Longtime downtown Toronto barber shop destroyed by fire finds new home
Amid the typical barber shop sounds of razors buzzing and scissors clipping, bits of conversation can be heard.
“It was devastating … a five-alarm fire,” said stylist Ken to his client about a blaze in early March that destroyed Corrado’s Barbershop on Bathurst Sreet.
The shop was a fixture in the Queen West neighbourhood for more than 60 years, but the building’s owner Andre Picard said it is a write off. He lived next door and lost his home in the fire.
“It’s quite a shame to see the sign damaged I was a big fan of that sign,” Picard said as he walked past the building.
After the fire, he searched for a new home for his staff of stylists. Despite all that was lost, he said he felt responsible to find a new home for his team.
“So many people stepped up and gave a lot of support to my wife and I and our staff here and it was very helpful,” he said.
One of those people was Gene Hughes, owner of The Denizen just a few blocks east of Corrado’s on Queen Street West.
“Our place was pretty free, you know, we had lots of room,” Hughes said while cutting a client’s hair.
“It’s not competition, it’s family really — just people doing their work. This is a really nice space that was a little under used.”
The chairs are full now, much to Adam Picard’s relief.
“I was in survival mode so I was just really desperately looking for somewhere to end up and I needed my people who worked there to get somewhere to work,” he said.
Picard also got a financial boost from the Queen West community thanks to local artist Charles Bierk.
“My brothers are I woke up to the terrible news about Adam and his family … we saw the images of the barber shop and knew that he lived next door and we were really devastated,” said Bierk who started a GoFundMe campaign which has raised more than $18,000 so far.
Back outside Corrado’s and his former home, Picard looked thoughtfully at the damage.
“Considering this was the second oldest barber shop in Toronto I wanted to keep it going,” he said, noting it will operate under a different name