Kawartha Lakes Public Library - Digital Collections
Looking Back: Looking back

Hooper, John, Author
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Item Type:
Written: 29 December 2000
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.35012 Longitude: -78.73286
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Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rightsholder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Kawartha Lakes Public Library
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

190 Kent St W.
Lindsay, ON K9V 2Y6
(705) 324-5632

Full Text

Lindsay was never short of barbers and, as usual, some were more popular than others.

Don Jardine, a regular reader of Looking Back, asked if I remembered O'Neil and Patterson and several other Lindsay barbers.

As it happened, Fergus O'Neil and Edgar Patterson were partners located next door to Langdon's Butcher Shop, a door or two away from what used to be the New Royal Hotel.

Also located nearby was Ken Griffen, who owned the United Cigar Store and had rented a chair to Herb Hardy who eventually bought Griffen out.

Andy Brandon and Archie Baldwin were well known as was Russell Lamb and "Copic" Copeland who were at one time partners. Then there was "Mike" Stephens.

Just around the corner off Kent Street on the east side of William Street North was Frank Speer, and "Gartie" Russell had a shop next to the Academy Theatre where Hill's Academy Florist located some years later. How about Spence and Kelly? They are still in operation today.

Walter Richards located a shop on William Street south while Lionel Gervais had a chair along beside "Pat" Jakins in Williams Bros. Cigar Store. Jakins later purchased the old National Grocers warehouse on Cambridge Street which he converted into a barber shop and pool room.

I have been informed that a fellow by the name of Andy Russell, well known in town, along with Lionel Gervais, are in fact the only living barbers still with us from the old days we have mentioned, with the exception of Spence and Kelly of course.

As for the late Mike Stephens, how could I ever forget him? He was something else. I started patronizing Mike many years ago when he was located across from the Hotel Benson.

I well remember the first time I went to his shop and called him Mr. Stephens.

"Just call me Mike," he insisted.

I did find it difficult to do that, but every time I would use his surname he would say "Mike!"

He was quite witty and always had lots of time to chat about anything you wanted to talk about.

I recall one day getting my hair cut and his chatting away until I went to leave without paying him for my cut and his telling me about the polite way of reminding a customer if they had forgotten to pay him. All he would say was "Oh, did you forget your change?"

Mike told me his method had never failed him and he found it so much nicer than saying, "You haven't paid me for your haircut."

Another thing about Mike was if he spotted a blackhead on you he had to get rid of it! Never, however, before drawing it to your attention and getting you're okay to pop it out.

I went to his shop on the morning I was about to be married to get a cut, July 16, 1949. When I told him it was a big day for me, he went to a lot of extra fuss to give me an excellent cut.

When he finished, I reached into my pocket to pay him; he grabbed my hand and said, "No charge Jack, that's my wedding gift to you."

That was the kind of man Marshall "Mike" Stephens was.


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Looking Back: Looking back