5 things you didn’t know about Mayor L.D. Taylor

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Each week we’ll uncover some unusual and (hopefully) interesting facts about the city. This week we take on Vancouver mayor, L.D. Taylor.

1. He was Vancouver’s most-elected mayor

Mayor Taylor
Mayor Taylor judging Bathing Beauty Contest held at English Bay, 1928. Photo: Vancouver Archives Item: CVA 1477-668

Louis Denison Taylor was elected as the 14th mayor of Vancouver in 1910. Originally from Michigan, Taylor had a successful career in the newspaper business prior to beginning his political career in Vancouver. He ran for mayor 20 times, of which he was re-elected eight between 1910 – 1934. 

 2. He commissioned the construction of Sun Tower

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

Prior to purchasing the Vancouver World, L.D. Taylor worked for the Vancouver Daily Province. Sun Tower served as the World’s headquarters until being sold to the Vancouver Sun when Taylor left the newspaper world to pursue politics.

3. He (may have) lost the 1923 election because of a woodpecker…

He blamed poor voter turnout on a supposed woodpecker that hit a power transformer and shut down streetcars in a pro-Taylor riding.

4. He was investigated for corruption in 1928

Mayor L.D. Taylor
Mayor L.D. Taylor awarding medals, ca. 1931. Vancouver Archives Item: CVA 1477-162

In 1924, Taylor told a Province reporter that he had no intention of turning Vancouver into a “Sunday school town.” His relaxed attitude regarding petty crime was blamed for the proliferation of criminal behaviour, particularly because his “open town policy”, which encouraged police to focus resources on major crimes as opposed to victimless and vice crimes. This raised suspicion about Taylor’s involvement with Vancouver’s “known vice operators“, leading to a corruption investigation in 1928. He was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.

5. His political career ended with the largest electoral defeat in  Vancouver history

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

Pitted against political rival Gerry McGeer, who served as the lead prosecuting attorney in Taylor’s corruption investigation, Taylor lost by a record-breaking 25,000 votes. McGeer ran on an anti-crime platform and won the office of mayor again in 1947, but died in office. Taylor unsuccessfully contested several more elections and died in poverty at the age of 89. 

 

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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