toronto sam the record man

Petition hopes to save the Sam the Record Man sign

Brett Clifton doesn't want the Sam the Record Man sign to gather dust in a warehouse, but he needs your help to make it happen. An online petition started by the city employee wants members of the local community council to hold Ryerson University to its end of a five-year-old preservation deal.

In 2008, Ryerson agreed to hang the giant neon sign on its new Student Learning Centre in exchange for permission to demolish the record store building at Yonge and Gould. Now, in a revised plan awaiting approval from the city, Ryerson hopes to back away from that agreement, citing design, cost, and safety concerns, all of which were known when the deal was first agreed upon.

The size of the sign would block natural light entering the modern glass building and toxic mercury inside the bulbs could leak in the event of a fire, the university says. A shortage of neon light workers is also a factor, it claims.

If the new proposal is accepted, the sign would be placed in storage for two years while Ryerson considers alternative options. In the meantime, a granite or bronze plaque would be sunk in to the sidewalk outside where the main entrance used to stand.

Clifton hopes Toronto and East York Community Council chair Cllr. Paula Fletcher will put up a fight and force the university to bring back the sign.

"This would never be permissible in a private exchange," he says. "I might have reasons why I don't want to pay my rent this month, you can't just make excuses for that, it's a deal. And that's what's happening here."

At time of writing the Change.org campaign has garnered more than 120 supporters, but Clifton hopes more people will sign up before next week.

"We're not asking the city to do anything at all except hold them to the deal, the legal deal," Clifton says. "We're not asking them to do more, we're asking them to do the bare minimum here."

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Stephen Gardiner/blogTO Flickr pool.


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