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Why I Love Toronto

Bellwoods Barbers

Until recently I had been getting my haircut at my local Etobicoke strip mall. I could never really commit to just one salon and I would just go to the place that had the shortest wait time. A few months ago my dad came home with a new haircut that he wasn’t happy with. Now my dad has been going to the same barber since he was a child and it was the same barber my grandfather and great-grandfather attended when they first came to Canada. My dad loved going to his barber because he knew exactly the type of haircut he wanted, he knew all the other regulars and he always felt that the barber was a friend he hadn’t seen in a while and every time he was in the barber’s chair it was like catching up. Now sadly his barber became ill and it was time for him to retire. It was then I realized I wanted to have a barber customer relationship just like my father.    

I have never been a big talker, but ever since I got a job in publicity I had to learn to be more open. As a result I started going to networking events and to bars a bit earlier than my friends so that I could talk to strangers. The reason I had originally went to various salons was because they would always ask basic questions and not get too personal. They were people I would only see once and probably never again – a one haircut stand. Plus my lack of commitment may have also been a problem.

Anyways I decided it was time to become a “regular” and  go to a local barber shop and find myself a barber that I would visit every four months. I tried various barber shops in the city until I found one that I saw myself attending more than once. That barber shop was Bellwoods Barbers.

Located across from Trinity Bellwoods Park on Dundas, this establishment has only been open for less than a year, but is already pretty popular – I have to at least book a week in advance to get the barber I like.

I love everything about the barber shop. The décor is great with exposed brick, dark wood floor, tin ceilings and four of the most comfortable barber chairs I have ever sat on while getting my haircut. I also like how there are only four chairs and how close in proximity they are to each other. I love this set up because it allows for multiple conversations. You can talk to your barber, talk to the client next to you and even those waiting.

I will admit that I have never been happy with a haircut in my life, until I came here. The first haircut I got here was so popular with my family, friends and coworkers you would think I had accidently gotten a mullet again. The atmosphere is great and the shop does a great job making you feel like you are part of a community. Even though I have only been there twice and my barber is still getting to know me, I feel like that the next time I go I will officially be part of the Bellwoods Barbers community.    

To the men in Toronto, I urge you go find yourself a local barber. I feel like every man should have a local barbershop to go to when they need a haircut – I know that is a very old school thing to say, but may be doing something traditional isn’t such a bad thing. Plus if there is one thing I have learned from the barbers at Bellwoods it is that they are really passionate about what they do. It’s not just a job to them, but their passion which I find really refreshing.

That is Why I Love Toronto  

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Grand Salon from the Hôtel de Tessé, Paris

c.1768-1772 with later additions

The salon is the assembly room, used for festive occasions. It is here that the greatest formality prevails; in this room, magnificence must unfold; wealth must be lavished; and the Artist must deploy his taste and his genius. Marbles, bronzes, gilding, sculpture, painting, and glasses will come to his aid; tapestries, which we have raised to such a degree of beauty, may enrich the effect. Rock crystal for the lusters, girandoles, and candelabra; precious statues; the richest of vases; the rarest of porcelains; all may combine to improve the room.— Nicolas Le Camus de Mézières, Le Génie de l’architecture Following a disastrous fire, the residence at 1, quai Voltaire, was rebuilt between 1765 and 1768 at the behest of the widowed Marie-Charlotte de Béthune-Charost, comtesse de Tessé (1713–1783), and her son René Mans de Froulay (1736–1814), who had acquired the ruined building on the condition that a new mansion would be constructed. Although contemporary guidebooks credit the designs to the architect Pierre-Noël Rousset (1715–1793), it appears that the architect-contractor Louis Le Tellier (ca. 1700–1785) was primarily responsible for the creation of this Paris house with its dignified facade, still standing today on the left bank of the Seine, near the Pont du Carrousel. Since the accounts were not settled until April of 1772, it is likely that the interior decoration was not completed before then. The Museum’s paneling with its refined carving in the Neoclassical style was the work of woodworker Nicolas Huyot, a maître menuisier about whom little is known.

The carving was done by the sculptor Pierre Fixon or his son Louis-Pierre, or perhaps the two in collaboration. The Fixons may also have created the plaster overdoor reliefs representative of the four seasons. The marble sculptor Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Le Franc, who like the Fixons had worked with Le Tellier on various other projects, was responsible for the blue turquin marble mantelpiece, which is original to the room. The paneling acquired by the Museum decorated the largest of the formal reception rooms that were aligned, or laid out en enfilade, on the first floor of the building ( the American second floor). Particularly beautiful are the coffered triumphal arches executed in perspective that frame the four mirrors and are crowned by laurel branches and floral wreaths. The 1783 inventory drawn up after the death of the comtesse de Tessé indicates that this room was called the Salle du Dais (Canopy Room) after the large tester or canopy that must have been mounted on the wall opposite the windows. Underneath this crimson damask tent, which was enriched with gold embroidered appliqués of the Tessé family coat of arms, the comtesse or her son presumably received their guests. Although not of royal birth, Madame de Tessé was the widow of René Mans de Froulay (1707–1742), comte de Tessé and marquis de Laverdin, as well as a Spanish grandee. In addition to a sixleaf folding chamber screen, the room was furnished with twenty-nine chairs all covered with different crimson fabrics, a small veneered bookcase, and a gilt-bronze cartel clock with movement by Voisin. Several family portraits and two tapestries of landscape scenes were hung on the side walls. The 1783 inventory of the hôtel did not list any curtains in the room; perhaps none were hung, in order not to obscure the lovely view from the three large windows of the Seine and the Louvre and Tuileries palaces across the water. (MET)

MET

My homegirl, Caitlin Doughty, is always there when I wanna talk about the public crypts of Italy, incorrupt saints or yak about transi tombs.

But in real life she’s a licensed, practicing mortician. She doesn’t just ruminate on death in art and history; she has a more immediate agenda. She envisions a wold where death isn’t taboo. Where it’s not considered morbid or weird to think about something that will happen to every single one of us. Her vision is a new-old way of death, where caring for our loved ones’ bodies also means caring for the grieving and caring for the planet we share.

I can’t recommend her book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons from the Crematory, enough. It’s funny, fascinating, and will make you reconsider the way we deal with death- culturally and personally. 

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