Labrador road named 'Bert's Loop' for longtime barber

The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has named a street after a longtime resident considered a cut above the rest.
Norbert May, known as Bert the barber in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, cuts hair in his shop on Bert's Loop, which was named after him this week. (CBC)

The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has named a street after a longtime resident considered a cut above the rest.

Norbert May, or Bert the Barber as he`s known locally, has been cutting hair in an out-of-the-way part of town for more than 50 years.

Fifty-five, to be exact.

His clients range from local regulars to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and even a U.S. president.

"Old George Bush was up here on a fishing trip, and he came up here one time. And he came in with his security guards, you know. And I gave him a haircut," May said in his broken German-English accent.

May moved from his native Germany to Labrador with his wife in 1958.

He first worked for the Americans on the military base before setting up shop in a secluded, mostly undeveloped, part of town.

"People coming from Toronto, they said 'Jesus! Your barber shop is in the woods.' That's the first barber shop they seen in the woods. I said, 'I'm hiding!'" May laughed.

The hidden locale may explain why the road to his shop had remained nameless — until this week.

For many, the route was always Bert`s Loop, but the town has now made it official.

Fitting gesture

Happy Valley-Goose Bay councillor and longtime customer Tony Chubbs helped make it happen.

"I just thought it was a wonderful idea," said Chubbs. "It was very appropriate. He's a pillar of our community."

There`s great consensus on that point, said Henry White, who works with May in the shop.

"I think it's the best thing that ever happened," he said. "He was the first one in this corner (of the road) and I think he deserved to have the street named after him.``

May admits it was a special moment this week when councillors met with him to unveil the street sign and put it up.

"That was the most wonderful day. That was beautiful. I I felt really good about it. I'll never forget it as long as I live, and probably this makes me older and I'm probably going to be here another 20 years now.

"I'm going to be [here when I`m] a 100 years old!"