City Hall sounds off on Sam the Record Man

Mayor Rob Ford chaired a Sam the Record Man sign committee meeting yesterday, marking the latest effort to solve the saga that has cast an unfavourable light on Ryerson University.

On Tuesday, Toronto councillors, music lovers and Ryerson officials came together in the hopes of finding a viable solution.

No consensus was reached, but many councillors and citizens spoke up about where they would like to the iconic neon records to hang.

Sam fans, the Sniderman family and some councillors want Ryerson to hang the records on the school’s new Student Learning Centre building. But Ryerson maintains this was never a contractual requirement and cites structural and safety concerns with their back up location, the Gould Street library.

In September, Councillor Wong-Tam put forward the motion to give Ryerson a year-long extension for finding an alternative location to hang the sign.

Even though it means keeping the sign in the dark for at least another year, Wong-Tam is adamant not hanging the sign at all is not an option for Ryerson.

The Sam sign committee was formed in mid-September after Mayor Ford fielded a phone call from Canadian music artist Jane Bunnett asking how he was going to help solve the impasse.

Canadian music journalist Nicholas Jennings is also a staunch supporter of holding Ryerson to the original agreement. He has been actively involved in Mayor Ford’s committee from the outset.

Some have said the sign should not be restored and that Ryerson’s commemorative plaques and Sam-themed webpage are enough to honour the musical kingpin. There have been rumours that Sam Sniderman himself wasn’t interested in having the signs rehung – a claim his sons vigorously deny.

Even though they weren’t present at the meeting, Sam’s sons, Jason and Bobby Sniderman, voiced their concerns through a letter to Councillor Josh Matlow, which was circulated amongst city staff early Tuesday morning.

Councillor Doug Ford, though not involved in the Sam sign committee, told reporters Monday that he believes the sign should be rehung because Ryerson made a deal and they should be held to it.

Toronto City Council will meet on October 8 to discuss the Sam sign and hold a vote that could see Ryerson released from the original contract.

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