Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sam the Record Man/Then and Now

Yonge Street in the 1960's. Postcard courtesy of Chuckman's.

There was a time not that long ago, when buying records (vinyl) at Sam's was a Saturday ritual.
You'd take the subway downtown and walk the strip up to Yonge and Gould.
This is of course before the young shoe shine boy, Emanuel Jaques was cruelly tortured and murdered prompting a sweeping "clean-up" of the Yonge Street strip.
Back then a record cost anywhere between $1.98-$4.98 and were visually very impressive.
There was a big wall display with new releases and sale items covered in hand made signs.
Riding home on the subway, you'd review your purchases and be tempted to unseal the albums in search of the extras inside (posters, lyric sheets,booklets, stickers etc) or just to look at the
gatefold inner cover. Over time the actual records were getting so thin that even the new ones were warped and would skip when you finally got them home.

An early shot of the Sam's facade.

Looking south on Yonge with A&A Records as well as Sam's. The Empress Hotel is also visible.
Sadly it's all gone in 2010 and the Empress Hotel faces demolition as well.

Before Sam's in 1949.
This is all that's left and soon to be demolished as well.
Here's link to a vintage Sam's commercial on Youtube.
Here's another former customer's reflections on the store.

Does anyone remember the short lived "Sam the Chinese Food Man" restaurant that was located a few doors north in the early 1970's?
 Sadly Sam (the Record Man) Sniderman passed away yesterday at the age of 92.
Funeral held for Toronto’s Sam Sniderman | CTV Toronto News