604 Now

The Nine Nude Maiden Statues In Vancouver That Drove A Mayor To Bankruptcy

Vancouver sun tower nine maidens

Photo: Tarrin / Gossamer Blog

When L.D. Taylor, a former Mayor of Vancouver, commissioned nine nude statues to ornate the Sun Tower, he likely didn’t expect that it would one day lead to his (financial) demise.

That building the maidens reside on is one you’ve probably noticed today, with its large green-domed roof standing tall over West Pender Street.

In fact, at 17 storeys, it was once the tallest building in the British Empire and acted as home to newspaper Vancouver Daily World.

RELATED: Landmark 101: The Story Behind Stanley Park’s 9 O’ Clock Gun

Taylor was once editor of the paper and during an economic boom, bought the entire building.

The Sun Tower, then called the World Tower, was created in the Beaux-Arts architecture style, which was once referred to as “the opulent bastard of all styles.”


It costed a pretty penny at the time too, $625,000, but what made it so shocking was its ornaments.

The half-naked statues are known as the Nine Maidens, and each of them line the outside of the eighth floor. They still stand today.

“The bare breasts and sensuous poses scandalized the city’s bluenoses,” wrote L.D Taylor biographer, Daniel Francis.


The Sun Tower Scandal

People were so appalled by the imagery, that no one wanted to rent out the space. A tour guide with Forbidden Vancouver said men would take “the long way home,” from work just to catch a glimpse of the statues.

Taylor had also constructed the tower shortly before an economic slump in 1913, a factor that contributed to him ultimately losing the newspaper and building in 1915.

A Seattle moving company, Bekins, bought it in 1924, and then in 1937, The Vancouver Sun bought the building.

But that didn’t stop Taylor from success, as he soon became Vancouver’s longest sitting mayor. The building, although renovated, still stands today, Named Maidens included.

For more Vancouver news, check out our History section


Log in or create an account to save content

Become a local insider