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Change of Plans for Sam the Record Man Marquee?

Logistical concerns might make remounting the heritage-designated, Ryerson-owned iconic signage impractical.

Photo by {a href=""}spotmaticfanatic{/a} from the {a href=""}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

Toronto may not see Sam the Record Man’s signage reappear on Yonge Street. Ryerson’s independent student newspaper the Eyeopener is reporting that the school is reconsidering plans to re-mount the sign on its not-yet-built Student Learning Centre. Early plans for the SLC indicated it would include the marquee, but it didn’t figure into a newer design released this year.

According to the Eyeopener‘s report, Ryerson president Sheldon Levy is concerned about the cost of remounting the sign, approximately $250,000, and the school wants to propose a “sidewalk tribute” as an alternate memorial to Sam’s. Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 24, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) noted that the size of the sign and its outdated, energy-inefficient technology could make remounting it “physically impossible” and said Ryerson has been developing an “interpretive commemorative plaque” for the site. The school will have to get city council’s approval to change its plan for the sign.

The sign has been out of public view since late 2008 when Ryerson began demolishing Sam’s, which closed its doors in 2007. There was an enormous public campaign to save the sign, and in June 2007, the City kept it off the auction block and designated the entire building a heritage site.


  • Anonymous

    Time to move on. Now that the knee-jerk nostalgia that mandated keeping this is fading, hopefully we can let this eyesore go. If they decide to seek approval from council for a change of plans, I’d certainly write my councillor to support it.

  • Anonymous

    Oh for f’s sake just install it on a wall inside the building.
    There is no way that is 250 grand worth of engineering and construction.
    It doesn’t need to be turned on and function if it’s too much hassle.

    Or, at the very least, take a gigantic photo of it and have that on the wall.

    If not, stick it in one of Toronto’s 2 magic warehouses of old stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Whoever designed the building without the capacity to hold up the sign, which the old building managed perfectly well, should be fired.

    Or it’s a case of bait and switch, and a lot more people should be fired and contracts thrown out.

    • Anonymous

      Or just admit that “saving” the ugly sign is a bad idea and let the water go under the bridge without raising a fuss.

      • Anonymous

        Your personal opinion of the sign doesn’t match the greater community, which called for the sign to be preserved. Promises were then made to that end. If you’re OK with the developers and school and councillors ignoring/lying to the public that’s fine, but don’t be surprised when not everyone agrees with you on that point either.

  • W. K. Lis

    Keep the sign, but replace the lightbulbs with LED lights to save on energy costs.

    • John Duncan

      It’s neon tubes not bulbs, though I guess you could get LED bars fabricated to match.

  • Me

    love that sign, toronto is losing it’s character way too fast.
    please find somewhere for it!

  • Anonymous

    Ryerson got first rights to that parcel of land in part because they agreed to put the Sam’s sign back up again, yet they’re now going back on that part of their deal with the city. I think that the city should demand Ryerson stick to the agreement they had with the city and to remount the sign.

    As well is it just me or is that new design for the building about as butt-ugly and so totally out of the character of there area as its possible to get? Personally I much preferred the original design, at least it blended a lot more into the character of the area. The new design looks like it’ll make walking past it on Yonge St like passing a dead zone. Granted some of the interiors of the new design look good but to me the exterior is butt ugly and totally out of context and place for Yonge St.

    • Anonymous

      A second rate design from a third rate institution with delusions of grandeur. Seriously, did you expect more out of them?

  • bud latanville

    “…the size of the sign and its outdated, energy-inefficient technology…”

    sounds like a fair description of Sam’s store for it’s last 25 years of operation. :)

  • Mark Dowling

    Bartertown rules – bust a deal, face the wheel.

  • Ronald Ward

    The store is gone and the sign really has no meaning. Maybe it can be placed in a walkway somewhere on the campus. I agree, it’s time to move on – or should we save the HMV sign once that store closes?

  • Nauman

    “Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 24, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) noted that the size of the sign and its outdated, energy-inefficient technology could make remounting it “physically impossible” and said Ryerson has been developing an “interpretive commemorative plaque” for the site.”

    Not a real creative thinker, our art gallery-owning city councillor.

  • Resident

    I hope they keep the sign.
    1 If you agreed to do it and that was a contributing factor in getting the building then keep your word and make it happen.
    2. I like how it looks. A landmark in the city, and it is certainly more visually appealing then the giant print ads that now cover the majority of the buildings on that strip.

  • Let it go

    I’m strongly in favor of us not losing pieces of the city’s heritage, and I was a long-term shopper at Sam’s since I was a kid. But I never got the concept of a university retaining record store sign on it’s wall. The old store was just a box, so the actual walls had no signficance that I’m aware of, but the sign was iconic. I’d put it somewhere else if possible and leave Ryerson’s buildings to look like halls of learning. I know they made a deal with the city some years ago, but I never thought it made sense.