The Sam the Record Man sign is one step closer to a new home. Photo: Jess Tsang

Committee approves Sam sign location

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By Sierra Bein

The new location for the Sam the Record Man sign was approved by city council’s Planning and Growth Management committee Thursday, but the proposal still needs the green light from Toronto City Council and Ryerson’s Board of Governors.

City staff suggested the sign be installed atop the Toronto Public Health building, which is owned by the city, at 277 Victoria Street. The deal would see Ryerson cover all the sign’s installation and operational costs.

The sign would face west and be visible from Yonge and Dundas Square. Ryerson University representatives and city staff have been working together to find a location for the sign where three conditions would be met:

  • The sign has to be on or close to the original store location
  • The sign must be visible from Yonge Street
  • The sign can’t be immediately surrounded or cluttered by other signage

The proposal also recommends a second sign, reading “Toronto Music City,” to be built to anchor the Sam sign, currently in storage at Gregory Signs & Engraving Limited.

The committee said the Victoria Street location would better suit the sign than the original 341 Yonge St. site, where the Sam the Record Man store once stood and the future home of Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre, set to open in 2015.

But some speakers at the committee meeting expressed concerns about the new location.

Sam Markle, of The Brothers Markle Inc., one of the designers of the original Sam sign in 1971, said he’s happy that the issue is being taken seriously by Ryerson and the city, but warned the future security of the sign needs to be considered.

“The [277 Victoria Street] building is slated for redevelopment in 10 to 15 years,” he said.

The city’s proposal warns that redevelopment of the building could create some financial implications for the city.

“Specifically, if the City tries to obligate the developer to reinstall the Sign or potentially impose requirements/restrictions onto the developer related to the Sign, the developer would perceive this as additional risk and cost to them and ask for a lower purchase price or higher return in a partnership,” the report states.

Other issues such as the redundancy of two signs and the competition Yonge and Dundas Square would create for the Sam piece are also of concern, according to Markle.

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