Description of Historic Place
The Booth Building is situated on the north side of Sparks Street in the core of the Ottawa business district. It is a large structure of reinforced concrete with an attractive, austere façade. The linear forms and extensive glazing combine in a simple, repetitive design topped by a projecting, flat cornice. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Booth Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Booth Building is associated with the development of early 20thcentury Ottawa and with the J.R. Booth family of the Ottawa lumber trade. Jackson Booth, one of the sons, was active in civic life as chairman of the Ottawa Improvement Commission. Involved in the development of the business district, he owned several existing office buildings and constructed several major office blocks. In 1908, in partnership with J.A.H. Holbrook, he financed the Booth building. This illustrates the family’s withdrawal from the lumber industry and the transition of Ottawa from a 19thcentury lumber town into a 20thcentury commercial centre.
The Booth Building is a good example of early concrete construction technology and the problems faced by architects in cladding such a structure. The Booth Building’s uncluttered facades and linear forms openly express its structural elements with a simplified and repetitive treatment of the exterior. This functional structure exhibits good craftsmanship and materials.
The Booth Building reinforces the present character of Ottawa’s central business district and is familiar to people working in the vicinity, to local residents, and to pedestrians.
Dana Johnson, Blackburn Building, 165 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 85-026; Booth Building, 165 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 85-026.
The character-defining elements of the Booth Building should be respected.
Its functional design, good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the large massing and high-rise design of the symmetrical structure with simple, linear forms and repetitive design;
-the seven-bay main elevation of steel and extensive glazing, topped by a projecting flat cornice;
-the rustication of the flanking end-bays;
-the facing of Ohio sandstone on the upper floors and the marble facing along the one-storey base containing the shop fronts.
The manner in which the Booth Building reinforces the commercial centre of downtown Ottawa and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
-its design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship between the surrounding buildings and the streetscape of Sparks Street in the business district of Ottawa;
-its flat façade and store front windows which make it known to passersby on Sparks Street.