Old Y Centre for Community Organizations


The story of this building and those that lived and worked in it begins on a wet November night in 1907. A young woman, arriving on a late train from the south, found herself going from door to door in Calgary looking for a place to stay the night. Many of the city's landlords were hesitant to take in young women as women were found to be expensive tenants. They were too fond of doing laundry and burning extra coal oil to heat their curling tongs. This particular lady was lucky. Just after midnight she rang Mrs. John McDougall's doorbell and was taken in for the night.

It didn't take Mrs. McDougall long to bring together some of the prominent ladies of Calgary in an effort to do something about the problem of accommodation for young women.

The corner stone of the YWCA located at 223-12 Avenue South West was laid on June 21, 1910.

After 50 years the Old Y was beginning to sag. When it was built, it was considered one of the most up-to-date and attractive buildings west of Toronto. In 1969, it was considered one of the most unattractive, least functional buildings west of Toronto.

In the Spring of 1971, the YWCA and the building that was it's first owned home parted company. The city of Calgary took over responsibility for it in a property swap that provided the YWCA with it's new site.

In early 1979, social service agencies housed in the Old Y, presented a proposal to the social services committee to save the building from demolition. The plan involved the tenants forming a society and taking over responsibility for the Old Y.

On November 26, 1980 the building was designated an Historic Site by the Minister, Mary J. LeMessurier. This designation secured the buildings future.

Tenants in the building as of this writing are:

The following are "ASSOCIATE MEMBERS":

Following is a very short listing of the over 200 past members:

The Old Y Centre currently houses over 30 different non-profit and charitable organizations serving Calgary and area. Our mandate is two fold.

First we are charged with the responsibility of restoring this grand old building.

Second, we offer space and meeting rooms to over 30 non-profit and charitable organizations at nominal cost.

For further information on how to become a member, rent office or meeting room space, call Darlene at 261-9660.

Index of Calgary Non-Profits