What the Sam the Record Man sign looks like now
The iconic Sam the Record Man sign is alive and mostly well - if disassembled into hundreds of pieces in a warehouse north of Toronto. We already knew this thanks to Councillor Josh Matlow, who asked that Ryerson show him the sign a few weeks ago. But, in a move no doubt brought on by mounting pressure from the media and celebrities like Geddy Lee and Leslie Feist, Ryerson thought it a good idea to invite the media up to take a closer look at the sign today. Stored at a sign manufacturer in Vaughan, the first thing to note is that this bit of Toronto music history has actually been preserved very carefully.
While spread out in a tractor trailer in more pieces than I cared to count, each section of neon tubing and the steel frame that makes up the giant records is carefully labeled with an eye toward the eventual reassembly of the sign, something that the university seems far more keen to do than when it first announced plans for its new, decidedly sign-free Student Learning Centre at Yonge and Gould. That, according to Ryerson staff is a perception issue, as they argue that the school did indeed make "reasonable best efforts to identify an opportunity to incorporate the refurbished signs in an appropriate location on the Ryerson Yonge Street Lands."
This may indeed be true, though the initial agreement with the city was clear in stating that failing re-installation on Yonge Street, the restored sign would have to be placed on the south facade of the university's library on Gould Street. There hasn't really been much talk about this second option (save for this article in the Grid), and Ryerson never appeared particularly keen to go this way. But that, according to the university, is precisely why it tried to amend the original agreement with the city: the options for re-installation were just too limited in its view.
It's hard to gauge what the university's intentions were in the past, though it claims they've always maintained a desire to re-install the sign. At this point it doesn't really matter much. City staff are currently mulling options for the sign in the hopes a fitting location can be found, and Ryerson has made it clear that it will respect the process. In any case, if and when a suitable location is found, the sign is ready to be re-installed - one piece at a time.
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