Monday, October 10, 2016

Booth Steet Complex

I really like Ben Wood. He's a bright, young lad who always seems to carry positive energy and thoughtfulness. He's a very good photographer who loves his city and seems to know it very well.

I first learned about Ben when he solved the very first Where In Ottawa photo challenge, and since then has solved several more. When I have asked readers who think that they know Ottawa to prove it, Ben has done so time after time. And for the latest challenge, Ben has proved himself to be knowledgeable yet again. Congratulations, my friend.

October's challenge was doubly difficult because, not only did I capture a small portion of the complex, I modified the photo to make it seem like an aged print (which of itself was a clue), but Ben used the image with the four other clues to correctly discover that this month's location is the Booth Street Complex, otherwise known as CanmetENERGY, a government research facility for Natural Resources Canada.

As Ben added in his answer, this facility, which is bordered by Booth, Norman, Rochester, and Orangeville streets, near Little Italy, in what is considered Centretown West. While some of the taller government offices that surround this complex were built in the 1950s and 60s, some of these structures date back to the 20s and 30s.

Here are the clues, explained:
  1. This challenge is stacked in your favour: there are few old smoke stacks left in the city, but the one that towers above this complex is clearly visible, especially when you pass the area along the Queensway.
  2. Think diner seating: of course, when you go to a classic diner, there are only two places where you want to sit, and they are either at one of the round stools along the bar or in a booth. I was looking for the latter, as part of the name of this complex.
  3. Where once there was a rail crossroad: until the 1950s, a railroad ran along what is now the Queensway, Highway 417, which runs east to west through the heart of our city. In fact, many railway lines intersected the city, where trains moved lumber and other goods from the core. In the 1920s and 30s, a huge lumber yard covered the land to the south of what is now CanmetENERGY, just east of Dow's Lake. A rail line ran from this lumber yard and ran northward, toward Lebreton Flats. This line snaked in an S-curve, where Booth Street and Orangeville Street now meet, and intersected the east-west line. Today, there's no evidence of the railway intersection's existence: I found it by looking on geoOttawa.
  4. No ceramics classes here: among the buildings for mines, minerals, and natural resources, this complex also conducted research on ceramics. But I can only assume no classes were held here (this clue was as much a guess as anything).

Although many of the buildings here are dated, they give us a glimpse into Ottawa's past and I hope that they will be preserved for many more years to come. To see a glimpse of this area now and in 1938, go to Ottawa Past & Present.

The next Where In Ottawa is Monday, November 7.

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