200 East 7th Avenue

An industrial building was erected here in 1910 for the Vancouver Breweries Ltd. It was designed by Dalton and Eveleigh, and Smith and Sherborne built it for $10,000. In 1912 a ‘reinforced concrete engine room’ was added at the cost of a further $10,000. In 1915 the operation here was identified as ‘BC Breweries’. This was a holding company established by Henry Reifel, covering Vancouver Breweries, Union Brewing (in Nanaimo), Canadian Brewing and Malting and Pilsner Brewing of Cumberland. Reifel had acquired Doering and Marstrand’s Vancouver Breweries, (the company that brewed here), and moved brewing operations to his new Yew Street brewery that he developed in 1912. That same year British interests acquired the company, but it was technically bankrupt by 1915. It continued operating, and Henry Reifel returned in 1918 to run the reorganized British Columbia Breweries (1918) Ltd. (It’s operations were somewhat limited as from 1917 to 1921 BC was theoretically ‘dry’). In 1923 it was renamed as Brewers & Distillers of Vancouver. Henry Reifel remained president until 1933.

The building that was here weren’t part of brewery operations once prohibition was introduced in 1917. It was vacant in 1918, and in 1919 Auto Maintenance Co were tenants. In 1920 it was rebuilt to its current design as a garage. The permit says it by Canadian Breweries Ltd, who hired James Kelly to carry out the $20,000 of construction, although no architect was identified. The street directories don’t list any business called Canadian Breweries in Vancouver, and once completed this building was listed as ‘Ye Olde Brewery Garage’, a business run by Harry Stone. Our best guess is that this was never associated with the brewery business, but was a redevelopment and reuse of the old brewery premises by Henry Reifel’s Canadian Brewing and Malting (who also had James Kelly as designer and contractor of their $70,000 Yew St brewery addition in 1913). Joseph Weetman took over running Ye Olde Brewery Garage in 1922.

In 1925 The Crescent Motor Co were based here, run by W H & A S Johnston, with Reliance Auto Painting at the back. Crescent were a dealership promising ‘Special Values in Used Cars’. They stayed here until the early 1930s, but by 1935 had been replaced with Caleb  Deeming’s gas and oil station, and the Sawdust Fuel Co, (which sounds like a dangerous mix of businesses). (Caleb’s son Al also ran a gas station on Main Street a few years later). Campbell Motors had their garage operations here in 1940 (and a showroom on Kingsway), and Reliance shared the rear of the premises with Golightly Machine Works. The businesses at the rear were still there at the end of the war, but Canadian Mixermobile, manufacturers had taken over the garage.

This was a wartime business – in 1945 they had an order worth over $5 million to supply 250 cranemobiles and 750 lodormobiles for the British Army. “The company has already shipped 440 cranemobiles and 50 lodormobiles, worth $2,000,000. Cranemobiles and lodormobiles are both rubber-tired gasoline vehicles. The former is equipped with a crane and the latter with a hydraulic lift.”. In 1947 they were replaced by Johnston Motor Truck and Repair, who were still here in the 1950s. In our early 1980s picture B&D Autobody were operating here, and they were still here in the early 2000s when the building was included in a condo project called District.

After restoration new tenants moved in; the Main Street Brewing Co. Although the building had been developed by a brewing company, as far as we can tell this was the first time the building was actually associated with brewing.


Posted 1 March 2021 by ChangingCity in Mount Pleasant, Still Standing

Tagged with

%d bloggers like this: