In 2012, Canada Lands Company acquired the property of the Booth Street Complex —bordered by Booth, Norman, Rochester, and Orangeville streets in Ottawa’s Little Italy neighbourhood — from the federal government. The conditions of the transfer required that ‘best efforts’ be made to conserve the heritage character of the former federal heritage buildings, and that the spirit of the designations be incorporated into the overall site remediation plan and redevelopment strategy.
The Booth Street Complex features seven buildings, comprised of 17 individual structures. Constructed between 1911 and 1952, the buildings include laboratories, research, and office spaces designed for the use of the federal Department of Mines, which was active until the early 2000s.
As Heritage Consultants, ERA worked with Stantec, the Planning Consultant, to prepare the Adaptive Re-use Strategy, Statement of Cultural Heritage Value, and Cultural Heritage Impact Statement for this project, to support the planning application for the site’s development.
Most structures within the Booth Street Complex were designed by Werner Ernst Noffke, one of the city’s most influential and prolific architects of the early 20th century. Five of the seven buildings in the complex were designated as Recognized Federal Heritage Buildings for their association with federal research, testing, and development of fuels, minerals, and metals, and for their architectural design.
The historic character of the site provided the inspiration for the vision of the complex. Pathways, alleyways, and green spaces will in the future be designed to create an intimate and sheltered outdoor space, reinforcing the campus-like setting of the heritage buildings. The concept plan which establishes the parameters for future development, led by Stantec in collaboration with ERA, has now been approved by the City of Ottawa.