Don the Barber: the man behind the chair for 58 Years

Don the Barber: the man behind the chair for 58 Years
Don Smith

By Sheila Phibbs

The Haldimand Press

CALEDONIA—When it comes to downtown Caledonia, there are certain things that come to mind: the bridge, Jones Bakery, The Oasis, and Don’s Barber Shop. Don Smith, the man behind the name, and the chair, has been taking care of business, one snip at a time, for almost 60 years.

Don recalls it all started because he was “looking for a job because there was a girl I wanted to marry.” He took a year-long course in downtown Toronto, then had the opportunity to purchase the barber shop that had been owned by Gordon Pattison from 1913 to 1958 and then Harry Jarvis. It was December 3, 1960 when Don started behind that chair and he jokes, “I haven’t got a promotion yet.”

Reflecting on his nearly six decades in business, Don says, “It’s something to do; you feel needed. I enjoy going to work. I meet a lot of nice people.” From his spot on Argyle St. he has seen and heard of a lot of change as the population of Caledonia has grown from around 2,000 in the 60s to approximately 10,000 today. Don admits, “When you work where I am, you hear rumours all the time.” His wife, Jean, laughs as she says, “That’s why he’s still there!”

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