Sam the Record Man sign spins again over Yonge-Dundas Square

News Jan 11, 2018 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Just over a decade after the iconic Sam the Record Man sign stopped spinning on Yonge Street, the giant discs have been lit up again.

The sign was a piece of Toronto history, with its two large neon records spinning continuously just north of Dundas Street. Now, thanks to the work of staff at Sunset Neon, Ryerson University has reinstalled the signs atop a Toronto Public Health building at 277 Victoria Street, a short distance from their original home.

At a relighting ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 10, Bobby Sniderman, son of the late Sam “the Record Man” Sniderman, recounted the history of Sam the Record Man. His grandparents opened the store’s predecessor, Sniderman’s Music Hall, on College Street more than a century ago.

“It was one of the first stores in the city to sell radios, appliances and records,” he said. “And like many of the family businesses who are the life force and character of our community, the only expectation my grandparents had was that the business would provide for their children (and) for the staff and their families.

“Little could they imagine that they would be remembered today.”

When Sam’s closed after nearly half a century on Yonge and the signs went dark in 2007, many lamented the loss of a piece of Toronto’s history. A group of concerned Torontonians fought hard to ensure the signs would find a new home, working with Ryerson to secure guarantees that the discs would spin again.

Nicholas Jennings, a long-time music journalist and one of those who spearheaded the campaign to save the sign, noted that musicians such as Gordon Lightfoot, Geddy Lee, Anne Murray and Gord Downie wrote letters of support, noting that Sam’s was more than a record store.

“It was amazing how many people in Toronto and beyond wrote in and expressed their concern for the sign and shared their memory of what the store and those signs meant to them,” he said.

Jennings added that the sign’s placement atop 277 Victoria – while much higher up than it was when it lit up Sam the Record Man’s storefront – allowed it to serve as a “beacon” in the area.

“If you’re coming along Dundas, you can see it almost from University,” he said.

Blair Packham of Canadian rock band The Jitters was on hand for the lighting and recalled the importance of Sam’s in the community.

“To get your record in the racks at Sam’s was a really, really big deal and to get to autograph the wall in there was a big deal,” he said.

Mayor John Tory thought back to the old days, when he – like countless others – wandered the floors of the giant record stores, sifting through wooden racks of records to find the latest and greatest chart-toppers.

“The Sam’s store meant a lot to a lot of people in their life in this city, growing up and coming to love music,” he said.

“It’s an important part of our identity as a city.”

Sam the Record Man sign spins again over Yonge-Dundas Square

News Jan 11, 2018 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Just over a decade after the iconic Sam the Record Man sign stopped spinning on Yonge Street, the giant discs have been lit up again.

The sign was a piece of Toronto history, with its two large neon records spinning continuously just north of Dundas Street. Now, thanks to the work of staff at Sunset Neon, Ryerson University has reinstalled the signs atop a Toronto Public Health building at 277 Victoria Street, a short distance from their original home.

At a relighting ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 10, Bobby Sniderman, son of the late Sam “the Record Man” Sniderman, recounted the history of Sam the Record Man. His grandparents opened the store’s predecessor, Sniderman’s Music Hall, on College Street more than a century ago.

“It was one of the first stores in the city to sell radios, appliances and records,” he said. “And like many of the family businesses who are the life force and character of our community, the only expectation my grandparents had was that the business would provide for their children (and) for the staff and their families.

“Little could they imagine that they would be remembered today.”

When Sam’s closed after nearly half a century on Yonge and the signs went dark in 2007, many lamented the loss of a piece of Toronto’s history. A group of concerned Torontonians fought hard to ensure the signs would find a new home, working with Ryerson to secure guarantees that the discs would spin again.

Nicholas Jennings, a long-time music journalist and one of those who spearheaded the campaign to save the sign, noted that musicians such as Gordon Lightfoot, Geddy Lee, Anne Murray and Gord Downie wrote letters of support, noting that Sam’s was more than a record store.

“It was amazing how many people in Toronto and beyond wrote in and expressed their concern for the sign and shared their memory of what the store and those signs meant to them,” he said.

Jennings added that the sign’s placement atop 277 Victoria – while much higher up than it was when it lit up Sam the Record Man’s storefront – allowed it to serve as a “beacon” in the area.

“If you’re coming along Dundas, you can see it almost from University,” he said.

Blair Packham of Canadian rock band The Jitters was on hand for the lighting and recalled the importance of Sam’s in the community.

“To get your record in the racks at Sam’s was a really, really big deal and to get to autograph the wall in there was a big deal,” he said.

Mayor John Tory thought back to the old days, when he – like countless others – wandered the floors of the giant record stores, sifting through wooden racks of records to find the latest and greatest chart-toppers.

“The Sam’s store meant a lot to a lot of people in their life in this city, growing up and coming to love music,” he said.

“It’s an important part of our identity as a city.”

Sam the Record Man sign spins again over Yonge-Dundas Square

News Jan 11, 2018 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Just over a decade after the iconic Sam the Record Man sign stopped spinning on Yonge Street, the giant discs have been lit up again.

The sign was a piece of Toronto history, with its two large neon records spinning continuously just north of Dundas Street. Now, thanks to the work of staff at Sunset Neon, Ryerson University has reinstalled the signs atop a Toronto Public Health building at 277 Victoria Street, a short distance from their original home.

At a relighting ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 10, Bobby Sniderman, son of the late Sam “the Record Man” Sniderman, recounted the history of Sam the Record Man. His grandparents opened the store’s predecessor, Sniderman’s Music Hall, on College Street more than a century ago.

“It was one of the first stores in the city to sell radios, appliances and records,” he said. “And like many of the family businesses who are the life force and character of our community, the only expectation my grandparents had was that the business would provide for their children (and) for the staff and their families.

“Little could they imagine that they would be remembered today.”

When Sam’s closed after nearly half a century on Yonge and the signs went dark in 2007, many lamented the loss of a piece of Toronto’s history. A group of concerned Torontonians fought hard to ensure the signs would find a new home, working with Ryerson to secure guarantees that the discs would spin again.

Nicholas Jennings, a long-time music journalist and one of those who spearheaded the campaign to save the sign, noted that musicians such as Gordon Lightfoot, Geddy Lee, Anne Murray and Gord Downie wrote letters of support, noting that Sam’s was more than a record store.

“It was amazing how many people in Toronto and beyond wrote in and expressed their concern for the sign and shared their memory of what the store and those signs meant to them,” he said.

Jennings added that the sign’s placement atop 277 Victoria – while much higher up than it was when it lit up Sam the Record Man’s storefront – allowed it to serve as a “beacon” in the area.

“If you’re coming along Dundas, you can see it almost from University,” he said.

Blair Packham of Canadian rock band The Jitters was on hand for the lighting and recalled the importance of Sam’s in the community.

“To get your record in the racks at Sam’s was a really, really big deal and to get to autograph the wall in there was a big deal,” he said.

Mayor John Tory thought back to the old days, when he – like countless others – wandered the floors of the giant record stores, sifting through wooden racks of records to find the latest and greatest chart-toppers.

“The Sam’s store meant a lot to a lot of people in their life in this city, growing up and coming to love music,” he said.

“It’s an important part of our identity as a city.”