Toronto's Little Jamaica wants their barbershops back

More than just a barber shop…

A section of Toronto’s Eglinton Avenue West just west of the Allen Expressway makes for Hogtown’s Caribbean hub. There are Caribbean restaurants and grocery stores and clothing boutiques. And there are easily more than a dozen barber shops and hair salons within just a few blocks. But alas, these shops inexplicably remain in lockdown mode, even though one can get a haircut in the provinces located west of Ontario.

It doesn’t make sense: why can someone in Regina or Edmonton get a trim but not in Toronto?

It is especially sad along Eglinton Avenue. That’s because the barber shops here are far more than mere facilities where one goes to get a haircut. Indeed, these shops serve as unofficial community centres – gathering places to hang out and spin a few yarns and catch up on the local gossip. But Premier Doug Ford – the man who campaigned in 2018 with the slogan that this province was going to be “Open for business” – stubbornly won’t let the barber shops on Eglinton (or anywhere else in the province) reopen. I guess Ontarians aren’t mature enough. Indeed, God forbid a few of us are admitted into the province’s hair salons again… we might start licking the combs and scissors and spreading the Wuhan virus with impunity…

C’mon Doug. Let this trade reopen already. Especially on Eglinton Avenue West, where these shops have endured enough misery thanks to the road-destroying construction of an LRT line (and due to the fact that the LRT is a government-run project, it is massively over-budget and way past deadline… but that’s how we roll in Ontario, apparently.)