The Sam the Record Man sign may finally have a new home

The Sam the Record Man sign may finally have a new home

(Image: courtesy of the city) (Image: courtesy of the city)

Sam the Record Man‘s famous neon sign may finally be returning to the downtown Yonge area. After more than five years of trying to persuade Ryerson University to live up to a signed agreement to restore and display the sign somewhere on its property, the city is now seeking approval for a plan that would perch the iconic spinning records atop a city-owned building at 277 Victoria Street, overlooking Yonge-Dundas Square.

The proposal, which will go before city council’s planning and growth management committee on June 19, is the latest turn in a saga that began in 2008, when Ryerson entered into an agreement to protect the sign in exchange for the city’s blessing on the university’s plan to build a new, ultra-modern Student Learning Centre on the Sam the Record Man site. The agreement called for Ryerson to reinstall the sign either somewhere on the new learning centre, or on the side of its nearby library building. Within a few years, as construction at Yonge and Gould progressed, it became obvious that Ryerson had no intention of honouring the agreement. Rather than press the issue, the city began looking for alternatives.

The initial suggestion from city staff was essentially to let Ryerson off the hook, but city council ultimately wasn’t willing to be quite so forgiving. This latest proposal, if approved by the planning and growth management committee and then city council, would release Ryerson from its obligation to reinstall the sign on campus, but would stick the university for costs related to installing and maintaining the thing at 277 Victoria for a minimum of 20 years, or until the building is sold. Ryerson would also have to install a plaque outside the Student Learning Centre, to direct visitors to the sign’s new location. The only immediate cost to the city would be the inevitable impact on 277 Victoria’s property value (which is probably part of the reason Ryerson didn’t want the Sam’s sign anywhere near its own stuff).

A picture of what the sign would look like in its new home is above.