Skip to main content

Sam the Record Man on Yonge near Dundas, December 17, 2007.

Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail

A restoration project is underway on a giant neon sign that once drew visitors to Toronto's landmark Sam the Record Man store in the city's downtown, with plans to have the flashy installation on display by the fall.

The sign, composed of two enormous spinning discs on a red background, used to be a familiar sight near the city's busy Yonge and Dundas square, flashing above the business owned by Sam Sniderman, who was a major promoter of Canadian music.

Sniderman's entire store received heritage status from Toronto in 2007 to preserve the cultural value of the signs. The store closed that year and the property it was on was bought by Toronto's Ryerson University a year later.

Story continues below advertisement

Ryerson acquired the famous sign along with the property and initially said it planned to showcase it on a new building planned for the site.

The university later decided it would place the sign on a building two blocks away, where it would overlook Yonge and Dundas Square.

Ryerson said Wednesday that a restoration project on the sign began in June and will take three months to complete.

The university said it's planning a lighting ceremony for the sign when it goes on display in the fall.

Sniderman's sons expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of the sign beaming down on a part of the city once more.

"We are thrilled that the iconic Sam the Record Man signs that symbolized our family business will once again shine upon the site of the original store on Yonge Street," Jason and Bobby Sniderman said in a statement.

The giant neon signs are almost a half century old, but the beginnings of Sam the Record Man's store go all the way back to 1937, when Sam Sniderman and his brother opened a small store in Toronto. That original store eventually grew to a chain with shops across the country.

Story continues below advertisement

The flagship store with the iconic sign currently under restoration opened on Toronto's Yonge St. in 1959. The site is now occupied by a Ryerson University student centre.

The Toronto-born Sniderman, who died at the age of 92 in 2012, played a key role in the country's music industry.

He pushed for then-controversial Canadian content broadcast regulations established in 1970 and helped organize the first Juno Awards to celebrate the country's musical talent.

He also founded a music archive and musical manuscript library at the University of Toronto.

He was named a Member of the Order of Canada, received a Governor General award, and Honorary doctorates from Ryerson University and the University of Prince Edward Island.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter