Funeral held for Toronto’s Sam Sniderman
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, September 25, 2012 7:36AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 25, 2012 3:58PM EDT
A small group of family, friends and city officials gathered at a funeral chapel Tuesday to remember Sam “the Record Man” Sniderman.
Just under 100 people attended the funeral for the 92-year-old entrepreneur and music lover who created Canada’s largest chain of music stores.
Family members said Sniderman passed away in his sleep on Sunday, surrounded by loved ones.
Speaking during the service, Sniderman’s 25-year-old grandson Jhase told those gathered that he always strove to make his grandfather proud.
“I wish I could have told him how much of an impact he had on my life,” he said. “He was just a person you didn’t want to let down. You wanted him to be proud of you and how could you not? The man built a legacy from nothing.”
Friends told CTV Toronto that Sniderman will be remembered for his love of music, charity work and keen business sense.
“Sam used to say ‘Anybody who comes in here, I can sell a record to. It takes a salesman to sell you two records,’” said friend Larry LeBlanc.
“I walked in to buy a Bobby Darin record -- I think it was “That’s All” the album -- I walked out with a Frank Sinatra album as well,” recalled LeBlanc.
The Toronto-born Sniderman played a major role in helping to foment the nation’s artistic identity. He helped to organize the first Juno Awards and pushed for Canadian content broadcast regulations in 1970.
Many consider him to be the godfather of Canada’s music industry.
In 1937, Sniderman and his brother Sid opened a small record store in Toronto.
Together they built the “Sam the Record Man” chain of stores across Canada. At one point the chain had 140 stores and at its peak was handling between 15 and 20 per cent of all the record sales in Canada.
In 1959, Sniderman opened his flagship store on Toronto’s Yonge Street. Known for its iconic flashing sign, the store became a popular Toronto landmark until it closed in 2007.
Following the news of Sniderman’s death, many Torontonians shared memories of the man and the store.
Mayor Rob Ford, who attended Tuesday’s funeral service, said “It’s a sad day today for Toronto.”
Sniderman’s family says a memorial service will be held in October.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Dana Levenson and files from The Canadian Press