252 Metcalfe Street - A History of Excellence

We invite you to visit 252 Metcalfe Street when it opens in September, 2002.

In the early part of the 20 century, Ottawa was developing as Canada's capital. In July, 1906, John Rudolphus Booth, an Ottawa lumber baron, purchased property at 252 Metcalfe Street from Ellen and Martin W. Maynard. Upon buying the property, he demolished Maynard's modest house and assembled a team of Ottawa's finest architects and builders to construct a home that would rival his stone mansion, destroyed in the great fire of 1900. He retained architect John W.H. Watts (who designed the Wilbrod house, now the residence of the Australian High Commissioner), and ensured the high quality of the wood by supplying much of the lumber himself.

After J.R. Booth's death in 1925, 252 Metcalfe remained in the Booth family until 1947, when the family sold it to the prestigious Laurentian Club of Ottawa. The family wished to sell to someone who would retain the integrity of the house. True to their word, the members of the Laurentian Club preserved the original features of the Booth mansion. They made some changes in order to improve the facilities for the Club members, but maintained the magnificent hand carved wood-work, the eight fireplaces-each one on the ground floor was finished with a different type of Italian marble-the tapestried walls in the halls and stairways, most of the light fixtures, the large paintings in the foyer, and the cabinets and cupboards in the library and dining rooms.

252 Metcalfe became the centre of many members' lives, as the Laurentian Club hosted activities such as special dinners, theatre nights, dances, stag nights, golf tournaments, curling bonspiels, skating parties, and a snooker tournament. The 75 anniversary brochure proclaims, "Above all, [the Laurentian Club] provides an atmosphere of friendliness, conviviality, privacy, and comfort for its members and guests, served by a staff of capable and devoted employees, a number of whom have been with the Club for many years."

As a testament to its architectural and historical value, the Booth House was designated a heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act. Trinity Western University, the most recent owner of the Booth property, is committed to maintaining the historical integrity of 252 Metcalfe through a renewed identity as the Laurentian Leadership Centre. A "monument to late Victorian taste and to an era of burgeoning prosperity in eastern Canada," J.R. Booth's Metcalfe mansion will continue to express the "imagination, exuberance, and self-confidence of Canada" as it emerges into the next century.