Sunday, November 28, 2010


This is the history of the YMCA in Verdun from it's inception in 1918 to app. 1985. My Word text is on the bottom wich I had to scan but you will have to be enlarged in order to read it. If members are unable to enlarge it, please let me know as I will have to retype it here. This is the english version and the french version will hopefully be in the Verdun Messager this week and I am trying to have the english version also printed. I was able to trace the 5 locations that the Y exhisted during it's history. Look at the plan and map I was able to get from some of my contacts.


Here is my text on the YMCA:

The YMCA (Yound Men's Christian Association) Southwestern Branch played an important role in the development of the youth of Verdun in the 20th century. The "Y" as we called it, was first established in 1918 on Rielle street and terminated it's presence in Verdun in the middle of the 80s.

The Y had a modest beginning on Rielle street from 1918 to 1920 then moved to 88 Church street (de l'Église) from 1920 to 1924. Number 88 no longer exhists today but was situated at the end of Edna street.

After 4 years on Church street, the Y moved for the third time to 4241 Wellington street between Galt and Gordon (1925 -1929). After 2 years at that address, the Y took possession of the second floor.

Afterwards the Y bought the land at 1000 Gordon street and a new building was opened to the public on the 26th of january 1930. It is in this magnificient building wich according to it's administrators, combined beauty, utility and efficiency, situated between Bannantyne and the aqueduct (Champlain boulevard was not built at that time), that the Y had it's most glorious years.

Despite the fact that the Y was an english protestant association, us francophones where always welcome. I remember when I lived on Galt street in the 40s, me and my friends would go to the Y on Gordon street wich had supurb sporting facilities and we would benefit of the swimming pool, billiard tables, weight lifting, dance hall and gymnasium. Also there was a tennis court to the right of the building as well as a large playing field wich extended as far as the aqueduct fence for basball in the summer and a skating rink in the winter.

However, with the diminishing english population in the sector and consequently the diminishing membership, the administrators decided to sell the property in 1958 to the École Secondaire Margarita wich had their school constructed to the right of the Y building and a connecting corridor was constructed to have access to the building and specially use the supurb swimming pool. The Y on Gordon street was eventually demolished to be reeplaced by a residential complex.

I disccovered that the Y made a donation of all their files to the Concordia University and I spent a day at their archives on Maisonneuve boulevard and after consulting their corrresponce, it was apparent thay they where experiencing financial difficulties wich was of concern to the administrators, Their studies showed a movement of the anglophone population towards the western sector of Verdun.

That is why the Y bought a piece of land owned by the Douglas Hospital at the extreme left of their property on the border with LaSalle wich was named Verdun/LaSalle YMCA at number 7105 LaSalle boulevard and the new building was officially opened on the 29th of September 1959, It is interesting to mention that the Y would use on ocasion the Douglas Hospital sporting facilities including the swimming pool, according to old members.

However, it again became evident the the lack of money and the small number of members could not go on and the LaSalle boulevard building was closed in the middle of the 80s.ending approximately 65 years of valuable service to the Verdun and surrounding population,

Guy Billard

Société d'Histoire et de Généalogie de Verdun

(15th year of valuable service to the population of Verdun) 






1 comment:

Guy Billard said...

Looks like the text cannot be enlarged so I will work on it tomorrow as it is past midnight and I have to hit the sack.