September 25th, 2013
Counillor Josh Matlow is calling on Toronto’s Ryerson University to confirm that the Sam The Record Man sign, once an iconic piece of the Yonge streetscape, has not been damaged, broken or “even destroyed.”
Matlow wrote to Ryerson president Sheldon Levy to clarify what he says are rumours about the neon sign, which famously features two massive spinning records.
“Rumours are circulating that the sign has been damaged beyond repair or even destroyed,” he wrote. “I am writing to request an opportunity to visit the sign in storage so that I can verify its integrity and put these rumours to rest.”
Matlow told CBC News that rumours about the neon sign’s current state come from at least three “credible sources,” including Ryerson alumni.
“The rumours began because the sign hasn’t been seen in a couple years. I’ve heard a few hints now that the sign is in different pieces and maybe in disrepair,” he said.
He added he emailed and sent a letter Levy, and has not heard back even a confirmation of receipt of his messages.
“We’re about to have council debate on October 8 or 9 regarding the sign. So I want to make sure there’s a sign to debate,” he said.
Ryerson bought Sam’s space in 2008 — signage included — for future expansion of its downtown campus. At that time Ryerson agreed to re-mount the much-loved neon sign around the Yonge and Gould block that year.
Then in November 2011, Ryerson reevaluated its commitment to replace the sign.
The university reconsidered after it estimated the cost to repair and hang the sign would be more than $250,000. The university has said it will negotiate a less expensive way to commemorate the sign with the city.
Earlier this month city council gave Ryerson one year to find a new home for the sign, which has served as a landmark for a generation of music lovers.
So far, Ryerson has not found a new home for the Sam’s sign.
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