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For most guys, going four months without a cut isn’t normal. But then the last four months have been anything but normal. For Tony Sadiku and Andre Woodcock of Toronto’s Queen West Barbers, entering Phase 2 of Toronto’s reopening is a welcome relief. The pair missed the chance to celebrate their business’s two-year anniversary when they were forced to shut down, and plans to open a second shop in May were put on hold, though their bills weren’t – they have been paying rent for that second location since February.

Sadiku says they could not have hung on for much longer and are happy to be open again to see their clients. “We’re really close with the neighbourhood here; everyone feels like they’re part of the shop. My customers have all been really, really supportive.”

While the situation is still serious, it felt good to find a silver lining in documenting the experience of fellow Torontonians as they try to get back to some sense of normalcy. As for my own hair situation, I'm waiting another week to make sure I get my usual guy. I think I'll try something new this time though.

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BEFORE: Carlos Beltran, 43 and his son Leonardo, 3.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

AFTER: Carlos Beltran, 43 and his son Leonardo, 3.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Carlos Beltran, 43, and his son Leonardo, 3

“Such a simple thing is not so simple any more. Like a lot of things, I guess. Now it feels like a luxury to get your hair cut. It feels like something we should value more, as we were prevented from such simple activities for months. It’s going to be a surprise for my wife – she doesn’t know what we’re up to – but I knew getting a haircut was the first thing I wanted to do with my son.”


BEFORE: Alex Him, 29.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

AFTER: Alex Him, 29.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Alex Him, 29

“I feel sexy again! Fresh! My last cut was four months ago because of COVID. I’m glad barbershops are open again, it’s important for my self-esteem, especially after the lockdown, I feel confident again. I don’t have my summer ‘bod but I got this cut so it feels good!”


BEFORE: Abbas Hussain, 46.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

AFTER: Abbas Hussain, 46.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Abbas Hussain, 46

“It feels really nice to finally clean myself up a bit. I felt a little nervous coming in, but the shop felt safe, clean, and professional. I’m happy I waited for the three months and didn’t get an ‘underground’ cut or anything like that. I felt we were doing so well as a city to get through this so that didn’t feel right. I’m glad I waited.”


BEFORE: Guillermo Mansilla, 36.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

AFTER: Guillermo Mansilla, 36.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Guillermo Mansilla, 36

“This just felt like something that I had to do. Like a chore that I’ve put off that just had to get done. I didn’t really try anything new with it, I just let it grow and grow and had some fun comparing my hair to the prime minister’s. When I saw he got a cut, I knew it was time! The lockdown really showed me how patient I can be. I could see the anxiety all around me but with my wife and I, I feel like we held our ground and managed the situation, which was important, especially with a two-year-old son at home.”


BEFORE: Ayité Atiwoto, 22.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

AFTER: Ayité Atiwoto, 22.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Ayité Atiwoto, 22

“I live with a bunch of guys, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I just left it alone and let it grow out. It wasn’t really too hard to deal with. A haircut isn’t something to worry too much about during a pandemic, but it’s good things are opening. Maybe with this cut I can get a date next week!”


BEFORE: Abel Dejene, 27.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

AFTER: Abel Dejene, 27.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Abel Dejene, 27

“With the pandemic going on and quarantine, you know, you just gotta stay home. Now that things are opening up, I’m happier. My hair wasn’t too difficult to deal with – I just let it grow out a bit and go all curly. Now the barbershops are open and, with all the safety measures, the cleaning and sanitizing, everyone’s wearing a mask, it’s all right. I didn’t really feel nervous about coming to the shop. I’m happy I did.”


BEFORE: Emilio Salvador, 19.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

AFTER: Emilio Salvador, 19.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Emilio Salvador, 19

“I feel fresh. I feel clean. Like I’m taking care of myself again. I didn’t really need to do anything too different, maybe a bit more product to keep it under control and just stuffed it all under a cap – always a cap! I wasn’t too worried about it because I wasn’t really seeing anyone. Now I’m heading to a patio to grab some beers, feeling fresh.”

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BEFORE: Nicholas Mc Farlane, 29.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

AFTER: Nicholas Mc Farlane, 29.

Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Nicholas Mc Farlane, 29

“It feels so good! Really needed a fresh, dramatic new look to bring in this new normal we’re living, bring in a new appreciation of things we took for granted. I’m a bit nervous about what comes next, but I trust we are better for it and better together. I’m actually from Vancouver. I moved here right before the shutdown, so this is my new home now, and I love it even more. This is my dream city, and at least I got to explore it a bit. I felt like I had it all to myself!”













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