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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Sat, Dec 20, 2014

Geddy Lee weighs in on effort to save iconic Sam the Record Man sign

Sat, Sep 28, 2013@3:02PM | comments

UPDATE - 9/29@9:11AM: Here's a petition at change.org in support of remounting the sign (thanks RushFanForever).

Iconic Toronto music store Sam the Record Man closed its doors back in 2007 due to sagging sales, and store founder Sam Sniderman passed away last year at the age of 92. Sniderman was instrumental in the promotion of the Canadian music industry, helping several Canadian acts such as The Guess Who, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Rush get their careers off the ground. Sam began selling records out of his family's College Street radio store in 1937. After Sam's business began to thrive, his family changed the name of the store to Sam the Record Man in the 1950s, and in 1961 Sam moved the store to its iconic Yonge Street location with its huge flashing red neon record sign. Ryerson University bought the store's old location and along with it the iconic sign back in 2008, and committed to remount the sign at some future time. From CBC News:

... in November 2011, Ryerson reevaluated its commitment to replace the sign. The university reconsidered after it estimated the cost to repair and hang the sign would be more than $250,000. The university has said it will negotiate a less expensive way to commemorate the sign with the city.

So far, Ryerson has not found a new home for the Sam's sign. It appeared briefly in a Nuit Blanche art exhibit, but has not had a permanent home since it was taken down. Today the spinning records, which were first seen on Yonge Street in the 1960s, sit at an undisclosed location, awaiting a placement somewhere in Toronto. ...

Toronto music journalist Nicholas Jennings has started an online effort to help push the reinstallation of the sign via a Facebook page titled SOS: SAVE OUR SAM the Record Man Sign. Earlier today the page shared a copy of a letter Geddy Lee sent to the Toronto City Council yesterday in support of preserving the sign. The letter reads as follows:

September 27, 2013

To: Toronto City Council

The Sam the Record Man store and sign were important fixtures in Toronto's musical landscape as well as its Civic history. Sadly, all that remains now are our memories of the store and this magnificent neon sign. Ryerson and the city of Toronto should absolutely preserve what myself and many of its citizens consider to be an important symbol of our past and of that store's contributions to our culture.

Geddy Lee

Thanks to RushFanForever for the heads up.

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