The early beginning of Bible Society work in our district date from the era of visits by Rev. John West (1828) and Rev. James Thomson (1830 and 1838) who established depositories and founded Auxilaries in Upper Canada.
Annual reports list contributions from Ottawa in 1833 though Bible Society work did not begin here until 1837 when the Rev. William Smart of Brockville, and agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, formed a branch in Bytown. A depository of scriptures was located in Mr. H. Bishoprick's Drug and Chemist Shop on Wellington St. in 1839. The official Society struggled for existence and was officially established on Nov. 2nd, 1846 at a meeting held in the Free Church, Lower Bytown with the Honorable Thomas McKay named President. By 1848, new premises were found at George hay and Company's Hardware store in Lowertown. The Society was linked with the Montreal Auxiliary until 1855 when Bytown was incorporated as the City of Ottawa. The Perth Auxiliary, previously associated with Montreal, linked with Ottawa in 1869.
Beginning in 1855 and continuing for 65 years, the work of the Society was conducted from the John Durie Bookshop on Sparks Street. This building still stands, bearing the sign "Bible House" sixty feet above the pedestrian mall.
In 1904 the Ottawa Auxiliary became a member of the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) and the following year celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in Dominion Church, the same church in which, as Metcalfe Street Methodist Church, it had been organized in 1855.
In 1920 the Auxiliary moved its Depository from the Sparks Street location to rented premises on Laurier Avenue. Land was purchased at 315 Lisgar Street and the new Bible House, constructed for $21,000, opened in 1922 free of debt.
Over the years the Bible House has undergone several renovations and updates. In 1980 the decision was made to transfer ownership of the Bible House property to the National Office in Toronto.
We continue to maintain a strong presence in downtown Ottawa, as we serve the Bible needs of Eastern Ontario through our Regional Office.