Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Les and Bill,

I have made some major discoveries on the YMCA in Verdun in the 20th century. I am writing an article on the evolution of the Y from its inception up to the end. There where 5 different locations. I will not divulge all my research at this time as I am preparing an article in french for our society (SHGV), for the Verdun Messager and also in english for this site so I will keep the suspense going for a little while longer. However, I will mention at this time that I have discovered that all the YMCA Verdun branch files where taken over by the Concordia University and I made contact with a key person, arranged a meeting and spent the full day yesterday (tuesday) at the University going through several files going as far back to the 20s. Needless to say, a fascinating experience wich I hope to repeat in the near future.

With the help of Bill, I can now confirm that the building that he pointed out to me on the Google map, is the correct one situated at 7105 LaSalle Blvd, Verdun (extreme limit with LaSalle) on a former Douglas hospital piece of land. With the enclosed photo of the front page of the January 21st 1960 Annual Report, we can recognise the building.

One piece of information that I have not yet discovered is the date that the Verdun/Lasalle branch closed down for good, ending what has been approximately 70 years of valuable service to the youth of Verdun.

I think Bill can help me on this. Also, Bill, we would like to hear more anexdotes of your souvenirs at this Y branch. I seem to have read somewhere that Y members used the Douglas pool facilities.



john allison said...

Guy. I am looking forward to that history. I know that many of our members have very fond memories of the YMCA. What a great time growing up and having a place like the "Y", and the "Nat", and even the different programs like the Air Cadets, playing baseball for Fergie, etc. . Many us came from poor families and didn't have much. We even had to start working while we were still in elementary school to be able to afford "the movies'. I love this site and those that make such a wonderful contribution here. I won't mention any names, because I know I will probably forget someone. But each of you know who you are. To each of you, I say thank you so much. "Keep those cards and letters coming!"

Les F said...

Guy there was a gal name of Nancy Marrelli who just retired from Concordia on Sept 30th this year. She was a smart gal ,who wrote a few books on Monteal etc etc. she also was a contact for the YMCA stuff we've posted over the years. All the Y ' photos of the buildings on Gordon & Wellington were from the Concordia site, the swimming pool shots originated from BNQ site. The complete history of the Y was ,as you say , on the Concordia site & we posted links to it several times over the years. However I notice now some slight changes in the web site , so perhaps the new topdog, made some changes too.... You are fortunate Guy to live close by & take advantage of all the resources available thorugh different library's and archives. I know if I lived in Montreal even for only a few mothns I could gleem a lot of information & old photgraphs to share on here..... Keep up your efforts, because they are apppreciated by us all,.As are the input from everyone ......... Cheers !! HF&RV

Les F said...

here is a link to some of the books Nancy Marrelli collaborated on ....I also seem to recall here doing a 'project' of going to all the Taverns in Montreal many years ago......I like that ,little did I know I was working on research for the same type of 'project' while I lived back there....a history of Taverns in Montreal.....hahahah HF&RV

Les F said...

Guy Billard said...

Nancy Morelli is the first person I tried to contact but I was referred to Caroline Sigouin at the Concordia University who was absolutely marvelous. She spent a good part f the day at my side helping me through the jungle of documents. I had first contacted her by e-mail and she had already put aside the files that I was interested in so this saved a lot of time.

Les F said...

Yes, Nancy Marrelli ,is no longer there Guy, she retired on September 30th of this year 2010. I guess Caroline Sigouin is te replacement person ? They do have a lot of resources there,so it's good to hear that she was well prepared for you. HF&RV

Les F said...

Nancy Marrelli, Director of Archives, Retires
in Concordia University Archives
30 Sep 2010
After 45 years of service at Concordia University, Nancy Marrelli is taking a well-earned retirement.

Nancy Marrelli at her desk in the Archives, August 2003.

Nancy began her career at the library of Sir George Williams University, one of the two founding institutions of Concordia University. In 1982, following a fire in the building that housed the Archives, she made the leap. From that time, she has been deeply involved in the archival milieu in Quebec, Canada, and the world, all the while maintaining a strong commitment to Concordia University. She has been named archivist emerita, and will continue to participate in several projects of the University, and will pursue professional activity particularly in the area of copyright (with the Canadian Council of Archives) and the Archival Solidarity Project (International Council of Archives).

..............................Have Fun and Remember Verdun......................................
Btw: This is the same link for Concordia that I
ve posted over the years ,although the colour scheme has changed & it's basic layout is a little different ,so perhaps (like I mentioned earlier) the new regime has some changes implemented already.
I hope it makes it easier for us to search their archives ,because I've been getting information from there for many years ///ie Montreal type of stuff..................

Les F said...

Ah ha , I love gettiing it right, Concordia started it's new look website only a few weeks ago,according to their new look website:
3 Nov 2010
The Concordia University Archives launches its new website today.

The new site is powered by Drupal, a leading open source content management system. It has been reorganized and restructured to be more user-friendly. An improved search system is now in place, which enables the user to access the descriptions of a large number of fonds and collections held by the Archives. In addition, we are in the process of developing a feature to showcase online exhibitions, which will be launched in the near future.

“I am convinced that our new website will meet the needs of the most advanced research. Congratulations to the team for this update!”
— Marie-Pierre AubĂ©, Director, eDocs Management and University Archives

The site was designed by Postimage and art directed by Concordia graduate, Sara Morley (BFA ‘94, Studio Art). Drupal consultation, implementation and programming were done by Koumbit, a local non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote the appropriation of open source software by social groups in Quebec, Canada and abroad. The server was configured by Scott Prentice, Computer Systems Coordinator, Communication Studies.

We invite you to search our archives, and we hope that you like the new look.


Bill McKiernon said...

I wish I could add more. I remember going to the "Y" Day camp around 1964 to 1966. (maybe a little after that as well). They had Penny Carnivals on the last Friday of the camp week. I seem to recall going to the Douglas Pool on one of the camp days in the week. I was 8 - 10 years old when I went and it was a little while ago now. I didn't use the facilities other than Day camp. I do remember there was quite a nice Gym on the second floor with free weights and full mirrors on the walls. If I remember anything elso or find a membership card or anything, I'll let you know. Happy that I could help verify the building. Keep up the great detective work!

Les F said...

Well I thought I had a couple of photos from in front of the old YMCA on Lasalle Blvd,one with a few people standing in front of the door,.and this one for what it's worth showing the old Oak tree in front of the building.......... (don't even know where I got these pics)


Guy Billard said...

This is great. You now confirm that the Y had an arrangement with the Douglas Hospital to use their sporting facilities. I can now include this information in my article. Thanks for the information.

Diane Roberts said...

Winston, remember pulling groceries on your wagon or sled from "Dominion's"? All for about 10 cents and you had to climb all those stairs!...Diane

Guy Billard said...

The last time the YMCA was listed in the Lovell's directory is 1984, 26 years ago. This would indicate that the Y ended it's operations in Verdun at that time. Can anyone confirm that this would be correct ?

Les F said...

Guy Concordia is good for historic accounts of some of the YMCA history (archived stuff of course) However you might be able to find out more recent YMCA history from the 'Y' itself.
There are several sites out there for the searching .and here is one in a PDF file that may lead you to a new (or at the very least 'another) source for info.
Good Luck with your project Guy, & we look forward to more input ,who knows maybe even a motherload of old photographs too. ...........Cheers !! HF&RV

Guy Billard said...

I don't feel like going back downtown for a while yet. In the meantime, I have other sources I can consult and hopefully I will get the answer. Thanks again for your feeddback.