End of an Era

For those of you who don't know, this is the flagship store of the now defunct Sam the Record Man, which has been an iconic Toronto landmark since 1961.


Perhaps I'm waxing nostalgic here, but Sam's has truly been a part of life in Toronto and I'm probably not the only one who thinks so. I've definitely spent some fun teenage years here, and of course there were the crazy Boxing Day sales too. One year my dad dragged me along to wait outside at 7:30AM, so that we could buy Ace of Bass and Alanis Morrissette CDs for $1.99 apiece. *shudder*


The company declared bankruptcy in 2001, closing most of its locations across Canada. The flagship store remained open until last summer, when the lights went out for good.


The building is slated to become the student centre of the neighbouring Ryerson University, and they were allowed to acquire the building on the condition that they refurbish and reinstall the sign once construction is completed.


Last night, the sign, in its original context, was lit up one last time as part of Nuit Blanche 2008.


At the risk of sounding corny, does anyone else have memories of Sam's that they would like to share?

  • gee hue 7y

    More of my own past, pulled apart ... as a teen (back in the late 70s) I used to drift downtown from the then-faraway suburb of Scarborough and spend hours browsing through the cluttered bins of records. I used to wander up and down Yonge St., imagining what it would be like to be sophisticated and to live downtown ...
  • Rabblefish 7y

    Ah, another escapee from Scarberia...

    They probably didn't have quite as many Wal-Marts and big box stores back then!
  • yeoldeblackhippie PRO 7y

    the grim reaper moves on ...........
  • showmeone 7y

    glad to har this iconic sign will be back---meanwhile thanks for the memories and this is a fav--!
  • G C 7y

    Damn, I missed this at nuit blanche...great capture!
  • topquark22 PRO 7y

    I remember years ago the fantastic classical selection at Sam's. The whole front room used to be full of classical CDs. Hard to imagine these days. Bye Sam, I will miss you.
  • Bill Harrison PRO 7y

    My wife and I used to visit Toronto from our home in Michigan frequently before - well let's just say before the unpleasantness of the last several years. I loved Sam's,and I picked up lots of great CDs there cheap, many of them not available in the States. I'd been looking for something by Fred Neil on CD since the shiny discs replaced vinyl, but always in vain until my wife spotted a British release of his eponymous album on the British Revola label at Sam's.

    I raise a glass to the memory of Sam's, and record stores generally the world over, I guess.
22 faves
Taken on October 5, 2008
  • ƒ/5.0
  • 6.5 mm
  • 1.3
  • 200
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
  • Show EXIF
This photo is in 10 groups
This photo is in 1 album

Additional info

  • Viewing this photo Public
  • Safety level of this photo Safe
  • S Search
    Photo navigation
    < > Thumbnail navigation
    Z Zoom
    B Back to context