100 Braid Street
New Westminster, BC
As the last remaining structure of New Westminster’s original 1904 BC Distillery complex, 100 Braid Street’s bright and bold demeanour held many stories from and following the height of Prohibition. Designed by then-prominent local firm Gardiner & Mercer, and constructed in 1929, the building first served as a compounding warehouse for the production of spirits. George Reifel, of the notorious rum-running Reifel family, oversaw operations as the Managing Director during this early period, and very likely enveloped the building in the Fraser River’s broader ‘starting point for many thousands of cases of alcohol that would mysteriously make their way to dry bars all across the USA’ (Vanderhill, 2012).
The distillery moved from spirits towards wine-making through the mid-century, before closing operations in the late 1970s. In the decades following, the property hosted a wide range of diverse and long-standing tenants, from lighting through makeup and bicycle manufacturers. Perhaps most notably, beginning in 2014, Susan Greig’s talented Braid Street Studios team crafted an incredibly diverse ‘cradle of creativity’ for artists and the broader community.
Much of the original, three-storey timber structure is unparalleled and exceedingly rare in grade and built composition. In salvaging its immense and intimidating bones, a storied chapter of local and provincial history will live to visibly shape those yet unwritten.
For more history on this building, please visit: