Meet Inglewood’s Master Barber
Dan Winsa, a licensed barber since 1962, operates the little barbershop located inside Inglewood’s gun shop.
Photography by Jared Sych
Walk east along 9th Avenue S.E. long enough and you’ll eventually stumble upon Proline Shooters Inc., a firearms store with a barbershop tucked away in a corner. Men looking to update their gun licence can get a crewcut from septuagenarian barber Dan Winsa while they wait. The barbershop has just one red chair from 1930 right in its centre and a calendar on the wall from 1933. With a vintage desk filled with various barber tools – including a 52-year-old pair of scissors – stepping inside feels like travelling back in time.
When Winsa was a boy, going to the barber was one of his favourite experiences. “I was brought up on military bases and I used to go to the barber in Dartmouth, N.S., every Friday night with my father,” says Winsa. It became a fun weekly ritual, with the added bonus that the barber would always give him a peppermint afterward. By the time he finished high school, he knew he wanted to be a barber, too.
As a teen, Winsa moved to Moncton, N.B., to attend the Trans-Canada Barber School, which was the biggest barber school in eastern Canada. “At that time, you had to do 1,400 hours in school to be a barber,” says Winsa. He became a licensed barber in 1962.
Over the years, Winsa has cut the hair of famous hockey players and football players, and he has worked on wigs and designed hairlines for doctors performing hair transplants.
After moving to Calgary in 1974, Winsa worked all over the city including in Southcentre, Chinook Centre and his own place on 17th Avenue S.W. It was in the fall of 2012 that Winsa moved into the little shop inside the Inglewood gun shop. “It reminds me of Dartmouth,” says Winsa. “I love it here: it’s plain, it’s simple and it’s small-town.” His customers love it, too. He sees an average of 20 men a day and has served as many as 54 in one day.
More than 50 years after first picking up the scissors, Winsa is still clipping and trimming. “I have no plans of retiring,” he says. “I want at least 10 more years.”
Proline Barber Shop is located at 1426 9 Ave. S.E., 403-265-6666, prolineshooters.com/barbershop.html