By Jackie Hong and Angela Hennessy
The secrecy of where Ryerson is storing the Sam the Record Man Sign and its condition was finally lifted on Oct. 29 when the university allowed city councilor Josh Matlow to tour the storage trailer the sign is being held in.
Besides Ryerson staff and workers from Gregory Signs & Engraving Limited (the sign company Ryerson is using as consultants) Matlow, who represents Ward 22 (St. Paul’s), is the first person to see the sign since it was put into storage after Ryerson bought the Sam the Record Man property in 2008.
Currently, the sign is being kept in an immobile trailer next to Gregory Sign’s warehouse in Vaughan. A company representative led the tour.
“It was very odd to see it stored in so many hundreds of pieces. Almost like the largest jigsaw puzzle I’ve ever seen,” Matlow said. He added that although the sign could not be turned on because it was in too many pieces, it appeared to be in good condition.
The Gregory Signs representative told Matlow that the entirety of the Sam sign was being stored in the trailer.
Matlow was also told during the tour that the mercury in the sign is only a health and flame hazard while it’s on storage, but that once it’s remounted and running again, it would be safe.
“This is the same mercury expert that talked to Ryerson so that’s the same information they would have had, which pretty seriously contradicts what Ryerson said about the mercury,” said Matlow. Previously, Ryerson said that a potential mercury spill was among the reasons why it did not want to mount the sign in the Student Learning Centre.
Ryerson has been facing controversy since it announced the sign would not be remounted in the Student Learning Centre, which is being built on the old Sam the Record Man lot.