Toronto East York Community Council has voted to give Ryerson University a year to find an appropriate place to remount the Sam The Record Man sign that was taken down in late 2008 before the venerable store and cradle of the Canadian popular music scene was demolished.

Sam The Record Man's neon sign as it appeared in October, 2008, image by Craig White

Ryerson bought the Sam The Record Man site and adjacent property to build a new building, to be called the Student Learning Centre. Designed by international architectural stars Snøhetta with local a-listers Zeidler Partnership Architects, the new building is among the most hotly anticipated additions to our cityscape by UrbanToronto readers.

Ryerson Student Learning Centre from the southwest

The problem is that Ryerson and its architects have not found an appropriate place to remount the now stored sign in or on the new building, something which they are obligated to do by a contract signed with the City of Toronto. The sign is considered by many to be a significant piece of the not just the city's but also the country's music industry history. It's certainly the subject of much nostalgia and affection for those who bought music at the legendary store over the years.

Yonge Street retail frontage of the Ryerson Student Learning Centre

It has been assumed by some that the sign would reappear somewhere along the Yonge Street retail façade or possibly in the building's lobby, but many now agree that placing the sign in one of these locations would both compromise the new building's ultramodern design and leave the sign looking very out of place.

Lobby at the Ryerson Student Learning Centre

Local City Councillor Kristyn Wong Tam would like to see the sign ultimately end up in a new City of Toronto Museum or a Canadian Music Museum, but until such time as either of those on-again off-again proposals solidify, an interim (and possibly reasonably long term) location for the sign needs to be found.

While City Council must still ratify the Community Council vote to give Ryerson a year to find a solution, we know that UrbanToronto readers will have ideas of what could be done with the sign. We encourage you to leave a comment on this page, or join in the conversation in our thread for the project, linked below along with our dataBase page for it, where you can find many more images of the project.

Related Companies:  EllisDon, entro, LiveRoof Ontario Inc, Ryerson University, Snøhetta, Zeidler Partnership Architects