Ryerson’s new Student Learning Centre is schduled to open in January 2015. FILE PHOTO

Sam the Record Man sign is still waiting in the dark

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By Lindsay Fitzgerald

The Sam the Record Man sign might still see the light of day.

Ryerson is now working to figure out a new location for the iconic sign after a decision was made by the Toronto and East York community council last week to allow the university to reconsider locations.

The Eyeopener obtained a copy of the first version of the proposed amendment, which states that Ryerson is able to expand beyond the two locations it had once agreed to.

The Student Learning Centre (SLC) and the library were the original locations proposed to mount the 800-light 46.5 sq. m sign, but the university is now arguing that neither of these locations are structurally sound enough to hold the massive sign.

“In a nutshell, the problems are structural and environmental, and safety is also an issue,” said Michael Forbes, Ryerson’s public affairs manager.

Forbes explained that in order to operate and maintain the Sam sign, Ryerson needs to be able freely access the back of the sign.

All mechanical work needs to be done from behind. However, finding a wall where both the sign can be mounted and its back accessed by mechanics is causing the university a lot of problems.

Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy said Ryerson doesn’t have a preferred location just yet.

“The discussion that we’re into is to find the best location for the sign and we still need the full council to approve it,” said Levy.

“We’re going to be working with people to see if there is a best alternative.” Levy also mentioned that the school has yet to meet with the Sniderman family or city councilors to discuss contract renegotiations.

“Ryerson is one of Toronto’s great institutions and I think they are a lot better than that,” said Ward 22 city councillor Josh Matlow.

“I’m not convinced that they ever intended on using the Sam sign at that location and I can only infer that it’s because they didn’t want to spend the money.” The proposed agreement is also subject to the commemoration plan, which includes, an on site recognition of Sam, including a sidewalk inlay as well as a photo and essay collection that will be on a website dedicated to the iconic music shop and its owner.

“I don’t think that’s good enough,” Matlow said. “I’d rather have people look at the plaque and then look up at what they are learning about.” The proposed amendment will be debated at city council on Oct. 8. The final vote will come from all four community councils.

“The sign will still go up, it will still be in public, just not in [the SLC or the library],” Forbes said.

“I want to stress it has always been our intent to put it back up.”

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