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Fashion & Style

Queen West's Ten Spot: Toronto's new It Spot

Posted by Staff / October 31, 2006

Ten Spot TorontoI'm lying down, eyes shut, fists clenched. My legs are hoisted up in the air and my back is arched just so. It's warm, moist and gooey down there. I feel fingers exploring, getting ready. My whole body tenses, my muscles contract and... wait for it, wait for it... riiiiiiiiiiip! off it comes.

My eyes flutter open. I feel a little lightheaded. And, though sadist I am not, that felt good. Mary, my sweet-faced, auburn-haired esthetician, beams at me. She is already preparing the next stick of wax. My own fingers wander south to my wunder down under. I feel around. Verdict? Smooth as a baby's bottom. Mary is my new best friend.

A great Brazilian wax can change a girl's life. No joke. It's just one of those things that puts an extra pep in your step. Kinda like wearing sexy lingerie under your extra large sweats--it's your little secret, and it makes everything that much more fun. Be it the horizontal tango or simply laundry on a Saturday evening, having a Brazilian just ups excitement levels across the board. Hell, when this pussycat is freshly waxed and in my favorite lacy underthings, I feel invincible. Like I could scale Mt. Everest. Like I could fly to the moon. Like I could finally break it to my parents that, despite all their protests, writing may be my career of choice. (No, wait, scratch number three. Hell hath no fury like traditional Asian parents let down.)

Finding a good waxer, however, can be a girl's worst nightmare. You could go on the recommendations of your gal pals but, at the end of the day, it's largely a trial-and-error process. And the errors are--pardon my French--a monstrous bitch. I mean, do you really want to put your money honey pot through the ringer time and time again? Yeah, didn't think so.

Enter The Ten Spot, a nail bar and waxing heaven on Queen West. Ladies: meet The Ultimate Brazilian. Unruly hair from where the sun don't shine: meet your match. [Cue WWF intro music]. Be afraid, be very afraid.

The Ten Spot does their Brazilians using a combination of hard and strip waxes. Step one involves the hard wax, which is less painful for most women (not I), and clears the canvas. Step two is where the strip wax comes in (call me crazy, but I enjoy this more) and is what really brings out the full potential of your tongue magnet.

In addition to 14 different waxing services, The Ten Spot also offers 8 different nail treatments--there's one for men called The Hand Job. (Rawr. Come to poppa). Threading and tinting (lash or brow) are also available. For those looking to splurge, the spa also offers facials using fancypants skincare line dermalogica.

Although it's only been open for a mere three months, The Ten Spot has quickly become the It Spot of choice for the city's most discerning fashionistas. Its list of admirers and clients reads like a veritable who's who of Canada's trendsetting elite. Elle, Fashion and Sweet Spot have all sung its praises. Strut, Bobbi, and Verve Girl are banging down its door trying to get some face time. St. Joseph's Media (think: Where, Toronto Life, Wish, et al), Holt Renfrew and The Drake Hotel all call upon The Ten Spot to pamper their staff. L'Oreal Fashion Week chose it as its official spa this year. Frankly, I feel a tad silly to be jumping on the bandwagon so late; but, hell--as I sit here crossing and uncrossing my legs (ooh)--it's a sweet, sweet bandwagon to be on.

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The brains and beauty--trust me, I was tempted to start batting for the other team--behind the operation is one Kristen Gale, Ten Spot owner and general sparkler extraordinaire. Sparkler, you ask? Indeed. There is no other word to describe it: this woman sparkles. (Need further corroboration? See the photo above--she's on the bottom, second from right.)

From the second you set foot in her joint, Gale immediately takes you under her gracious wing. This hostess with the mostest can usually be found mixing a drink--complimentary beverages are part of the Ten Spot experience (hiccup!)--while fielding questions from media types over the phone, and flitting from client to client, ensuring that every whim is met. Gale opened the nail and waxing bar in August to fill the gap she saw in the Toronto spa market.

"I wanted to do something that was simple in concept, but executed really, really well. And I thought Toronto was missing something like The Ten Spot. I mean, when you ask people what's the coolest hotel, they say The Drake. Or where's a really great gym, they might say Diesel. But for where to go for a Brazilian, or where to get your nails done, there wasn't any place that was really great, that really stood out," reflects Gale. "And so that's what I want The Ten Spot to be."

A former graphic designer, Gale had known she wanted her own business ever since she was a little girl. It wasn't until she found herself on the bye-bye end of a corporate downsizing, however, that she decided now was the time. "I'm not a good employee, I'll admit that. I've been fired twice--once from an internship," laughs Gale. "I have zero passion when I'm working for someone else. Just zero. Unless I have passion for what I'm doing, I'm not going to do a good job."

It seems, however, that a pink slip was exactly what was needed to ignite her passion. Within a few days of getting the boot, she had a business plan, a location, a registered company, and was ready to conquer Toronto. And conquer she has.

"I love Toronto. I'm literally kind of obsessed with it. I don't know what it is. I really love Queen Street--I think Queen Street is really what sold me on Toronto," muses the Winnipeg transplant, who has done stints in New York and Montreal. "Toronto is like New York, but a little cleaner and still manageable. It's still Canada, and a girl like me can still own her own shop on Queen Street."

The Ten Spot's proudly flaunts an "anti-spa" attitude. With a musical playlist that includes Radiohead and The Brazilian Girls, a plasma screen TV, a fully stocked bar, and interesting characters coming through the door at all times--Gale encourages her guests to mingle--a trip to The Ten Spot is not unlike going to a social retreat. And this is best exemplified by the spa's cheekily named packages. Tuesdays is Movies and Manicures Day--sip on a root beer float and watch a flick while getting pampered. Thursdays is Get Nailed Night--manicures, martinis and make-up...oh my! (Basically, you get to predrink and get primped.) Hangover Hook-Up is on Sunday, when pedicures come with a complimentary continental breakfast.

While the lighthearted hijinks are all in good fun, Gale makes it known that The Ten Spot takes business very seriously. Its managing director hails from the Stillwater Spa (think frou frou celebrity haunt), as does its director of education and training.

"Our screening and training process for all our staff is intense. Also, we are extremely clean--anything that's not stainless steel is discarded or given to the client so, for example, you keep your nail file when you leave. Anything that is stainless steel is cleaned in the medical grade autoclave, like the kind they use in tattoo parlours," explains a game-faced Gale. "That's pretty much unheard of in this industry."

I nod and smile as she explains all of this to me. Sounds great. Uh huh. But, really, I just can't wait to get home and, uhm, get to know myself a little bit better. It's true, ladies, treat your cha-cha right and reap the rewards. And, aesthetically and, errr, performance-wise, you can't beat The Ten Spot treatment when it comes your sweet spot.

Hey, no one likes a furburger.

The Ten Spot
749 Queen Street West
416.915.1010
seeyou@10spot.ca
The Ten Spot is open seven days a week (til 10pm Thursdays through Saturdays). No appointments required.

Psst: Holt Renfrew and The Drake do it, and so should you. Private girlie get-togethers and other soirees are availabe at The Ten Spot. Reduced rates are offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Psst #2: This Halloween, you can get bruised, abused, stabbed and scabbed at The Ten Spot. A professional make-up artist will be onsite today (Tuesday, October 31) from 4:30 to 10:00pm, and can doll you up or troll you down, for a piddly $10. For more of The Ten Spot's special events--from theatre packages to art of conversation workshops--see their website.

Discussion

36 Comments

jerrold / October 31, 2006 at 01:43 pm
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I feel inspired. My next post will be DIY step-by-step on scrotum shaving, but I'll put it in the sports & play category ;)
Jennifer / October 31, 2006 at 02:14 pm
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I love a wax just as much as the next girl, but this was way too much info. I feel violated.
Sami / October 31, 2006 at 02:41 pm
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Walked past it a couple of days ago - Queen West has needed a spot like this! Planning on checking it out next time I get a mani/pedi.
Panthea / October 31, 2006 at 02:53 pm
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Oops. Was I inappropriate?

That, like, never happens...

;)

bryn / October 31, 2006 at 03:09 pm
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after reading that it's become apparent that my local spa nails will no longer be cutting it for manis & pedis.

also, how cute is the pre-drink and get primped idea? I mean, yeah, I can do that at home for less, but that's like saying I could give myself a pedicure...exfoliate my own feet? um, gross.
Dave Curtis / October 31, 2006 at 05:03 pm
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First off, I enjoyed the verve of this piece. Nicely written, Panthea.

However, as a (male) enthusiast of the female form, in ALL its glorious forms, I get a little...offended when told "Hey, no one likes a furburger." A little, (or a lot) of hair, depending on one's preference, can be very sexy. It's one of those wonderful secondary sexual characteristics.

I'm not denying the personal good feelings gained from having a Brazilian and indeed if that's your motivation, fine. The 10 Spot sounds great.

I guess what I'm against is the notion that this kind of article often reinforces the pressure on women who feel they HAVE to be stripped clean and shiny in order to please men. I've been privy to too many men (and women) who get unneccessarily, and sometimes offensively worked up over the issue of "unwanted" hair.

I get the fact that it's a personal preference, and as you infer, not all Brazilians are going to be as stellar as the one you described. But if I want to do some good old fashioned carpet munching, then I'll happily chow down :-) Chin chin!
jerrold / October 31, 2006 at 08:40 pm
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The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depilation";>wiki for hair removal</a> is a fun read.
Gloria / November 1, 2006 at 07:30 am
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Thanks, Dave. I was going to write a similar comment (and I'll repeat the sentiment that it was a fun article regardless) but you obviously beat me to it.
Panthea / November 1, 2006 at 11:50 am
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Dave, Gloria,
<br>I hear ya completely. I was not trying to send out an "all women must go get waxed" message by any means. *Especially* not to please the opposite sex (or the same sex... whatever turns your crank). Cuz, lord knows, the most action this girl has seen as of late has been on the unicycle.
<br>I just enjoy a good Brazilian, plain and simple. And when I get it, I get pretty darn excited. (Can ya tell?)
<br>That being said, I wouldn't mind if a boy liked to trim. I have dental floss at home already, thank you very much.
<br>Appreciate you guys throwing in your $0.02. Chin chin indeed, Dave.
yas / November 1, 2006 at 02:36 pm
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Definitely going to check out the 10 spot!!! I'm new to Toronto and it's freakn' hard to find a good waxer!
Allen / November 1, 2006 at 05:15 pm
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I love a good furburger.
mainja / November 1, 2006 at 11:08 pm
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Nice! Excellent article, and now of course I will be joining the hordes of people clamouring to go there.
Georgia / November 21, 2006 at 10:05 am
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I actually just went for an appointment at the 10 Spot yesterday, and it was great.
The service was amazing, and funny enough, I went to get a brazilian. As up-close & personal as those can be, it wasn't uncomfortable at all. I was recommended by a friend, and I would definitly pass the recomendation on.
Nice post.
yummymummy / November 30, 2006 at 10:51 pm
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for the ultimate brazilian, forget the 10 spot and go to Ritual on king st and see Iryna. She's equal parts scary and fabulous , and she gets the job done in I swear 5 minutes!!!! Trust me she's got all the king west cookie hooked!!!!
chloe / November 30, 2006 at 10:54 pm
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I agree Iryna rocks! She gives a kick ass pedicure too.
suebielicious / January 7, 2007 at 04:05 am
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I've already gotten a manicure and a facial there. And the place looks fantastic. I love it!
jane doe / January 7, 2007 at 11:56 am
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Actually, there is a even better place to have amazing nails done by award- winning nail techs not estheticians...they offer the most beautiful real looking enhancements ( gel and fibreglass, acrylic!) and the BEST mani pedi in T.O. Plus its a beautiful nail bar NOTHING CHOP SHOP ABOUT IT!!!! If you want your nails done by the best --not just some swanky flash in the pan, call TIPS Nail Bar near Starbucks on the Danforth!!!!!!!PS- Yumiko gives the most fab Brazillian
F Kitten / March 9, 2007 at 03:59 pm
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Allen...call me !

Love, fuzzy kitten xo
Nic / March 10, 2007 at 01:08 pm
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I went to 10spot for a manicure and a brazilian. And i was NOT impressed.
The manicure didnt last long, and they usually do. And the brazilian... SUCKED!!! I dont even know where to start- She left so many spots, irritated my skin. I have been to other places and its 100x better...where they leave me 100%BARE!
Take your money elsewhere!!!! TRUST ME. I'm in the industry. This place is just HYPE.
TheRealDeal. / May 25, 2007 at 11:14 am
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Ten Spot is the worst Brazilian and pedicure I have EVER had. I'm generally not picky, and have seen 10 or more estheticians for that particular service. At Ten Spot, the estheticians are rude and do an extremely bad job. My brazilian was actually no more than a shitty bikini wax. In fact, the first time I went it was excellent but the esthetician I saw has since left. I went back, trusting that there were other good people there, and I was shocked by how poor the service was. They also overcharge like crazy. I live right around the corner and it's really convenient but I will never go back.
Amber / December 29, 2007 at 02:41 pm
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I used to go here a when it first opened and it was a really great place, with a great location and services. The last time I was there was in early 2007 and i noticed that this place has gone down hill. The estheticians are no longer as good as they were- a lot of the good ones have left. The last one I had was rude, and kept messing up my French Manicure, leaving it uneven and looking like I did it myself at home with a kit from the drugstore. When you are paying prices like these, it should look way better.

I do give them credit for having such great PR, but they are way over hyped. Not sure if it has improved since I have been there, but I don't plan on going back. Try Lux in Yorkvile, I find this place way better, and close to the same prices.
dawn / March 16, 2008 at 05:15 pm
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I've been going to the ten spot since it's opened (i'm in the area) and I totally LOVE it! The Brazilians are AMAZING! Ashley is the girl to go to and she's been there for a long time - almost since the begining.... she's really chill and fast and gets EVERYTHING!!!! The facials are amazing as well - they are customized for your skin and the massage is incredible - they even do a hand /arm massage during the masque part. I heard they do hot stone services hot - can't wait for a hot stone facial!!!
Stuart / March 16, 2008 at 05:17 pm
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My girlfriend and I just did a couples massage here (she gets her 'downunder' waxed there all the time) and it was awesome. Best V-day gift I've done yet.
erin dermo Dermo / March 16, 2008 at 07:18 pm
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It was so great! The customer service was the best I've ever seen! Can't wait to go back and try the Hot Stone Pedicure!

ug / April 26, 2008 at 09:28 am
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Jane / June 6, 2008 at 12:27 am
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I go to the 10 spot for my pedicures and am happy, but went awhile ago for a brazilian bikini wax and was not satisfied. I still had peach fuzz left behind, even after pointing out a missed spot. I had had laser hair removal and was left with peach fuzz that the laser couldn't target. The 10 spot did not pass the test for waxing and I'll have to find another place to go, although I may still go for pedicures.
DJ / October 17, 2008 at 04:04 pm
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I went there today based on this post. And let me tell you it was the worst wax I've ever had. I do eye brow and Brazilian wax on a regular basis in US and almost never had problems. Took a chance on this pace - the girl took half of my eyebrow off and I look like a fool! I ran out of the place and didn't do Brazilian. The place doesn't look professional and is not very clean either. I doubt the girls that work there had proper training in beauty schools. It showed. Anyway, I definitely wouldn't recommend this place.
Tara / October 20, 2008 at 08:28 pm
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I have to say that I'm pretty shocked at that last post. I've been going to the 10spot for 6 months to get my eyebrows shaped and all other waxing. Every girl I've seen has been professional and very knowledgeable. The 10spot is one of the most cleanest spa's I've ever been to. I guess you can't please everyone......Dj to bad your missing out on one of the best places in T.O!
Amber / January 5, 2009 at 11:25 pm
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Sounds really enticing! I really wanna check this out, but it's kinda far from where I am and I hardly make a trip down to the city.. but who knows, maybe I will. I am aware that there are always going to be both good and bad feedback everywhere- so why not give it a go?!
jessica replying to a comment from dawn / April 14, 2009 at 01:52 pm
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I go to the ten spot all the time, i think it the best place to go to when i need something done, i love getting my eye brows and a brazilian done at the ten spot.
The girls are so down to earth and very friendly its the best spa i have ever gone to , its also the cleanest i have ever seen.
i recommend this place to anyone who wants to find the perfect spa and to anyone who want the best brazilians in the world!!!!!!!!! i loved it and i cant wait to go again.!!!
Alicia replying to a comment from Nic / August 19, 2009 at 02:28 pm
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i agree with Nic, It wasnt horrid, BUT it wasnt what the claim. too much plucking needed to be done when i got home, not really worth the money and didnt live up to there 'best brazil' claims.
Courtney / September 27, 2009 at 12:39 pm
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I have to disagree. I just left the place after my first ever wax, yes a Brazilian, and I am addicted already! Erika was amazing and fast. It's completely gone!

Now being a long time shaver and absolutely pathetic when it comes to pain I was scared. Like shaking scared. And as the first strip was put on I was ready to bolt out the door, pantless an everything. And then the strip was off. Just like that. Now it may have been the 6 advil helping a little but but I can't bring myself to think it took away all the pain. Now don't get me wrong, some places hurt and some hurt more than others but for what I was anticipating I was in heaven!!

Did I mention the staff was really friendly and social? I walked in and was assisted right away. Maybe you have to go in early when they don't hate the day so much, maybe I got lucky but I will deffinitely be going back in four to six weeks without a tummy ache and lay on that table again.
jade / April 3, 2011 at 05:13 pm
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The writing of this review is so offensively bad. Just ludicrously terrible writing.
allison / January 16, 2012 at 11:16 am
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Amazing. Best Brazilian I've ever had. Such a nice looking spa, with friendly people. You get to watch TV during the wax as well. The whole time I kept expecting more pain to come, but it got better. It was the easiest wax I've ever had. Melissa was great. I'd recommend her. for the first time ever I wont be dreading my next wax! Also was the smoothes wax I've had, she didn't leave a hair behind.
adenceinvaste / June 19, 2012 at 09:07 am
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