Sam The Record Man was once an iconic brand and an integral player in the development of homegrown Canadian music in throughout the last century. The flagship Toronto store on Yonge Street closed in 2007 and, beyond a nagging fight over what to do with the sign, that's probably the last many Canadians have heard about it.
But, 10 years later, there's still one final Sam The Record Man remaining in Belleville, Ontario, about two hours east of Toronto. A modest shop inside Quinte Mall, it doesn't exactly hold the same prominence the Yonge Street location once did. But that hasn't stopped the owners from trying to prolong the legacy of the brand and inflate the strange remnant of the once-influential piece of music retail history.
Owner Spencer Destun recently filed an application with Ontario's ministry of tourism, culture and sport to make the Belleville Sam The Record Man an official tourist attraction, which, among other things, would make the province erect a sign along the highway alerting drivers to the store. It was rejected.
Eleanor McMahon, Ontario Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport, said a retail store like this final Sam doesn't fit the usual criteria for tourist designation. But Destun thinks his store deserves to be an exception, so he's doing things the old fashioned way: collecting signatures. Yes, that includes an onlne petition, which currently sits at 177 signatures (still a ways to go to hit its 1,000 target). But, according to a news story in Metro, a paper version also been signed by hundreds more within the store.
Just imagine how many more signatures that petition would get if there was a sign alerting people to its existence.