Building Magazine


Work begins on Sam the Record Man Signs in Toronto


Refurbishment and re-construction has begun on the famous Sam the Record Man Signs, which will have a new home at 277 Victoria Street overlooking Yonge and Dundas Square.

The original sign, which was located on the northern side of Yonge Street store was built in 1969; a second sign was added to the store front in 1987. Both of these iconic signs have revealed some interesting secrets during the refurbishment process:

  • The “record spindle” from the centre of the older sign, turned out to be a gallon paint can. The can, which is over 45 years old, has been remarkably well preserved and will once again take centre stage as the spindle of the restored sign.
  • The light-flasher units, which make the neon rings of the spinning discs appear to “rotate” were reclaimed and will be freshly re-programmed by the Markle brothers, who built the original sign back in 1969.
  • The original neon “That’s Entertainment” and sparkling SAM letters atop the signs are undergoing minor refurbishment and will once again illuminate downtown Toronto.

Restoration of the signs began in June and construction will begin at 277 Victoria later this summer. The project is expected to take approximately three months to complete. A lighting ceremony is being planned for the fall.

“We had to come up with creative solutions to address the twin challenges of mounting the signs on top of a building, namely weight and wind,” said Tony Bianchi, Sunset Neon. “The signs will now feature a louvered panel design, which will permit wind flow – while preserving the iconic look of these famous neon signs.”

Ryerson University will be covering all costs associated with the restoration, installation and ongoing maintenance of the signs.

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