Ryerson keeps iconic sign

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By Laura Blenkinsop

The spinning records that made Sam the Record man famous are staying with Ryerson.

The sign, to be taken down the first week of October, should find its home on the Student Learning Centre (SLC), which will be built where Sam’s and the former Future Shop currently stand, said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy.

Failing that, the iconic sign will live on Jorgenson Hall.

“If you’re there looking up to the Library, look way up to the top and imagine the Sam’s sign facing Gould Street, he said.

Levy has been trying to reach an agreement with the city since Ryerson bought the property at the end of January for $23 million from the Sniderman family. The sign is protected under the Ontario Heritage Act so the university had to wait for a green light from the city before the sign could be removed and the building demolished.

“We have all our approvals from the city, the discs will be gone within the next month, said Linda Grayson, Ryerson’s VP finance and administration.

With the discs gone, the Master Plan can start moving a lot faster.

The Master Plan, a framework for Ryerson’s future, was unveiled in March of 2006. It is a long-term campus make-over with the outside community, pedestrians and design excellence in mind. So far, only property has been bought and nearly $1 million has been spent on consultations.

Levy says that’s about to change.

Now that there’s an agreement with the city, Ryerson is looking for quotes from companies who will remove and refurbish the sign. The next step is to apply for a demolition permit and look for an architect to design the SLC.

Currently, the plan’s biggest project the SLC will house an expanded library, student study space and rented retail outlets at street level. Most importanly though, it will be Ryerson’s presence on Yonge Street.

Also in the works is the Ryerson Photography Gallery and Research Centre. The Image Arts building is already being renovated to house a research centre and the Black Star collection of more than 300,000 famous photos worth $1 million. Grayson says renovations will continue during the school year, but the more invasive work will be saved until April.

Ryerson is trying to land another agreement with the city: A pedestrianonly Gould Street between Victoria and Church that would trade traffic for a cafe and outdoor student space.

Along the car-free theme, bicycle storage is planed for the ground level of the Victoria Street Building and the lane behind it will be rejuvenated with signage and murals.

— With files from Vanessa Greco

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