May 17 2017
Neighbourhood Profile: Barb Whiteman from Colourbox Salon
Written by Gastown Admin
What do you do and how did you get here?
I cut hair and I run the Colourbox Hair Salon here in Gastown. Back in 1985, just after moving from Edmonton, we (myself and my boyfriend at the time) came across this really cool space here on West Cordova that was only $600 a month and decided that this is where we wanted to set up the business. How it all began was when I took hairdressing in high school for 10 easy credits and became hooked. I can’t imagine doing anything else. The significance of Colourbox is that it’s a British band from the 80’s with the same name. This summer will mark our 32nd year here in the same location and I still love it.
If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?
I would probably go for a cocktail at L’abattoir or visit some of my favourite stores like Rowan Sky, The Block and Dutil (every pair of jeans I own are from there!). I don’t even really need to leave West Cordova. Everything I need is here.
What do you love about the neighbourhood?
I love that the neighbourhood feels like having family close by. We’re all neighbours here and committed to the Gastown community. When I first opened Colourbox and would walk down Water Street, it would feel like I was in London, or some other European city. I still get that feeling today and I love my street here too. We’ve always been somewhat removed from Water Street and it’s nice that West Cordova is getting more attention now thanks to all the hip little businesses coming in.
What’s your most memorable happy moment or experience in Gastown?
There are lots of happy days here in Gastown, just hanging out with people. There are gifts to be received everyday. We had our 30th anniversary here recently with a big party, lots of friends gathered and some swing dancers who really jived. It was an awesome night and I was filled with gratitude for all I have been given in life.
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
Good friends, spending time with family and loving your work. I never regret having to get up and come here. I love the salon, working with great people I care about, having lasting friendships and being in a truly connected neighbourhood like Gastown.