RIP: Sam “The Record Man” Sniderman Passes at 92

Name behind now-defunct Sam the Record Man stores was an iconic music fixture in Toronto.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

Sam Sniderman, otherwise known as the founder of the iconic Toronto music store "Sam the Record Man," has died. He was 92 years old.

His first location, and one of the best known, was on Yonge Street, and spawned another 130 stores across the country.

CBC News released quotes from a statement released by Sniderman's family: "Sam was the last of the great Canadian showmen that were able to establish themselves as household names purely through the force of their personality. He was a mentor to literally hundreds of Canadian artists and musicians, and the Yonge Street record store and Sam's presence there was the centre of the Canadian music industry's universe for over three decades."

Sniderman was a music maven, boasting he knew tens of thousands of artists as well as carried their albums. He told The Star in 2001, “Sometimes I got stumped. But more often than not, you could ask me for the most obscure record on the planet and I would disappear for a few minutes and come back with it in my hands. Somebody once tried to catch me by asking for a recording of war music played by U-Boat crews in attack mode during World War II. I found it.”

After much competition by other music store giants like HMV, Sniderman was forced to file for bankruptcy in '01. It was reopened the following year by his two sons, however the financial troubles continued, and five years later they sold Sam the Record Man in Toronto to Ryerson University, where the building was demolished and plans for a student centre are still in the works.

A service for Sniderman will be held on Tuesday.