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Longtime downtown Toronto barber shop destroyed by fire finds new home

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Destroyed downtown Toronto barber shop finds new home
WATCH ABOVE: A month after a fire ripped through a downtown Toronto institution, the staff of Corrado's Barbershop have found a new home. Caryn Lieberman has the story – Apr 9, 2019

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.

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“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.

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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

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