Sam the record man sign

Toronto really isn't liking the new Sam the Record Man sign

Discerning critics of neon turntables are saying "FU" to RU this week over how it handled the restoration of an iconic Toronto sign.

I'm not trying to be cute here, either – "FU RU" are the actual words (or acronyms, I guess) someone on Imgur used in reaction to the newly installed Sam The Record Man sign at Yonge-Dundas square.

And the reviews don't get much better from there.

Ryerson University finally finished installing both halves of the sign, best-known for its gigantic spinning discs, this weekend after nearly 10 years of holding it in storage.

Sitting high atop a city-owned building at 277 Victoria St., the sign now overlooks one of Toronto's busiest public spaces.

It can also be seen from the site of its original location, where it stood as a symbol of Toronto music history from 1961 until 2008. 

Many thought the relocation would make Sam's spinning discs more visible than ever before. This is not the case.

The sign is clearly a lot higher, and thus further away from the public than it used to be, but the visibility issues appear to stem from how it was mounted.

With nothing behind the discs, they look more like electric fans than they do records. You can see right through them during daylight hours.

Apparently, the translucency is a result of modifying Sam's discs for high winds in their new, rooftop location– though, as Toronto journalist Jonathan Goldsbie points out, they weren't supposed to be on a roof in the first place.

Ryerson's original contract with the City, signed after the university purchased the famous record store's former site to build a new student centre, shows that Ryerson had agreed to "the reinstallation of the signs on a vertical wall in an appropriate location."

Whatever the case, the sign looks little like any of the renderings released by Ryerson over the past three years.

Likeness aside, there's also the issue of design. 

The records themselves aren't centred in the middle of the building, which, as one Twitter user says,  "is ghastly and inexcusable."

Another keen eye takes up issue with the kerning of SAM in two different places.

All of that said, many people in the city are simply thrilled to see a temporarily missing piece of Toronto's cultural history restored into the public eye.

Lead photo by

johnchius


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