5 things you didn’t know about Sun Tower


Each week we’ll uncover some unusual and (hopefully) interesting facts about the city. This week we take on the Sun Tower building.

1. It wasn’t always called Sun Tower

Sun Tower
View of Pender Street east of Cambie Street, showing the Sun Tower, 1927. Vancouver Archives Item: Str N164

The name “Sun Tower” resulted from the building’s sale to the Vancouver Sun. Prior to that, it was referred to as the World Tower, the World Building and the Vancouver World Building.

2. It was commissioned by Mayor L.D. Taylor

Mayor Taylor playing baseball. Vancouver Archives Item: CVA 1477-222

Before his political career, Mayor L.D. Taylor worked for the Vancouver Daily Province, where he earned experience as a newspapermen prior to purchasing the Vancouver World. Upon completion in 1912, Sun Tower served as the Vancouver World’s headquarters until being sold to the Vancouver Sun after Taylor left the newspaper world to pursue politics.

3. It was the tallest building in the British Empire

Dominion Building. City of Vancouver Archives. Ref: AM54-S4-2-: CVA 371-2711.

Measuring in at 82 metres tall, Sun Tower broke the previous record for the tallest building in the British Empire, which was held by the Dominion Building (located just a few blocks away). Sun Tower lost the title a year later to Toronto’s 85 metre tall Canadian Pacific Building.

4. It was scaled by the Human Fly

Sun Tower
Harry Gardiner climbing the World Building. Vancouver Archives Item: Bu P734

Harry Gardiner was famous for climbing tall buildings (without safety equipment), throughout Europe and North America. Gardiner scaled the outside of Sun Tower in 1918 adding to the list of the 700 buildings he climbed over the course of his career.

5. It hasn’t moved, but the address has changed

Sun Tower
Crowd on Beatty watching the “Human Fly” scale the World Building, 1918. Vancouver Archives Item: Bu P550

The City of Vancouver renumbered the address of Sun Tower from 100 West Pender St, to 128 West Pender in 2011. The update was the result with a street numbering bylaw that was instated following the construction of a neighbouring building.

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Adam Nanji is the Content Manager at Vancouver Is Awesome. When he’s not scouring the city for awesome news, he performs as ¼ of local band, Belle Game. Adam grew up in Vancouver and earned a degree in Cultural Studies with a double minor in Communication and Gender Studies from McGill University. He’s passionate about Vancouver’s social issues and local art. You’ll typically find him standing on a corner, contemplating where to eat next. Tell him what you think is awesome: adam@vancouverisawesome.com