Built in 1927-29 on the NW corner of W Georgia and Hornby Streets, the Georgia Medical-Dental Building was the first art deco skyscraper built in Vancouver. Amongst the rich ornamentation on the outside of the building were three 11-foot-high terracotta statues of WW1 nursing sisters, gracing the three visible corners from the 10th floor. Architects McCarter and Nairne had served in WW1. McCarter had been wounded and credited the nurses with saving his life. The sculptures, designed by Joseph Francis Watson, were a way to honour them.
In 1989, the 17-storey building was razed and replaced by the 23-storey Cathedral Place tower. Cue public outcry about destroying an iconic building and its ornamentation. Unfortunately, the heavy terracotta nurses proved difficult to remove. Replicas were mounted on the new building, on a lower floor for a closer view from the ground. A fibreglass replica of the head is on display in the Cathedral Place lobby.
Read more about nursing monuments in Vancouver’s Monuments to Nurses, Nina Rumen, RN, BScN and RNABC History of Nursing Group (revised version 2008).