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Sam Sniderman

Sam Sniderman
Sam The Record Man Sniderman in 1979.jpg
The Record Man shown in his flagship store in 1979 with stacks of records.
BornJune 15, 1920
DiedSeptember 23, 2012(2012-09-23) (aged 92)[1]
Toronto, Ontario
Resting placeMount Sinai Memorial Park, Toronto [2]
Other namesSam the Record Man
Known forFounder of Sam the Record Man retail chain, Promoter of Canadian music and leading advocate for Canadian content broadcast policies.
AwardsOrder of Canada

Sam Sniderman, CM (June 15, 1920 – September 23, 2012) was a Canadian businessman best known as the founder of the Canadian record shop chain Sam the Record Man. Sniderman was also a major promoter of Canadian music including involvement in pushing for the Canadian content (CANCON) broadcast regulations and creating the Juno Awards.

Life and career

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Sniderman grew up in its Jewish enclave known as Kensington Market.[3] He attended high school at Harbord Collegiate Institute and started selling records in his brother Sidney's store, Sniderman Radio Sales and Service, in 1937.[3] In 1959 he opened his first store on Toronto's Yonge Street, and then moved it to the iconic 347 Yonge Street flagship store location in 1961.[4] In 1969, he started franchising the store.

He retired in 2000 and turned over ownership of the business to his sons, Bobby and Jason, and Sid's daughters Lana and Arna. The flagship Toronto store that bore his name closed in 2007 and its distinctive façade was declared a heritage site by the city.[5]

Following the closure, Sniderman expressed his support for Ryerson University's bid to expropriate the Yonge Street property if his children and nieces failed to negotiate a deal to sell the property to the university.[5] In the end, Ryerson reached a deal to purchase the property from the family.[6]

Awards and honours

On October 20, 1976, he was invested into the Order of Canada. He was appointed to the Order's third tier, Member, for "found[ing] the Recordings Archive Library at the University of Toronto, now the largest of its kind in Canada. For his constant support of Canadian talent and concern for the preservation of our cultural heritage".[7]

Sniderman was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997.

Sam Sniderman himself remained an active participant in the Canadian music industry until his death. Always a believer in the "more is more" philosophy, he established the Sniderman Sound Recording Archive at the University of Toronto's School of Music, ensuring that it is "as big as possible." Sniderman spoke at the 2006 East Coast Music Awards. In 1999, Sniderman received the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, a companion award of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, for his tireless support of Canadian musicians.[8]

His son Jason Sniderman is a musician and was also an executive with Sam the Record Man. Another son, Bobby Sniderman, went into business for himself as proprietor of The Senator restaurant.


  1. ^ Granastein, Rob (2012-09-23). "Toronto icon Sam Sniderman dies". Toronto. Archived from the original on 2012-09-24.
  2. ^ Ballingall, Alex (2012-09-25). "Sam Sniderman laid to rest after funeral in Toronto". The Toronto Star. Toronto. Archived from the original on 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  3. ^ a b Slaughter, Graham (2012-09-24). "Sam The Record Man founder Sam Sniderman dies at 92". The Toronto Star. Toronto. Archived from the original on 2012-09-24.
  4. ^ Bradburn, Jamie (2012-09-25). "Vintage Toronto Ads: Selling Sam the Record Man". Torontoist. Toronto: Ink Truck Media. Archived from the original on 2012-10-12.
  5. ^ a b Girard, Daniel (2007-07-03). "Ryerson ramps up plan to win Sam's site: Founder Sniderman backs expropriation bid to make his defunct store university's `front door'". The Toronto Star. Toronto. p. A6.
  6. ^ "Ryerson buys Sam the Record Man property". CBC News. Toronto. 2008-01-18. Archived from the original on 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  7. ^ Order of Canada citation
  8. ^ "Sam Sniderman biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 4 February 2015.

External links



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