 2011 at 10:29 am
Ur comedy is poor at best.
The Legend replying to a comment from DB / May 4, 2011 at 10:31 am
Sean replying to a comment from GatsbyTO / May 4, 2011 at 10:31 am
I was when I first heard about this place. Then again, I am a black guy and am clueless as to how much a non-black person has to pay for a haircut.

That being said, I met Alan a couple weeks back and he seemed like a pretty cool guy. I might give it a chance to see what it is like.
Dan / May 4, 2011 at 11:12 am
Where do you guys get your haircut? Supercuts?

35 dollars for a nice cut, done by someone who actually knows what they're doing and offer up a nice space/convo/etc seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Steve Rock replying to a comment from The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 11:18 am
can Crows Nest not handle the competition? I suppose while we're at it, all the classic Italian barbers should be nixed too, right? Gimmie a break, "Legend"
KL / May 4, 2011 at 11:18 am
$35 for a cut? Better include several free beers.
scott / May 4, 2011 at 11:42 am
I met Alan and Sydney just by chance a few months back at a local watering hole. They mentioned that they had just opened up a spot, and seemed like good, friendly folk (which is important to me when getting a cut), so I gave them a try.

Very glad I did. A good, patient cut, a great atmosphere, and friendly conversation. I consider $35 to be pretty average and reasonable by salon standards, and Garrisons basically combines the best elements of both barber shops and salons. There's no pretension, but there's also no corporate logo on the front sign.

JoeParez replying to a comment from The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 11:44 am
Classic? Far from it!
I go to a classic barber shop; three old Italian men who learned their craft and do it gracefully and respectfully. A hole in the wall type place, there's no "kitchy" or "ironic" furniture or art and don't need gimmicks for your business. You walk in and they know your name and know exactly what you want, you grab a newspaper and talk at random. Heavy accents included. All that for 10 or 12 bucks; that's what a barber shop is about.

A place like this pays homage to the classic barber shop, but is far from one.
Sean replying to a comment from Dan / May 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm
I have never met one black guy in my whole life that paid $35 for a haircut. That is why I was initially taken aback.

That being said, when I started to think about the potential advantages of going there (e.g. potentially not having to sit around for an hour or two waiting to get a haircut, the location, atmosphere, free beer, etc.) I consequently had a rethink.
FemmeFatale / May 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm
Don't complain about $35 hair cuts with a free beer in a nice space - most women can't even get a simple cut (forget about the booze) for that price!
FetaLovingGreekGuy / May 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm
The place looks great but price seems a little excessive. Yes it includes a beer but my current spot comes with soccer on the tele, an espresso and the latest copy of Playboy for 1/2 the price.
FetaLovingGreekGuy replying to a comment from JoeParez / May 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm
Dan replying to a comment from Sean / May 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm
Yeah, I wasn't so much referring to you because you weren't really being as judgmental as most.

This place is located close to me and seems pretty decent, I might have to give it a try.
Jay Goldman / May 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm
I had the absolute pleasure of an early Saturday morning cut by Alan — we chatted about everything from Russia to torrent downloads to Back to the Future. The cut took a leisurely hour and was well worth the $35, both in the finished product and the company. I will definitely be back.
jam / May 4, 2011 at 01:40 pm
Why do people feel the need to shit on every review, especially when you have not step foot in the place. If you are happy getting your hair cut by an old italian man at a traditional shop for $12, then good for you. That doesn't diminish what these guys are doing. You're not forced to go here, so I think you should keep your negative comments to yourself.

The review is meant to inform people about the place and let them decide if they think it is a place of interest or not. Your non-informative opinions are null and void.
FetaLovingGreekGuy replying to a comment from jam / May 4, 2011 at 01:46 pm
Is your comment any less negative?
Decker / May 4, 2011 at 01:55 pm
I'd have to side with this legend character on this one. Massive Crow's Nest rip off. MASSIVE. Btw, no style was ripped off @ all from B&B. Wow... you lads really have NO idea what you're on about do you... Done.
Kevin / May 4, 2011 at 02:12 pm
Seems to me like another Canadian case of everyone being too cool for school. A barbershop opens up with awesome employees, cool digs and free beer, gets a review in BlogTO, and gets ripped apart by people who (for the most part) probably haven't even walked inside the front door. I love Toronto but sometimes we're a little too quick to pass judgment in the name of satisfying our need to be heard. Do we have a complex?? It's a barbershop for crying out loud. Get your haircut or don't.

Decker / May 4, 2011 at 02:20 pm
I would love to but I'm bald. Haha. Thanks for the speech though Kev, it was enlightening. On to the next blog to read about more Canadians who are "too cool for school" with a "complex" who love to "pass judgement".

Victor / May 4, 2011 at 02:39 pm
First of all, to all the negative people writing comments - get a life. Sadly, there will always be people like you in the world, but anyone with a half a brain will know to ignore your stupid comments. On a positive note from a REAL and REGULAR customer, this place is awesome and they definitely know their stuff. The shop is decked out, the service is superb and my hair and beard have never looked better. I have had a lot more dates since I started going to their shop! Well worth the money & who can complain about a free beer?!
Max / May 4, 2011 at 02:39 pm
I've been there twice now. The first time Alan rescued my head from tragic haircut I had suffered at one of the other shops mentioned in this post. Friendly people, a reliable, good haircut, I'll happily pay a little more every month or two for it.
Rmund / May 4, 2011 at 02:59 pm
I bought 3 ferrets and 3 minty flavoured Chap Sticks (for hair gel), and a bottle of Stock Ale from a guy in a jaunty Cuban revolutionary hat and a macaw on his shoulder in an alley in Parkdale, for only $25! I'm ready to use it all for my new spring do!

Beat that!

Now if only I could find some spider monkeys for beard grooming.
Nik.T / May 4, 2011 at 03:52 pm
I have a personal Rule,

No New School (young), Barbers, Dentists or Doctors.
50 years of age or older = Experience.
And $35 for a Mens Haircut. REALLY!?
The O.G’s would never charge that much.
JoeParez replying to a comment from jam / May 4, 2011 at 03:55 pm
AND @ KEVIN -- Please explain to me where I gave this place a negative review. I've never been there and I have yet to experience what they offer. I was merely calling out the comment that referred to this place as a "classic barbershop" -- it's not. It's a men's salon that pays homage to the classic style barbershop; or a modern twist to the classic.

I am pretty sure that the men that run this establishment know their craft and do great work. And hey, I might actually check it out; but to call it a classic is far fetched. That's the point I was making.
Jill / May 4, 2011 at 03:58 pm
Where can a lady get a haircut AND a beer?! damn.
Eric26 replying to a comment from Sean / May 4, 2011 at 04:02 pm
I'm a fussy white person, so $35 sounds good to me (although I pay $30 for the lovely James on Church Street. He has the very strange habit of LISTENING to what you want, unlike most people who cut hair).
j / May 4, 2011 at 04:26 pm
I normally pay $14 for a haircut but I suppose I would go here for a $35 haircut just for the hell of it. Looks fun.
lister / May 4, 2011 at 04:56 pm
Of course no one has asked the most important question: what's the beer selection?
Kelzy replying to a comment from The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 05:11 pm
Although it takes me about 4 months to build up just a little peach fuzz, this place can bring back my baby face anytime!!

Kellen replying to a comment from The Legend / May 4, 2011 at 05:13 pm
Although it takes me over 4 months to grow a little peach fuzz, this place can bring back my baby face anytime... LOVE IT!!!!!
Kelzy / May 4, 2011 at 05:15 pm
Although it takes me over 4 months to grow a little peach fuzz, this place can bring back my baby face anytime... LOVE IT!!!!!
Wolf / May 4, 2011 at 05:30 pm
They do a good job, put out good service and make you feel like a million bucks out the door. There's no rush and the conversation is great. It's hard not to be friends with these people, they enjoy their work and you can feel it in everything they do.

A little too much for you? Then you're worrying about the wrong things in life friend -- you need some TLC more than me :)
Tommodore / May 4, 2011 at 06:26 pm
Correct me if I am wrong, but this thread appears to exist to inform people of whether or not this establishment is a good place to get your haircut. Yet some people are being negative without even stepping foot into the place!?!

Speaking from experience I would recommend going and finding out for yourself. The barber I had was kind and attentive to what I actually wanted done with my hair and didn't stop until I was happy with it. Overall I was impressed and I'll be back hoping the next experience will be as good as the first.
dogwalker / May 4, 2011 at 09:57 pm
Great spot, friendly people, nice view... what do you people want for $35???
Ratpick replying to a comment from JoeParez / May 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm
Amen, brother.

Patriotic Canadian / May 5, 2011 at 05:12 am
I get my haircuts in Chinatown for $6 and tip the barber $2 each time (That's roughly 30%)

Been going there for nearly 5 years now and I've never gotten one bad haircut.

He immigrated from China and speaks fluent English.

P.S. Please don't start bashing Chinese or non-caucasian barbers now. If you got a bad haircut, then big f*ckin' whoop to you too!
dns / May 6, 2011 at 11:48 pm
Garrison's is awesome. Just got back from my first haircut by the talented Sydney Woods. The shop is chilled out and relaxing with cool vintage furniture. But what impressed me most was that everyone was just genuine and super friendly. The entire staff was hospitable and did a good job at making you feel welcome. It was a great experience and I highly recommend you go check it out.
feedback english harbour casino / May 16, 2011 at 09:35 am
It is the most boring game I have ever played.
asdf / June 5, 2011 at 11:20 am
The Crow's Nest cuts for $25, and the cut sucks.
thunderbird_1992 / July 3, 2011 at 05:54 pm
This place is the real deal! Fitted me in for a last minute app't on a Sunday and despite my vague/indecisive instructions, got a terrific cut from CeCe! Don't know how she figured it but best I've had in a long time. Gonna be heading back for sure and give a 100%+ recommendation...
John / July 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm
What a great shop! Despite my vague/indecisive instructions, CeCe gave me a great cut. Atmosphere is relaxed and conversation is great without being excessive. I'm hoping my hair grows fast so I can get back soon!!
Jon / July 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm
CeCe cut my hair today. Well worth the $35. She was incredibly professional, super funny and hooked it up with some tasty homebrew. Good conversation, and great music. Totally recommended.
The Voice of Reason / July 15, 2011 at 02:47 pm
Poor Toronto. Why are we such haters? Handfuls of classic barbershops are scattered all around NYC. When competition comes in, step up your game. End of story. I welcome options. Options allow for healthy competition and in the end, better products and services available to everyone. Business 101.

Get a brain or go back to high school. Childish.
jarvis / September 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm
The forum barber parlour did it for me. appointments only. yonge and finch 3rd floor clean place. they can cut better then these guys thats forsure and they have a pretty nice view aswell. if anyones interested check out either jay,patrice or claudio at 647.828.5620 the forum thats claudio the barbers phone number
Chris / October 2, 2011 at 11:22 am
So...what kinds of cuts are they good at? Fade? Flat Top? Crewcut? Buzz?
sdtgwe / October 9, 2011 at 06:14 pm
wertyty / October 10, 2011 at 04:29 am
berlin / November 7, 2011 at 02:20 pm
so this is what happens when something cool opens up in toronto? these comments are pathetic. great barber shop.
matt replying to a comment from JoeParez / December 22, 2011 at 10:26 am
where is this shop if u don't mind me asking
thomas / December 22, 2011 at 11:30 am
selling brand new oster classic clipper 76.
Price - $135
Original price - 199 + TAX.


* Barbers' favorite hair clipper! Barber supply necessity!!

* Powerful Universal Motor Clipper has maximum power for cutting through thick, thin, or coarse wet, damp or dry hair

* Detachable Cryogen-x clipper blade system allows for a quick blade change

* Operates quiet and cool

* 12 Cryogen-x clipper blade sizes available

* This kit includes: - classic 76 clipper

- size 1 (76918-086) and size 000 (76918-026) detachable clipper blades

- clipper blade guard

- clipper blade oil

- clipper grease

- cleaning brush

- instruction sheet
thomas / December 22, 2011 at 11:30 am
dom trom replying to a comment from Iaxe / January 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm
and there staff.
amaro / March 3, 2012 at 02:33 pm
by reading all the comments i cant help but to think of opening my own barber shop and you can call it new school old school mideval age ice age or future in the making, i couldnt really care what is it, as long as people are leaving satified. i started cutting hair back in cuba at age 15 it is a passion of mine, so look out for my new shop soon, nothing fancy just excellent service.
a watcher replying to a comment from asdf / March 13, 2012 at 12:51 am
and the owner hasnt even been doing it longer then 3 years..
no wounder the cuts suck..
a watcher replying to a comment from The Voice of Reason / March 13, 2012 at 12:53 am
well said!!
a watcher replying to a comment from The Legend / March 13, 2012 at 01:24 am
could you sound like a bigger douchebag yourself?? geez!
you sound like you just discovered this barbershop ordeal, as if the crows nest started somthing new... pfft..
this shit aint anything new, "IT's CLASSIC IDEA"
if you want to talk about who's ripping off who, then check out hawleywoods barbershop. youll see that crows nest is doing it exactly the same, same tattooed rockabiily (hipster in toronto)barbers, even selling the original product made by Hawleywoods Barbershop called layrite.. did you know this much? u idiot!!

you must be a friend of there's to be so blinded to think crows nest is an original, or your one of the obnoxious pretentious hipster that hangs there talking about your obscure music while eating you obscure breakfast talking about taking that obscure shit your gonna take out your mouth while replying to this...
a watcher replying to a comment from Rhooke / March 13, 2012 at 01:45 am
cutting hair with scissors is "done"? r u kidding me? looks like u need to be educated too, first off u should know that the strait razor is older then the scissors and the scissors older then the clipper, if ur talking classic barbershop then the scissors is the proper way to cut, the electric clipper was only created in 1919 by Leo J Whale, and i should add that cutting with a clipper creates an equal layer, that means not a good grow out especially for those with thick hair, hair grows out better when cut with a razor or scissors, our hair doesnt grow out even, therefor softer lines grow out better, u need texture in ur hair if u want longevity, clippers serve there purpose just like the scissors and the razor, if ur true to the trait you should know how to cut with them all...
calebarber / August 4, 2012 at 11:44 am
I am a barber.
For all you guys judging and saying they "ripped off" the idea... Having a classic/vintage style barber shop is not a new idea.. i hate to break it to you neither BandB or The Crows Nest were the first to do so. This doesnt make it any less of a cool idea or atmophere.
Simply put the chairs we HAVE to use if you a true barber and do shaves are just vintageing looking... its easy to go with it.
For my taste and style of cutting I do think $35 is a lot, however I am a fast pasted barber. Some men would prefer a slower cut and more time spent on them, more time means more money. The reason we have different styles and prices in our industry is to cater to different people.
Would you rather we all be the same? but wait... then we would be "ripping each other off" ...
See my point?
theBARBER / December 14, 2012 at 03:11 pm
user-pic last!!!!
i followed this looking for silhouette's of scissors to engrave on the end of my church pew (waiting seat)in my barber shop & followed the thread out of interest in 'punters' who havn't got a fekin idea what they want / need regarding haircut.
i have a modest barber shop in the north east of england, Durham City to be precise, & thankfully have a good clientele who firstly understand where i'm coming from + i know them.
time after time i get new folk in & to be honest, they have to prove themselves to me!!
no bullshit, just haircuts, good ones at that. my opinion but i've seen a lot of shite about.
some peeps on here wouldn't be welcomed back...NOT for the cut, just the bullshit they spout.
it shouldn't matter what the surroundings are, all you need is a chair, mirror, clippers, etc. BUT most of all, RESPECT & TRUST in the guy stood behind you.
heck ya / February 23, 2013 at 12:36 am
wow complaining about $35 for a hair cut really? thats cheap but ya if you want to compare it to first choice's $10 hack job just keep going there and stop bitching
Tapered / March 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm
I've had four really great cuts here. All of the barbers know what they are doing and you feel entirely confident in their abilities. Cool atmosphere too. Essentially what you're paying for is their time. It's $35 (plus tax) for 1/2 hour rather than $12 cut at some old Italian barber shop where they only know how to cut hair one way.

Now, I'm not one to scrimp and save on things especially if it's a quality job BUT $35 every 3-4 weeks does add up (unfortunately, that's how fast my hair grows).

I had heard a few things about the Crow's Nest in Kensington so I stopped by a couple of days ago. They charge me $15 for exactly the same cut. Now, I might be missing something here but Garrison's charged me $20 more (plus tax). I'm still trying to get my head around this and until I do...Crow's Nest it is.
Nope replying to a comment from Tapered / July 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm
Crow's Nest is $25 - you must of had an apprentice which is why it's $15.
Jp / November 12, 2013 at 10:02 am
I have been to garrison's and crows nest multiple times and I love both places HOWEVER if I want a tight clean cut Nothing beats royal barbershop east toronto. No gimmicks no trendy bandwagon to jump on just 3 old italian barbers who have been cutting hair for the last 50 years. Nothing against Crowsnest and Garrison's but why go to a barber shop that tries to give off that classic barbershop feel when you can just go to an actual oldschool barber, they don't decorate their shop to look like a classic shop they are an oldschool classic shop
Andrew replying to a comment from GatsbyTO / June 14, 2014 at 09:06 am
Wow. how difficult is it to get a quality fade without having to deal with hipster bullshit and the price. when you have a very tight cut it needs to be maintained. i like to have mine cut every 9 days. i'd like to find a place that does touch ups for cheaper to maintain in between cuts.
Karna Kosty / November 13, 2014 at 07:41 pm
* k so might I as well throw some fuel on this fire.. Pamela.. Bathurst Street. In that Mens clothing store GOT STYLE.. She charges $60.. men make appointments a month or two in advance. You have it.. you sell it. It sells.. you got it@:-) Where do I Barber? never mind..LOL.. how much do I charge.. well that depends.. who are you>and what do you want today?? it's just like that.
Warmest Regards
JHHairandBeauty / February 16, 2015 at 04:21 am
The Garrison's Barbershop placed in beautiful place but it has costlier than any other.but The barber's cut stylish hair ..Nice blog..!!

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