Address: 347 Yonge Street
Date: Oct 2008
The Yonge Street Sam the Record Man store opened in Toronto in 1959. It was always a great place to go to sift through a huge selection of records. Through the years Sam Sniderman had seen technology change as he sold 8-tracks, audio cassettes, videos and eventually CDs and DVDs. Sadly, the rise of downloadable music from the internet ended the reign of the record store. It also didn't help that customers grew up and had real bills to pay so they could no longer afford to spend every weekend hunting for music to add to their collection.
One of the highlights of shopping at Sam's was their Boxing Day sales. We would line up on the street waiting for our chance to save 25% or more on our purchases. This meant walking away with more albums. Sometimes the album was from a favourite artist. Sometimes it just contained a song we had heard on the radio and we hoped that the rest of the tracks would be as good. Sam competed for our dollar along with other rivals near the corner of Yonge and Dundas. There was A&A Records, Sunrise Records and later HMV. It was always Sam's that had that personal touch with home made signs and records spread across multiple floors and levels. You would find things tucked into nooks and crannies as you explored the store.
When Sam's finally closed in 2007 Ryerson University took over the site and eventually built their Student Learning Centre at the corner of Yonge and Gould streets. This changed the look of the corner forever.
Before the building came down, the Sam's sign took one last spin. It was lit up during the all night art festival of Nuit Blanche 2008. The Sam the Record Man sign featured two large records that would appear to rotate as the neon lights flashed in the night. After its appearance at Nuit Blanche the sign disappeared into storage.
Years later the sign was resurrected in Dundas Square. It is now just a block south of where it used to shine from the storefront. It has moved several stories up from street level and for some reason the words "Yes this is Sam The Record Man" are no longer flush and centered under each record (see photo at top of this post). The best time to stop and view the sign in all its spinning neon glory is after sunset. Sam The Record Man's son Jason played keyboards on local artist Blue Peter's song "Don't Walk Past". So don't walk past without taking a moment to reflect on Sam's place in Toronto music history.
This location is near Dundas subway. Visit other Toronto TTC stations.
Map of Our World:
Sam The Record Man Sign
Sam The Record Man
Post # 215