<– The landmark Sam the Record Man sign, circa 2007. Photo by the Canadian Press
By | Daily Brew
If I told you that you could live in my house, but you had to leave up my decorative, vintage wallpaper, how would you react?
Would you agree? Would you stick to that promise? Or would you move in, bide your time and tear the wallpaper down, anyway?
One presumes you would rather not live in my house at all, but for the sake of strained analogies, bear with me.
This is the debate going on in Toronto right now, where Ryerson University has now entirely and officially shirked its promise to honour one of the city’s most beloved builders.
During a round of massive expansion in 2008, the downtown university came to an agreement with the city to build on the site of the famed, but now-closed, Sam the Record Man shop after promising the legendary music hub would be honoured in a very specific way.
Sam the Record Man, which was once a Canadian retail juggernaut, was famous for its flagship store in downtown Toronto and that store’s massive neon sign. Ryerson University had promised that, in exchange for the right to tear down the building to expand its campus, they would protect the sign and display it on the outside of its student centre.
That promise was forgotten, delayed and ignored. And on Thursday, it was killed altogether, in a fashion that a cynic could suggest the school never had the intention to keep its promise.
Ryerson University moved into Sam Sniderman’s house and promised not to tear down the wallpaper.
That wallpaper is now gone, as kitschy and distracting as it may have been.
If you move into my house and tear down my wallpaper, I won’t help you paint the walls.
I would question what type of person I had invited into my home.
Then I’d probably show you the door.
(And that’s why they are our ‘ASSHOLE OF THE DAY!’ -ED.)

Sam the Record Man sign probably gone for good

Posted by Chris Bateman / August 30, 2013
toronto sam the record man

The iconic neon Sam the Record Man sign will likely never cast its rays on Yonge Street again. Ryerson University, which bought and demolished the famous Yonge Street record store to make way for its new Student Learning Centre, promised to re-hang the sign in 2008, but now the city is preparing to let the university off the hook.
A revised heritage proposal, which still needs the approval of city council, requires Ryerson to keep the sign in storage for up to two years while “other preservation opportunities are explored.” The change also mandates alternative “commemorative actions” by the university in the form of a granite or bronze interpretive plaque to be sunk into the sidewalk just north of Gould Street.
toronto sam the record man

Ryerson has been stalling on returning the two-storey sign to the street – Yonge or Gould – for more than five years, citing cost, design, and safety concerns. A report by custom signage experts Gregory Signs & Engraving Ltd. said mercury could leak from the sign in the event of a fire. A shortage of qualified neon sign professionals, a problem that also disrupted restoration of the El Macambo sign, further stymied progress.
To further complicate the issue, the architects responsible for the Student Learning Centre noted the giant records clashed with the modern design of the new building. “[Snohetta and Zeidler Partnership Architects] cited resource and energy concerns, conflict with the design of the new building and the distraction within the interior of the building caused by the signs’ flashing lights,” the report says.
toronto sam the record man

The sign was built in 1961 to mark Sam Sniderman’s flagship record store. The company grew from a stand in the Sniderman family’s radio store to a much-loved nationwide chain – “140 locations, coast to coast.” Today only one store remains, tucked in a corner of the Quinte Mall in Belleville, Ont.
Heritage staff say they’re “disappointed” the signs won’t been restored to their original location but are “satisfied” Ryerson explored all possible avenues.
Is this the end of the Sam the Record Man sign? Where could the city put the giant neon signs if not at Yonge and Gould? Are you upset Ryerson reneged on their original agreement?
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Image: City of Toronto, spotmaticfanatic/blogTO Flickr pool.
AND THEN ……………………….., to add insult to injury, Lady Ga Ga caught a flight to Europe today, dressed like this folks!!!!!!!!!!
(This broad has absolutely NO class at all kids!)