Person / Place / Thing
in grand style
Trinity Western students call the Booth Mansion
home while interning in Ottawa
PHO TO : TONY FOUHSE
it’s not your typical student residence. Each
fall and winter term, up to two dozen students
accepted into the Laurentian Leadership Centre
live and study for four months at the Booth Mansion,
the sumptuous former residence of Ottawa’s wealthiest
lumber baron, J.R. Booth. A designated heritage property,
the three-storey brick building built in downtown
Ottawa in 1909, retains a wealth of period detail, in-
cluding intricately carved woodwork, stained glass
windows, stenciled ceilings, tapestry wallpaper and
original sterling silver light fixtures.
The mansion stayed in the Booth family until 1947
when it became home of the famed Laurentian Club.
Trinity Western University purchased the property
for its planned leadership centre in 2001 when the
club was shutting down; the centre welcomed its first
students in fall 2002.
“The students live in the building, they take their
classes here, they cook meals in the communal kitchen.
They go out to their internships and they come back
here and have a shared experience. The community
life aspect for the students is really one of the highlights,”
says the centre’s director, Janet Epp Buckingham.
The students take nine hours of classes a week
focusing on leadership, ethics and public policy, says
Dr. Buckingham. Another 20 hours a week is spent
working in a political or government office on Par-
liament Hill or at an Ottawa-based NGO.
The purpose of the centre is “to encourage young
people to get a deeper understanding of the govern-
ment and political process,” says Dr. Buckingham.
“And we in fact do have a lot of students who either
come back to Ottawa or who stay on here. So it’s been
very successful in our original goals.”
“It’s been really fantastic,” says Ian Graham, a
fourth-year international studies student at Trinity
Western who attended the centre this past fall. Mr.
Graham interned in the office of Mark Warawa, the
member of Parliament for Langley, B.C., the riding
that encompasses Trinity Western.
“I’ve learned a lot about how politics work on the
inside,” says Mr. Graham. “Trinity Western is a Christian
university, and one of the purposes of the program is to
bring young Christian students into Ottawa and have
them in positions where they can have an influence.”
Living in a mansion was also part of the draw, he
admits. “It’s incredibly beautiful.” – léo charbonneau
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