The Old Sun Tower Vancouver, Canada © L.D’anna 2018
One of the most familiar landmarks in Vancouver sits on the southeast corner of Pender and Beatty Streets. Newspaper pioneer Louis Denison Taylor had it constructed to house his booming paper The World in 1910 at the height of an economic explosion in Vancouver, an era when the paper carried the largest amount of display advertising of any daily in North America.
It was a lively, aggressive paper and it made Taylor a big man in town. It needed a new plant, and LD made it big too. At 17 storeys and 272 feet, The World Building was the tallest building in the British Empire, with more than 84,000 square feet of floor space.
Some elements of its design were too risque for Vancouverites. “A row of nine semi-draped female figures, sculpted by Charles Marega, supports a cornice about halfway up the building; the bare breasts and sensuous poses scandalized the city’s bluenoses.” says biographer Daniel Francis in LD: Mayor Louis D. Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver, 2004.
But a recession starting in 1913 dealt Taylor’s newpaper company, along with many others, a serious blow. The World was not the only paper to fail – between 1914 and 1922, forty Canadian newspapers went under.
In 1915, Taylor lost control of both his paper and the building. It sat empty until 1924 when it was sold to Bekins, a Seattle moving company. But after The Vancouver Sun offices were destroyed by fire on 22 March 1937, it bought the old building and moved in.
Today the distinctive, completely refurbished building still graces the Vancouver skyline, functioning now as an office building.