Toronto barber plans to continue his High Park haircuts instead of working indoors
Hair salons and barbershops are officially able to reopen as Ontario enters step 2, but Tyler Lumb, dubbed the 'High Park barber,' has taken a liking to outdoor cuts so much, he doesn't think he'll be returning to a shop.
The previous owner of MPL Cuts on College Street has been cutting his clients' hair in High Park since August of last year after the pandemic shuttered his barbershop that focused on serving LGBTQ+ folks.
"I miss the shop a lot, it was everything that I dreamed of when I was becoming a barber, it was my dream come true," Lumb told blogTO. "But now I have some new dreams."
Even before the pandemic hit, the seven-year barber says he considered himself a bit of what he calls an "adventure barber."
"I've always liked to be more adventurous – not with the cuts, but with the location," he says. "When I was three years into barbering, I set up a little shop outside of my older sister's backyard at Dundas and Ossington and I've also cut hair in a jungle in Costa Rica."
These days Lumb can be found in a quiet, shady section on the north side of High Park six days out of the week, usually doing about six to 10 cuts a day.
Although his amount of cuts per month is nothing close to the near thousand he and his team of five barbers were pulling off at MPL, Lumb's happy with the way things are going and even prefers cutting outdoors.
"I find that people really enjoy being outdoors and listening to the birds instead of having chemical smells and listening to crappy music," he says. "People are going to be a little bit more cautious about going into enclosed places for a while, so it's also just added safety for myself and my clients."
Hair is also completely biodegradable so Lumb can rest easy knowing he's contributing to the ecosystem of the park.
With no plans to return to a physical shop, Lumb has already put in an order for a gazebo. He has plans to set it up in front of his house across the street from High Park, something that other barbers have also been doing around the city.
And next year, the High Park barber would like to go mobile, offering cuts all around Canada, announcing only in the morning where he'll be set up for the day.
"I want to be able to have a removable chair, so that way if it's nice outside, I can take the chair and set it up outside of the truck," Lumb says.
Wherever he goes, he plans on bringing the same inclusivity that became synonymous with MPL during its two-year run.
"I bring that kind of vibe to the park as well. It's just about customer service and personality," Lumb says. "And I still have my pride barber pole, it's here in my house with me until it goes on to its next adventure."
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