Sam Sniderman (1920-2012)

1999 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts

Time and circumstance took Sam Sniderman into business, but he is a man driven by a passion for art. Deeply romantic and sensitive, he has hidden behind a jesting and gregarious façade - "Well, I made money too, you know!" - while channeling his love of music into the selfless support of others.

He sold his first records in 1937. By the early sixties his store, "Sam the Record Man", had become legendary. He stocked everything, but his heart and efforts were behind young and rising Canadian talent. Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell are among the hundreds he helped, attending their concerts, promoting their records, ensuring Canadian music lovers bought Canadian artists. He came to symbolize the birth and evolution of the Canadian music industry and had a significant hand in the crafting of "CanCon" regulations that allowed Canadian artists to be heard in their own land.

He established the Sniderman Sound Recording Archive at the University of Toronto's School of Music, making it "as big as possible!", and continues to add material yearly. He also continues to volunteer his support for innumerable music-related projects, and is President of Canada's Audio-Visual Heritage. Member of the Order of Canada, he has an honorary doctorate from Ryerson Polytechnic University.