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Sam the Record Man Sign May Finally Have Found a Home

It may not be headed for Ryerson, but the university is ready to pay for the iconic sign to be placed atop a downtown building.

Sam Moving by Alfred Ng

Photo by alfred ng, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

It looks as if the famous Sam the Record Man sign will return to its former glowing-neon glory, if not to its former location—a plan proposed by the deputy city manager would see the marquee resurrected at 277 Victoria Street, adjacent to Dundas Square.

The sign originally graced the Sam’s flagship store at the corner of Yonge and Gould streets. Ryerson purchased the property in 2008 with the intention of tearing it down to build a new student learning centre—just as the City was trying to secure heritage designation for it. The City abandoned its attempt when the school agreed to save the iconic Sam’s sign and put it back up on campus, either on Yonge or Gould.

For years the fate of the sign remained uncertain, even as Ryerson went ahead with the construction of its new building, scheduled for completion later this year. In October 2013, city council considered amending the original agreement between the school and the City, and decided to refer the item to the deputy city manager for further consideration, directing staff to “report back within one year on attempts made to find a culturally appropriate and relevant location for the Sam Signage.”

The report is now in, and recommends that the landmark sign be erected at Ryerson’s expense on the roof of 277 Victoria Street, a City-owned building. The report also recommends that staff look at possible funding sources for a “‘Toronto Music City’ sign element” to complement the dual discs of the Sam’s sign and illustrate its importance to the city’s musical history.

The planning and growth management committee will consider the item on June 19.


  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    This seems like a good solution. A lot of people wanted that sign kept and were angry that Ryerson tried to get out of the deal. Making them pay for the installation at the new site now may also be a problem.

  • VictorianShuter

    I’d be more satisfied if the sign was rebuilt at a height similar to its original location. Erecting it on the top of a 15-story building looks like a hasty afterthought.

    • nevilleross

      This is going to be an educational institution, not a record store.

      • dsmithhfx

        Going to be? Ryerson is an educational institution that acquired a heritage property on the condition that the iconic sign be restored to public display.

      • VictorianShuter

        What’s your point? In some places it’s rather trendy to leave a building’s vintage signage as is, despite it having nothing to do with the building’s current use.

  • mixandserve

    “Toronto Music City”. Kinda like the sound of that.

    Not like we’re going to become Nashville overnight or anything, but why not hold our music scene up to the light? Toronto did that years ago with our film scene and look what TIFF has become today.

    Bit of a different animal, I know, but still something to strive towards. And saving a vital piece of our music history seems as good a place to start as any.

  • torontothegreat

    I think this is a great location for it, but really I’m just happy that they are honouring the agreement.

  • Jeff Balmer
  • dobbsy

    Ryerson are a bunch of cocks who pulled the wool over the city’s eyes. They got a multi-million dollar piece of land by lying to the government and renegging on a contract. Absolute bullshit.

    • nevilleross

      Why should Ryerson, an educational institution, give a shit about a electric sign from a failed record store/chain? The Snidermans should have been the ones taking care of this-after all, it’s their heirloom, not Ryerson’s.