Ryerson University put the Sam the Record Man sign on display to the media for the first time since Nuit Blanche 2008.
But instead of being hung for all to see, it was packed up in a metal box.
Gregory Signs and Engraving Ltd., the company charged with storing the sign, unveiled the historic records to media Friday afternoon. In the past, the school has allowed historians and architects to see the dismantled sign, but not the media.
The murky glass neon tubes were stacked in wooden frames, with two sets hanging on the wall. One had the sign’s old, faulty connectors, while another featured new, safer replacements.
“When we were dismantling the sign, we built these custom frames and crates … that holds all the tubes of neon in (a) safe manner,” said David Grose, the warehouse’s national sales manager.
On the floor lay the sign’s frame and faces. Thick metal quarter-circles sat between the white sign faces, which read, “Yes this is Sam the Record Man.” Each piece of the frame is numbered, and labelled north or south to indicate which neon disc it came from.
“When it comes time to put it back up, we’ll (be) able to put it back together exactly the way it was (on Yonge Street),” Grose said.
The media visit comes after Toronto city councillor Josh Matlow requested that Ryerson provide evidence of the sign’s well-being. The school arranged for Matlow to visit the sign’s new home in late October.
The school took possession of the sign back in 2008 after scooping the land on which the iconic record store stood. Although Ryerson had said it would make its best effort to remount the sign on the Student Learning Centre or its neighbouring library, it later claimed that design conflicts and safety hazards made it necessary to find an alternative location.