Happy birthday to The Vancouver Sun which is celebrating its centennial this weekend.
First published on February 12, 1912, The Sun was founded by John McConnell and Richard Ford, owners of a local magazine called the BC Saturday Sunset. In those days it was usual for political parties to bankroll newspapers as a way of getting their message out to the public. Objectivity was not valued as highly as it is today. For years the federal Liberal Party had helped to finance The World, owned by the on-again off-again mayor of the city, Louis D. Taylor. But Taylor's allegiance to the Liberals seemed to be weakening so party back-roomers decided to set up McConnell and Ford in business.
The launch of the Sun brought to four the number of daily papers in the city: two in the evening, the World and the Province, and two in the morning, the Sun and the News-Advertiser.
The World was located in its own building, the World Tower, still standing at the corner of Beatty and Pender. In 1915 Louis Taylor had to sell the paper. Having lost the financial support of the Liberal Party, the paper was hit hard by the economic recession that swamped the city in 1913. Advertising revenue plummetted and Taylor was unable to hold onto the business. He went on to have a successful political career as the city's longest-serving mayor. His paper survived under different ownership until 1924 when it was absorbed by, who else, the Sun.
In 1937 the Sun moved its operations into the World Tower and remained there until the end of 1965, which explains why the heritage building is more commonly known as the Sun Tower. The Sun had usually opposed Louis Taylor when he was in office and it must have irked the old politician (who died in 1946) to lose first his newspaper and then his building to his hated rival.