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Best of Toronto

The Best Barber Shops in Toronto

Posted by Rick McGinnis / October 23, 2013

Barber shops TorontoThe best barber shops in Toronto have evolved a bit since the last time we made a list. Two years ago, this roundup consited of a dozen shops that mixed old school barbershops boasting years, even decades of experience with a handful of new shops, some of which strove mightily to echo the talc and Barbisol atmosphere of their elders.

This year's list excludes almost every one of these old school shops (think Aristotelis and Gus the Other Barber, for instance) in favour of the new crop of younger barbers, a few of which skew urban or even edge close to the high end salon. For a business that, a few years ago, looked like it might be going the way of the TV repairman, this is a healthy trend.

Here are the best barber shops in Toronto.

See also:

The best hair salons in Toronto

Crow's Nest

Crow's Nest

This Kensington shop has prospered, specializing in finicky retro cuts and careful beard and moustache maintenance in its crowded basement location. It's also been a training ground for new barbers, charging full and apprentice rates depending on the experience of the man or woman with the scissors. More »

Blood and Bandages

Blood and Bandages

Blood and Bandages - Think twice and you'll have walked from one end of this tiny shop to the other. Packed to the ceiling with masculine bric-a-brac, Roger Janes' shop is an old school barbershop distilled and miniaturized. It's hard not to get to know someone in a space this compact, so the vibe at B&B is relaxed and jovial. More »

Garrison's Barbershop

Garrison's Barbershop

A great view over Trinity-Bellwoods Park and a patio - how many barbershops can boast that? On a nice day, Garrison's is a hangout and a barbershop, with staff who take care with the fine points of grooming especially if you have sensitive skin that turns red at the sight of a straight razor. More »

Hollow Ground Barber Shop

Hollow Ground Barber Shop

Beejay Diona and his partner set up their barber pole in the gray area between Koreatown and Bloordale just over two years ago, with a retro-themed shop with plenty of room for more chairs. They immediately pulled in a crowd of local regulars, so it would be wise to find a seat well before closing time, especially on the weekend. More »

Onyx Barbers

Onyx Barbers

A cut at this downtown barbershop can be a boisterous experience, with a lot of sarcastic smack talk between the cutters egged on by regulars. Specializing in black men’s hair, their barbers do the whole – and increasingly complex – menu of fades and hair sculpts. Their blog is also worth checking out – a candid and often hilarious running commentary on subjects from dressing well to “Is Monogamy Possible?” More »

Hastings Barber Shop

Hastings Barber Shop

This Leslieville barbershop has deer heads mounted on the wall, vintage Playboys to read while you wait, and an easy command of both traditional haircutting and more contemporary looks. More »

Original Grooming Experts

Original Grooming Experts

This big, bright shop just opened two doors away from owner Jason Culala's old shop, Mankind, and on the same stretch of Richmond as Aristotelis, one of the city's pillar's of old-fashioned barbering. That takes some confidence, and Culala has it in spades, offering spa-quality services for men who regard a cut and a shave as both grooming and therapy - check out their "Hangover Treatment." More »

Little London

Little London

In a tiny storefront in the old East End, this shop cuts hair for both men and women in an updates space to a beat-heavy soundtrack. Owner Nigel is in fact British-born and trained, and prices are reasonable, with a regular men's cut for just $16, kids for $14 and seniors for $11 - a nice nod to the old east enders living nearby. More »

Terminal Barbershop

Terminal Barbershop

Located in the oldest continuously-run barbershop space in the city, this clubby, baroque barbers next to the downtown bus terminal got a bit more notoriety than it wanted a year or so ago when they were hauled in front of a human rights tribunal for refusing to cut a woman's hair. It didn't hurt business, since they have a second shop just around the corner on Dundas to deal with the overflow. More »

Proper Barbers

Proper Barbers

Located at the back of a Queen West boutique, this urban-oriented shop is geared to the skater and hip-hop crowd, and offers cuts but no shaves, starting at ten bucks for a line up, $25 for a cut and full services for $40. A great place to get into a passionate discussion about your favourite new album. More »

I Barbieri

I Barbieri

North on Bathurst in Little Israel, Anthony Del Maestro's shop opened to a great response from the local Orthodox community, who couldn't be more particular about what they want in a cut. Del Maestro glories in that sort of precision, even going the extra mile to deal with ear and nose hair, and offering one of the most painstaking straight razor shaves in the city. More »

Prince Cut Kings

Prince Cut Kings

Sharing space with a tattoo parlour on the Danforth, Justin Picones' single-chair shop is urban but calm, and a great showcase for Picones' clean, neat barbering skills. Self-taught but very experienced, Picones set up two years ago after bouncing around a couple of other east end shops, and he values his local regulars, which have included rapper Drake. More »

Discussion

67 Comments

I'll take the short-long cut / October 23, 2013 at 02:58 pm
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Great list. Can't complain about most of the places on the list (at lest the ones I have visited). I used to love Blood and Bandages but the attitude from the barbers had gotten intolerable the last few times I got a cut. Thankfully I discovered the Crow's Nest where they guys are always down to earth and keep me looking good for city life. Good to see them at #1.
elizabeth / October 23, 2013 at 03:02 pm
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More like "best hipster barber shops in Toronto".

Also, do we really say "Little Israel"?
Mozel! replying to a comment from elizabeth / October 23, 2013 at 03:11 pm
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As a card carrying Jew.....yes we really do say that.

Im actually surprised it hasn't taken off.

Pretty funny when you think about.
David / October 23, 2013 at 03:15 pm
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Elizabeth is right - these aren't proper barber shops, they're hipster barbershops. The best barber shop in the city is Roma in the Beach, you can get a hair cut, the closest shave in the city, and a 5 minute shoulder massage for under $25 (haircut + massage is $13 if that's all you need). Best haircuts I've ever had, and oh ya, the shop is just one man. He works 6 days a week cutting hair and provides one of the only true barber shops in the city.

http://www.yelp.ca/biz/roma-toronto

Tonys / October 23, 2013 at 03:21 pm
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Tonys Barber Shop on Queen East at Parliament.

Ralph runs it now. The who's who of Toronto's sports media goes here. Not to mention many others.

$25.
Berry / October 23, 2013 at 03:27 pm
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George's on Queen East near Broadview.
Jayajay / October 23, 2013 at 03:30 pm
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Onyx is the worst barbershop ever. They overcharge if you l
Tom / October 23, 2013 at 03:33 pm
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Any suggestions for someone who is looking for advice on a new hair style?
Jai / October 23, 2013 at 03:48 pm
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Jason Culala at OGX for mayor. Ash Costa for ninja.
Davy replying to a comment from David / October 23, 2013 at 03:56 pm
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Pretty sure if you read the preface, the list leaves out these long-standing 'traditional barbershops' like the one mentioned.
Shane / October 23, 2013 at 04:00 pm
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Crow's nest is douchbag central in Kensington. Staff more than customers.
tuonea / October 23, 2013 at 04:52 pm
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Most of these barbers are for the homeless or the red-neck type
jameson / October 23, 2013 at 06:34 pm
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Crowsnest is alright if you get the right guy. I find it to be too hit or miss. Terminal is good is you want short hair, but they can't do anything else. Hollow Ground is great if you've got 3 hours to kill.

Graeme Quinn / October 23, 2013 at 06:57 pm
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Good luck at ever getting an appointment at Crowsnest again. Oh well, it is a good place to get a hair cut.
Jack / October 23, 2013 at 07:14 pm
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If some enterprising chap with a modicum of talent were to open a reasonably priced place at Yong & Eg,that stays open until 7pm, he'd make a killing. Right now, you're either going pricey upscale at Mankind or old school Italian guys on Mt Pleasant on the verge of retirement with hit or miss cuts.
Rudy / October 23, 2013 at 07:28 pm
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Proper was late on appointment time, barber smelled like weed, pretty unprofessional.
Henry / October 23, 2013 at 07:45 pm
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There's a tiny shop on the northwest corner of Bloor & Dundas run by an old, grumpy dude from Iraq. He'll bark a few questions, shove you into the chair and when it's over, you'll have the best haircut of your life for $15. You get the feeling he's been cutting mens' hair for 500 years. It's always perfect and dirt cheap. I also love his shitty attitude.
Greg / October 23, 2013 at 08:30 pm
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Chris Hammell is one of the best guys you could ever meet and is awesome. He's going out on his own at Town Barber now that hes not at Crows Nest. Check him out at town barber.ca
Brad / October 23, 2013 at 08:46 pm
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I'm not sure how Gus the Other Barber doesn't get on this list. It's an institution for a good reason. Professional, old school, great conversation (footie/soccer especially) if you want, silence if not, up to you. All the barbers are consistently sharp, hot foam/towel straight blade and all the good stuff.
Terry / October 23, 2013 at 09:37 pm
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Hollow ground has a list...but no order to the list.
Th average wait is 3 hours.
Best cut in the city...but 3 hours...
Wouldn't be so bad but most guys are on their phones the whole time
I think there is a microcosm or metaphor of Toronto in there somewhere
Nothing / October 23, 2013 at 09:47 pm
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Throwing in an old time barbers chair, doesn't make it a barbershop.

These are salons.
Anonymous / October 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm
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In & Out.. No line ups.. Appoitment only.. Good convo. No crying misbehaving children and a television + magazines for your entertainment. The Forum Barber Parlor Yonge/Finch.. Stay Organic for $25. Peace!
lol / October 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm
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I got one of the worst cuts ever from Blood and Bandages..... Seriously started laughing when she was done. There is a place in chinatown along dundas where you walk up a couple steps then enter to the left. The guy is always wearing a white apron coat, I think his name is Henry the address is 580 DUNDAS STREET WEST, he is AWESOME...

OH YA IT ONLY COSTS 6 DOLLARS BUT I LEAVE A HUGE TIP!
Les poseurs les pew / October 24, 2013 at 03:20 am
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There's a reason the old school places smelled and looked like they did. Because they were for men. Not rosewater smelling hipsters with floods, pointy shoes and a moustache from 1843 that matches the handlebars on their fixie. Man up and go to a real barber shop.
Ruckus Jay / October 24, 2013 at 04:09 am
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I enjoy getting my hair cut and i have learned over time ...
Proper barbers is amazing , i actually feel comfortable and at home < no lies
take a day off if you plan on getting a cut at onyx , maddddd slow and the fkup my line up ...camon son!!!
crows nest is the " cool " spot but lets bereal ... thanks for being expensive and not making me feel comfortable
Tex / October 24, 2013 at 04:48 am
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Looking for a Mississauga Barber that specializes (Great at) beard shaping and trimming. New to area so any help much appreciated.
Scott / October 24, 2013 at 10:54 am
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I love the old Italian dudes at the Men's Salon in the basement of the Royal York. It's located very conveniently if you work downtown. For $26 and they treat you right with a hot towel, straight razor edging, and a shoulder massage with that vibrating glove.
Guy / October 24, 2013 at 11:35 am
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Funny that the people complaining about these places being for 'hipsters' are the real definition of a hipster, suggesting that everyone visit 'real' barbershops, because these ones aren't 'genuine.' Give me a break, they're places to get your hair cut.
Chris replying to a comment from David / October 24, 2013 at 11:46 am
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So when a younger guy seeks to emulate the "old school" style you're so fond of, that diminishes the place as a "hipster" joint? These so-called hipster barbers are the only ones pushing to bring back the old school feel and barbering skills you're so fond of, as those old school barbershops are dying off because the old school guys are retiring and not being replaced. Sure, its nice to get a $6 dollar haircut from the old dudes down the street, but do you really think $6 haircuts are sustainable nowadays, or that the "old dudes" are gonna cut hair forever?

You'd do well to check your biases at the door, because without those hipsters barbershops you're so dismissive of, in a few years you'll only be able to cut your hair at Supercuts.

Just something to think about.

Besides, just because the guy is a hipster, doesn't mean he's not a good barber, and that's really what the list is about, isn't it?
CL replying to a comment from Guy / October 24, 2013 at 11:51 am
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point is no place should cost more than $25 for a mens cut and shave, etc.

like you said, "they're places to get your hair cut". not to cut into your wallet, as they do they exact same thing as a real barber does.

Where does the extra $20+ come from?
sezme / October 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm
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I swear by John's Barber Shop. He's an older Greek guy who's been in what is now Koreatown (Bloor east of Christie) since the 70's. Still with the original decor. You can't beat the price ($15 w/tip), and the cut is perfect every time.
Gary / October 25, 2013 at 08:52 am
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Completely agree with Greg - go see Chris Hammell at Town Barber.
Support his new venture @townbarber currently operating in the Skate4Cancer pop up shop at 1101 Queen West in Toronto until his full time permanent location is complete.
Adam P. / October 26, 2013 at 10:04 am
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Good choice! Really useful list of the best barbershops in the city. Can´t complain about any of them. Each shop has it´s own specific atmosphere which makes it special. I´d say my favorites are Hastings Barbershop or Garrison´s Barbershop.
Ron / October 26, 2013 at 06:38 pm
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I found a great place just north of Bloor and Ossington right across the subway (called "Ossington Barber Shop). For $10 you get a great professional cut. It's a one man show and normally I wait less than 10 minutes. He also works 6 days a week from 09:00-08:30 which is convenient.
If you're looking for a cheap, simple cut then definitely check this place out!
jameson / October 27, 2013 at 06:20 pm
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Is paying more than $25 an hour for a cut really that bad?

Let's see, a cut pretty much takes half an hour. Two cuts in an hour, two 15-minute breaks a day with a half hour lunch, work an 8-hour shift, that's about at best, 14 cuts a day. And I would also assume that 14 cuts a day would eventually give a barber carpal tunnel syndrome. So let's assume 12 cuts a day.

If you pay 15 bucks, that's about $180 bucks, or about $22.5/hour in profit. Let's assume 65% profit margin, he's only making 14 bucks an hour. 14 dollars an hour for a skill that takes years to develop!

Let's say you pay $25, the barber is makin $24/hour. That's an actual living wage, but that barber is still working his ass for you. So please you cheap skates, don't complain about these so called "expensive" places.
DVS / October 27, 2013 at 09:42 pm
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Proper Barbers are the best for sure. All the guys are down to earth and not pretentious at all. they spend the time to give you exactly what you ask for. definitely recommend them.
August / October 28, 2013 at 11:34 pm
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Try Pat's Barber shop in the basement on Dundas across from the AGO. One man show. $20. Wk days only.
John / October 29, 2013 at 09:19 pm
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Best barber's in the city work at mikes mens hair styling at rogers and caledonia. They're legends in the area, mike and ralph have been cutting my hair my entire life. Ralph does my hair perfectly, and cleans up my beard for free. Always cleans up your neck line with the straight razor, for $16 can't be beat.

Also another note about mikes, all the barbers that work there are retired, they're cutting hair because they love to do it, and love to hang out with eachother. Great place.
Frankies / October 31, 2013 at 04:10 pm
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For me my best hair dresses is Tony @ The Merchandise Salon & Spa at 135 Dalhousie St (church/dundas). Perfect location in the old Sears & Simpons Warehouse lofts. The prices are great specially for downtown, and there is a junior stylist that does 10$ men haircut and 25$ women. Of course with the senior stylist it'll cost more, but even with the junior stylist -i never tried- the reviews on Yelp are fantastic: http://www.yelp.ca/biz/the-merchandise-building-salon-and-spa-toronto Hope this will help.
Fahad Asghar / November 2, 2013 at 10:08 am
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michael / November 3, 2013 at 03:53 pm
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horrible list. how did you guys take out a high end barber shop like true fit and hill off the list. looks like your going to have to upgrade the list next year and make sure u do ur research before u upload a bunch of random shops and claim there good. nyc, chicago, la and all the other big cities have a handful of amazing shops. im not complaining and hating on any of these shops and i dont think there good in any particular order, but i recommend u to do ur research and do a real list when you do it. theres amazing walk in barber shops like ernies barbershop or crows nest. theres high end shops like true fit and hill. then theres amazing barbers who dont even have there own shop that i think should be mentioned on this list because of there professionalism like prince, claudio ferreira or jessie simmons who are all young talented barbers i go on instagram and u can check out there work its phenomenal but they go by appointment bases. then theres even drakes personal barber jason known as jmac how the hell isnt he on this list. yes he doesnt have a barbershop but hes prolly known all over toronto for being the only barber to cut drake for the last 8 years. do your research before you guys make these lists please.. i hope next year when you guys do this list u contact abunch of barbers and get there say in it. and go to a bunch of barbers not just barbershops sometimes shops can look amazing yet the haircuts are average. im disappointed in this list. funny thing is i used to go to random shops and experienced this myself. and barbering all clients should stick to 1 barber only. so before u recommend people to go somewhere make sure you do a legit list. this list looks like its paid for!
Raj / November 4, 2013 at 08:59 pm
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I BARBIERI is AMAZING!! Actually is the owner that makes it that and only that! When you walk in, he knows your name if you are a repeat client. He has a detailed electronic file of your last visit. He offers you an espresso as you walk into his shop, which he considers your comfort zone. Then, he designs your hair to your specifications for ONLY $18 bucks! BTW, the espresso is on him. In today's market, this is unbelievable! NO attitude, only hospitable service. Must visit!!
Ando / November 7, 2013 at 01:18 pm
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Just wanted to thank Raj for the great comments you've written here, and I'd like to thank those who have given me the opportunity to service their barbering needs. Much appreciated!!!
abrar replying to a comment from I'll take the short-long cut / November 9, 2013 at 12:13 am
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i am very good hair cutter
Yuneed2no? replying to a comment from michael / November 12, 2013 at 08:12 pm
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Uhm, let's see... I don't believe this said best barbers in Toronto, did it? Wtf man, u blind? It clearly says best barber SHOPS in toronto... Sophia instead of going all up in 'em like "Do your research, I'm disappointed, blah blah blah", try reading the fucking title...
Junior / November 17, 2013 at 07:35 pm
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Check out THE MAD ONE BARBERSHOP! They have numerous barbers that battle at competitions all around North America. Jay the Barber was awarded Best Barber of Toronto 2013.

www.themadonebarbershop.com

location 1: 256a Queen St. West (Downtown Toronto)
location 2: 6550 Steeles Ave. East (Markham/Scarborough)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSkwAJgNfVM
joeyp / November 18, 2013 at 05:53 pm
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I dont understand how Truefitt & Hill is not on here!! im shocked to be honest! Truefitt & Hill is the top barbershop in the city
Eya replying to a comment from August / November 26, 2013 at 07:11 pm
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Pat's Barber Shop is truly the best. The barber's name is Sam, though. (Pat was his late father-in-law). Sam is excellent. Once when my husband was in the hospital and badly needed a haircut, but didn't trust any other barber, Sam came over to the hospital (on University) and cut his hair right there and then.
TRUTH / November 28, 2013 at 11:21 am
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MAD ONE BARBERSHOP !!!!!!! their not even on the list, THIS LIST IS BULLSHXT!
dat kush / November 28, 2013 at 09:59 pm
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THE MAD ONE!!! Best in Tha city!
kirk swerve / November 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm
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where's Mad-One Barbershop? The get laid fade is famous...
Bobby / December 3, 2013 at 03:37 pm
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I am looking for a qualified/experienced barber who is interested in opening up shop at Remington's Downtown Markham, 250 mixed-use development. Markham is the fast growing community in the GTA, the 4th largest concentration of commercial/office space in Canada and considered Canada's high tech capital....that's alot of heads to cut and faces to shave. Please contact me for more information.
jimbeam replying to a comment from lol / December 6, 2013 at 08:50 am
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Thanks, Henry.
Salon_Toronto / December 9, 2013 at 09:16 am
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For me in downtown Toronto the best hair salon is The Merchandise Building Salon, www.merchansidesalon.com a private salon from 1999 that has a unique location in the old Sears-Simpsons warehouse. Tony is very good and since you don't really see the salon from the street all his business is word of mouth, I don't see any ads anywhere. Beside his great work what makes this salon so special is the service, they offer you a cappuccino o coffee, some cookies even if you choose the junior stylist, a head massage when they wash your hair and the atmosphere is great. It is never crowded and he never books you with more than 1 person to have a fantabulous experience. I hope my review is gonna be useful for somebody.
Jason / December 9, 2013 at 10:13 am
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Sorry Blog TO but the best barber shops in this city DO NOT have websites or fancy names. They are owned and operated by older gentlemen with strong accents. They are places where you pay cash only and are usually just right around the corner.
Jahangir / December 9, 2013 at 11:55 am
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Are you interested in barber scissors? please let me know.

Jahangir.
sadly replying to a comment from joeyp / December 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm
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sadly T&H is closed and will be a starbucks.

William / December 18, 2013 at 02:05 pm
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Pops from Onyx smells like mouldy laundry and my hairline was way off.
Joe / January 6, 2014 at 05:47 pm
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My beard is completely white and I'd like to have someone dye it salt and pepper. Does anyone know of a barber or hairdresser who does this?

UpAndComing / January 17, 2014 at 02:30 am
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Instagram @justin_upgrade best up and coming and is opening up shop downtown.
mark / January 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm
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Blood and bandages was there on Friday, great cut with Mattia defy coming back to this hidden gem
mike / February 22, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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Thanks for the list of places to try out. Re Crow's Nest in Kensington, i made it two feet into the front door but had to turn back due to the stench of clothing perfume. They share space with a used clothing shop and all the clothes are scented, a terrible working environment for staff.

One that deserves to be on the list is Corrado's at 162 Bathurst.
Ivan hair salon Toronto review / February 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm
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I don't think this list says it all, as somebody else mention before I really like The Merchandise Building Salon, is on church/dundas, behind ryerson I think the address is 135 Dalhousie st. I've attached the website anyway. Tony is a fantastic hair stylist and the advanced stylist Maureen (I think I've spelled it right?!) is very nice and good too. Plus the service that they offer is 5 star with a price that for downtown Toronto is nothing. It should definitely be on the list.
eric / April 1, 2014 at 08:44 am
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Best placed to get a cut, Mattia is amazing and place is awesome
eric / April 1, 2014 at 05:25 pm
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@bloodandbandages was the place
Alex / April 12, 2014 at 03:03 pm
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The best barber by far is the the man pictured above with the red chair...Anthony of I barbieri. Not only does he have awesome cutting skills but he is a testament to the positive attitude a barber should have. Many barbers have attitudes...Anthony is a humble kind man that will change your mind about the way a barber should operate! Great shop, great cut, great attitude! I didn't express this to Anthony but I have low self esteem with regards to my skin and hair colour and I have not been "accepted" by others mentioned above. After a great chat and an even better cut...I feel better about myself. The man is a true artist and he takes great pride in his work...the biggest mistake you could make is to not go see him...do yourself a favour and go see him

Disclosure -don't know the man personally or previously
Lou Moore / April 22, 2014 at 03:07 pm
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Can anyone recommend a shop that specializes in men's beards and moustaches? In particular to the north...I am a resident of Aurora, Ontario

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