Sam the Record Man Signs return to the heart of downtown Toronto
Ryerson University, the City of Toronto and the Sniderman family are delighted to celebrate the official re-lighting of the Sam the Record Man signs atop their new home at 277 Victoria Street.
"It's great to see this iconic landmark once again shining in our city," said Mayor John Tory. "I want to thank Ryerson University for working to get the sign restored so that we can continue to treasure this piece of Toronto's music history. I also want to thank the Sniderman family for working hard to preserve the Sam the Record Man legacy."
This evening’s public re-lighting ceremony will bring together musicians and music lovers to see the neon discs spin again in the heart of Toronto.
“Ryerson University is very thankful to the Sniderman family and the City of Toronto for their continuous support. It is wonderful to see the signs illuminate downtown Toronto once again,” said Ryerson President and Vice-Chancellor Mohamed Lachemi. “We are delighted to be part of this effort to honor the legacy of Sam the Record Man, its contributions to the Canadian music industry, and the preservation of Toronto’s cultural heritage.”
The Signs’ Beginnings
The flagship Sam the Record Man store was in operation at 347 Yonge Street from 1961 to 2007. Located just north of Yonge-Dundas Square, Sam’s became a part of a cultural corridor of music in Toronto. In 1969 the business added the first of two spinning neon records designed by the Markle brothers; the second record was added to the storefront in 1987. The store flourished, gaining notoriety and becoming a popular tourist attraction with its distinctive façade and incredibly rich selection of music.
In 2007, Ryerson University acquired the site of the former store, now occupied by the award-winning Student Learning Centre.
After undertaking numerous engineering and feasibility studies to ensure that the signs could be safely re-mounted at 277 Victoria Street, Ryerson selected Sunset Neon, a leading neon signage contractor, to restore and re-install the signs overlooking Yonge-Dundas Square. In an interesting twist, the original Sam the Record Man store was located at 291 Yonge Street before moving to 347 Yonge in 1961. The restored neon signs now shine down on that original store location, which is just150 metres from the restored signs.
Ryerson University will cover all costs associated with the storage, restoration, installation and ongoing maintenance of the signs. In addition, Ryerson will install a commemorative plaque in recognition of Sam the Record Man’s legacy and contributions at the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets.
Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 44,600 students, including 2,600 master’s and PhD students, 3,100 faculty and staff, and nearly 185,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit ryerson.ca
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Statement from the Sniderman family:
First; to acknowledge those key contributors who made the installation of the signs a reality; Jeff Balmer, Sean Boulton, Nicholas Jennings, Ryerson University and the City of Toronto and in particular deputy city manager, John Livey and councillors Josh Matlow and the late Pam McConnell, for all of their support to speak out at a time when the hanging of the signs hung in the balance of their determination to be heard.
Foremost; to honour all of the dedicated staff who worked with us for decades - in the beginning at Sniderman’s music hall - and made a visit to any Sam the Record Man store more than just a record buying experience. Those gifted people knew more about music than anyone and took great pleasure in sharing their knowledge with everybody.
And finally; to our customers. It was all of you - it was the entire community of Toronto and those across the country - that made Sam the Record Man a Canadian legacy that will be remembered through your stories and memories; for that we are forever grateful.
Jason and Bobby Sniderman
416-525-7517 (Bobby Sniderman)
Senator Restaurant - 249 Victoria Street