Though long past its prime by the time I moved to T.O. in 2001--its legendary "one cent Saturday" sales and 2nd floor clearance racks bursting with sealed '60s LPs priced at a buck a piece were well extinct at that point--Sam the Record Man still had enough old-school charm left to make me a regular customer. It wasn't just its idiosyncratic name or its gloriously honky-tonk perpetually spinning neon discs that beckoned me. Bottom line, considering its locale in T.O.'s most mainstream shopping area, it had a pretty damn thorough selection of CDs and DVDs. O.K., cetainly not Amoeba-thorough, but I was consistently blown away by how often I'd find items that I should not have expected to find at such a joint. I also loved how down-home the "decor" was--handwritten display case dividers, autographed walls, copious framed photos of Sam Sniderman posing with past music notables, and most evocative of all, ancient linoleum scuffed by the shuffling of many a rekkid collector. I'll live--there are still plenty of other fine record shops elsewhere in the city, downloading be damned for the time being--but my jaunts downtown will be a helluva lot less fun from now on.
May you stay forever Yonge.