Fate of famous 'Sam the Record Man' sign uncertain
In this undated photo, the flashing "Sam the Record Man" sign in Toronto is pictured. (CTV News)
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, September 24, 2012 10:01PM EDT
TORONTO -- Toronto's Ryerson University says the flashy sign which once drew people to the iconic Sam the Record Man music store won't hang outside the building being constructed on the site of the former landmark.
The university acquired the sign when it purchased the site for $23 million in 2008, a year after the store had closed.
As part of its contract with the city to honour the store, the university was to restore and permanently remount the sign on the future Student Learning Centre -- a building on which construction began in the spring of 2012.
But Bruce Piercey, director of communications at Ryerson University, says the sign is not part of the official design for the university building.
Speculation about the fate of the sign comes after the death of the store's founder, Sam Sniderman, on Sunday
The neon sign, composed of two enormous spinning discs on a red background, once lit up the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets in the city's downtown.
"It's not the kind of thing you could just attach to the side of the building. It's very different from the nature of the building," Piercey said of the sign on Monday.
The city gave the record store heritage status in 2007 to preserve the cultural value of the sign.
Piercey says the university and the city are still discussing the future of the sign.
"We're looking at alternate tributes that we think are fitting to Sam and the sign," said Piercey.
"We will provide some alternatives to restoring and reinstalling the sign."
However, Piercey said there had been no formal word from the city on the matter.
Guilio Cescato, a City of Toronto planner, said Ryerson has a legal obligation to put the sign up, and that the city definitely wants to see it lit again.
The sign was dismantled in 2008 and remains in storage.
On Monday, Ryerson University highlighted its connection with the historic store, which opened its doors in 1959.
University president Sheldon Levy expressed his condolences to those who knew Sniderman, and emphasized how proud the university was to be developing the new Student Learning Centre on the former store's property.
A big promoter of Canadian music, Sniderman was a Member of the Order of Canada, an inductee of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
He also received a Governor General award and Honorary doctorates from Ryerson University and the University of Prince Edward Island.
Known as Sam the Record Man, Sniderman and his brother Sid opened a small store in Toronto in 1937 and together they built a chain of Sam the Record Man stores that spanned the country.