John R. Booth Residence

October-25-05

Remarks by John McKay, MP Scarborough-Guildwood
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance
on Behalf of
The Honourable Stephan Dion
Minister of the Environment
and The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
at the Plaque Unveiling Ceremony Commemorating

The National Historic Significance of the
John R. Booth Residence

Ottawa ,  October 25, 2005

Good evening! Bonsoir!

I am delighted to be here this evening as we commemorate the national historic  significance of one of Ottawa ’s finest houses.

A house built in 1909 by one of Ottawa ’s leading citizens in the Queen Anne revival style to serve as a showpiece and as a home.

A house that is part of history, and where history was no doubt made.

My colleague, the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment, has asked me to convey his greetings, as well as his regrets that he could not join us.

As you know, Minister Dion is deeply committed to the conservation and presentation of our country’s natural and cultural heritage.

He understands the national historic significance of this special place, and the value of preserving it for future generations.

In the media release announcing today’s ceremony, Minister Dion called the John R. Booth Residence a striking example of a home built in the Queen Anne revival style that was popular in Canada in the years preceding the First World War.

With few of these homes remaining today, he said, its preservation will allow future generations to appreciate this remarkable and unique part of Canada ’s built heritage.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque we are unveiling today commemorates and recognizes the John R. Booth Residence as a place of national historic importance.

It visibly makes this house part of the national network of people, places and events that have marked Canada ’s history, and been designated to have national historic significance.

It will be here always, to help Canadians understand and appreciate this important place and the important chapter it represents in our shared history.

I commend the members of the Laurentian Club and Trinity Western University for having the foresight and the vision to maintain the unique features of the John R. Booth Residence over the years.

Its woodwork, tapestries, sculpted staircases and marble fireplaces. Its gables and stone moulding.

When you come here, you truly experience a rich part of Canada ’s history. Of our development as a nation. An age when timber was king in Ottawa .

When lumber barons like John R. Booth turned sawmills into fortunes, and built fine homes for themselves and their families. He was a remarkable man.

The founder of a business empire that included a railway, a steamship company, a hydroelectric utility and a cement company, as well as sawmills and pulp and paper operations.

He remained active in his companies until his death at the age of 98 in 1925.

The magnitude of John R. Booth’s achievements can still be seen in this fine house.

And perhaps not surprisingly.

The Queen Anne revival style that was used in its design is synomonous with comfortable, often luxurious living.

With creating visual appeal as well as appealing interior spaces.

John R. Booth wanted this house to be a worthy replacement for his stone mansion, which was lost in the great fire of 1900.

With the help of Ottawa architect John Watts, he clearly succeeded.

Today his house is much the way it was when his family sold it to the Laurentian Club in 1947.

It has welcomed many of Ottawa ’s finest citizens over the years.

Business deals were made and friendships sealed within its rooms.

History was no doubt made here – and perhaps will continue to be made here.

But we can rest assured…thanks to Trinity Western University ’s commitment to maintain its architectural and historical integrity…that the John R. Booth Residence National Historic Site of Canada will continue to help Canadians to understand and appreciate Ottawa ’s early years for generations to come.

Merci! Thank you!