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City council defers decision on future of Sam the Record Man neon sign

Photos of Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street, in Toronto, 2007.

Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail

The future of Sam the Record Man's iconic neon vinyls still hangs in the balance after Toronto city council voted to defer making a decision on the sign's future location.

The eye-catching sign once adorned the historic Sam the Record Man building in downtown Toronto, but now sits in storage as the city council tries to decide its fate. Ryerson University bought the record store property in 2008 and signed a deal agreeing to hang the sign on the new student learning centre building that now sits on the site or on the library on Gould Street. But the sign was never restored to its former perch and city council has been debating how to move forward.

Wednesday's decision sends the topic back to the city's deputy manager for more information, but without a timeline or direct instructions attached.

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Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam had put forward a motion that would allow Ryerson University to find an alternate location for the sign near the original site with the city's approval. She said she was disappointed more progress wasn't made on finding the sign a permanent home.

"This motion now sends it into a black hole and I don't know when it's going to come back," Ms. Wong-Tam said.

Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said he also hoped a firmer decision had been made by council. He said the university didn't try to back down from hanging the sign, but was focused on different priorities when designing the building.

"We chose the architect and then worked very, very hard with the city [...] in order to see if there any way with that architecture to reasonably accommodate [the sign] on that building," he said, adding that the university is willing to hang the sign on Gould Street once the city comes to a decision.

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