Terminal Barber Shop - Review by Sean Gibson

"A Cut Above The Rest!"

For the hard core barber enthusiast, the Terminal Barber Shop is for you. We have hands down voted this barber shop as "Canada's Best Barber Shop". Undisputedly, this shop encompasses everything that embodies the barbering trade. Esthetically-pleasing, ambiance, customer service, and skill wise; these guys are a force to be reckoned with. As a teen I would dream of having the ultimate shop one day. Several weeks ago, I walked into the barber shop of my dreams; The Terminal Barber Shop. Located in downtown Toronto, this local shop sometimes goes unnoticed because of all the hustle and bustle of the big city.

When you open the door and walk into this oasis of tranquility and serenity it's like taking a time machine back to the 1800's. The only modern device in the shop that gives away the era is the television. The chairs are antique, the capes, cash register, stations, you name it; even the music is on a classic station to set that mood. "Karim" has left out no detail in his recreation of an authentic Victorian Barber Shop.

Karim Saaden is the Principle barber and proprietor of the Terminal Barber Shop. Omar Mahrouk is his partner who works closely to assure business is run effectively. Karim is originally from North Africa, born and raised in Algeria. Karim owned and operated his own shop back home where he honed his skills and trade for 20 plus years. The Terminal Barber Shop was established in 1925 and is one of the oldest standing barber shops in Toronto. However, since Karim has taken over just a little more than a year ago he has renovated, rebuilt and reinvented "Canada's Best Barber Shop". As a tradesman myself, I was in awe as to the attention to detail.

Karim was inspired to create this Victorian-styled shop after working along side the Official Barbers in the British Family, from St. James in London. Being exposed to royalty really shows in his work and his place of business. Every client feels like a king sitting in Barber Thrones from the 1800's. Clients range from doctors, lawyers, judges, university students to kids. Even tourists stop by when they're in Toronto. That's the beautiful thing about barber shops, once the barber dawns the cape, everyone's equal.

On this particular day in Omar's chair, Bryce is getting a trim during his lunch, a 12-year client of the shop. Bryce used to go to university in the area and till this day continues to patronize the shop. Bryce also works in the vacinity and enjoys the camaraderie and personalities of the barbers. On the far side of the shop several guys come in. These guys are in town for a conference and are in need of a hair cut. Directly from New Zealand, Eriata says "We don't have a shop like this in our country."

There is more to come from this new up and comer - he's young, motivated and inspired. This story definitely deserves an update in the near future. You truly are "A cut above the rest". Karim and Omar we salute you, it's not easy being the best. Congratulations and continue to hold that bar high so our trade continues to shine!

I questioned Karim, "Are you concerned about losing clients due to the changing face of the industry and trends? Not to mention, you have just switched over possession of the shop from the previous owners." Karim replies, "More men leave their wives rather than their barbers, I think we'll be just fine."

If we are mistaken and this is not Canada's Best Barber Shop, please contact us and we'll gladly make amendments. The Terminal Barber Shop was chosen because of the following: location, esthetics, professionalism, authenticity, public relationship, client versatility, barbering content, and the ability to preserve and promote the barbering trade. The Terminal Barber Shop is located at 594 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario.

Sean Gibson, Program Director
The Barber Centre, Hamilton, Ontario