With 48% of Toronto’s population being of the male gender, it’s not surprising that the city has a number of barber shops filled with well-trained and talented barbers. What qualifies these classic mens’ hubs to fall under the category of being the best? The combined years of experience their barbers hold and their ability to make a man feel at home in their well designed experience.
Our top picks for Toronto’s barbershops range from old school, no-frills, cut-and-shaves, to all-inclusive shops which master the task of keeping your skin fresh, your back loose and your shoes shined. Whether you want a truly classic experience, a modern shop, or a mix of the two, we’ve got you covered.
Blood and Bandages
This 5 year-old mini-shop is right at College and Dovercourt. Blood and Bandages is known for its long but well worth it waits on a busy day. Lacking an official Facebook page or Twitter account this exclusive shop is the kind of place caters to locals and those in the know. You truly need to go in to in order to experience it.
Side piece: With vintage art everywhere and taxidermy on the walls, be prepared to feel as thought someone is watching you while you get your hair cut – they are.
A Kensington Market stand-by, Crow’s Nest is often rammed, and for this reason, they take online bookings. They are one of the few shops that are open Monday through Sunday for all your cut/shave emergencies.
Special Appearances: Crow’s Nest often teams up with Sailor Jerry Rum for Toronto events offering limited cuts/shaves while participants sip a SJ cocktail. (Recently, Sailor Jerry has been offering free tattoos at said parties – keep your eye out for them, they’re often advertised on Facebook).
The Queen St. West destination, Garrison’s, offers a long list of barbers available, Monday through Saturday, with whom you can book online. Located across from Trinity Bellwoods Park, one can get his hair cut, a straight razor shave, or both. Offering gift cards, you can set up your dad, buddy or boyfriend with an old school man-xperience
Interesting fact: Garrison’s was featured in a documentary called “Guy Talk” which was shown at the Hot Docs theatre last week for the Seneca College Documentary Filmmaking Institute’s 2012 gala.
Gus the Other Barber
This Bloor West babershop has been around for as long as your dad can remember. Run by a couple of (European) football nuts, this is the place to go to for the most traditional experience (Gus has been a barber for over 50 years). Gus the other Barber gives you a true throwback experience.
Hungry?: Located right in the heart of Koreatown the shop is in the perfect spot for you to go and grab some lunch on a Saturday afternoon while you wait for one of their qualified staff to see you.
Located at Bloor and Havelock (near Dufferin), Hollow Ground is one the newest additions to Bloorcourt and just celebrated its one year anniversary a few months ago. As of yet, they do not take appointments, but we don’t mind as their professionalism and friendliness makes up for it.
Interesting fact: Owned by 2 cousins and their buddy, the shop has a set of chairs from the Winnipeg arena – so if you’re a Jets fan, this is definitely the place for you!
This “men’s club” is located in the flagship location of The Hudson’s Bay Company and boasts a sleek interior, full grooming services and memberships. For a monthly fee, members of John Allan’s have unlimited “Full Service” treatments (check out their site for details) and 10% off additional services.
Jet Setter Set-Up: With locations around NYC, one in Chicago and the newest in Toronto, men have the option to purchase a “universal membership”, so if you travel a lot for work, you’ll always be covered.
Little London Barbershop
This East end shop is home to owner Nigel and his associate Tino. With over 45 years combined you can bet the men at Little London have massive skill. One side note, keep in mind they’re closed Sunday and Monday before making the trip.
For the Girls: They also cut and style women’s hair, so be sure to join to bring the whole family down to get their hair done!
Mankind has two awesome locations: one at Richmond and Spadina, and one on Eglinton West. With a clean, modern set up (think big screen TVs and vintage looking chairs), watch the news and enjoy a coffee while you wait for one of their staff to help you out, whether you want a cut, a shave or one of their skincare treatments.
Ladies Rule: Mankind is likely the only shop in Toronto with more women working there than men.
The Men’s Salon
These pros are in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel and offer facials with a mud mask among their services. Open Monday through Saturday, always call to double check they have time for an appointment. On any given day at, The Men’s Salon, you might chat with a man who’s been going there since he was a kid, a tourist from Texas, or a member of the hotel’s staff.
Golden Age: Likely the oldest barbershop in Toronto, the staff at The Men’s Salon have been cutting hair since 1929.
Located right by the subway, Eaton Centre and Ryerson University this is the perfect location for a central-downtown man. Owned by 2 buddies who were cutting hair at the tender ages of 10 and 16, the staff at Onyx will cut your hair, give you a line up and/or etch wicked designs into your hair. They also do designs for women and offer a student discount.
Toonie Tuesday: Ok, so it’s not $2, but every Tuesday these guys offer $7 haircuts.
Tony’s Men’s Hair Styling
An up-town barbershop (they’re at 1649 Bayview Ave), this year marks their 53 years of business. It offers a mix of new decor with classic accessories, guaranteeing a special experience.
No Internet: Tony’s doesn’t have a website, facebook, twitter…you’ll have to kick it old school and whip out your phone if you want to call and make an appointment: 416.488.0226.
Truefitt & Hill
Think discretion and professionalism at Truefitt and Hill (the company has been around since 1805, and started off as two brother barbers to British Royalty). Both locations are located in Toronto’s financial district, and offer a wide variety of services beyond your typical cut and shave. This includes; massages, manicures, shoeshines… the list goes on. They also sell packages so you can get hooked up with some or all of the above.
Certified Fact: In 2000 the company won the Guinness World Record for being the oldest barbershop in the world.