Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Building
Links and documents
1911/01/01 to 1913/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The 1911-13 Young Men's Christian Association Building (YMCA) is a large masonry structure connected by a modern addition to an enclosed commercial mall in downtown Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.
The YMCA is a grand Neo-Classical-style building with a stately exterior that wraps around a dynamic interior hub of recreational, educational and social service activities organized by employees and volunteers of an international movement dedicated since the mid-1800s to individual and community development. As the second YMCA built in downtown Winnipeg within a 12-year span, this large multi-purpose structure was well equipped to respond to the needs of a rapidly growing city, incorporating a pool, gymnasium, meeting rooms, offices and boarding-house accommodation. Its elegant design by Jackson and Rosencrans of New York City in association with J.H.G. Russell of Winnipeg, and its refined materials and details, have provided an enduring and adaptable focal point valued by generations of users. Expanded and rehabilitated in conjunction with other downtown renewal initiatives, the YMCA continues to be an important and active community resource specializing in health fitness, child care, employment training and services for women, seniors and youth.
Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, September 16, 1985
Key elements that define the heritage character of the YMCA site include:
- the structure's downtown location on the east side of Vaughan Street between Portage and Ellice avenues, facing west toward the historic Public Press Building and Isbister School
Key elements that define the YMCA's substantial exterior character and Neo-Classical style include:
- the building's large rectangular form, six storeys at the front organized around a central interior light court and three storeys at the rear, of brick construction on a raised concrete foundation with colourful finishes of red brick, limestone and terra cotta on three sides and a flat roofline
- the classic symmetrical composition of the front section's primary facades, distinguished at the corners by bold terra cotta quoins, on the west by slightly projecting end pavilions, and on all sides by a distinct vertical division, including a high base clothed in ashlar limestone and rusticated terra cotta, an ornamented second floor with terra cotta belt courses and dramatic window surrounds, a flat brick upper level, pronounced frieze and cornice, and low ornamental copper parapet
- the multiple windows, mostly tall rectangular flat-headed openings vertically aligned in singles and pairs
- the impressive ashlar stone frontispiece with double doors, transom and fanlight set in a high round arch framed by paired Doric columns, engaged pilasters, a full entablature and balustrade, and with the name 'YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION' in a terra cotta belt course overhead
- the elevated two-storey south entrance porch, identical in design and finishes to the primary facades and set back from the sidewalk, with a staircase that leads to a round-arched doorway
- the wealth of delicate stone and terra cotta detailing throughout, including Greek key fret, wave-scroll, dentilled mouldings, triglyphs, etc.
- the rear annex of buff-coloured brick with large rectangular lintelled and segmental-arched openings, modest detailing, etc.
Key interior elements that define the building's heritage character include:
- the main entrance with a broad flight of stairs to the large main-floor lobby, interior courtyard covered by a skylight, rear pool, etc.
- the second-floor gymnasium with elevated running track around its perimeter
- finishes and materials such as gym's exposed brick walls and hardwood flooring, etc.
City of Winnipeg
City of Winnipeg Act
Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Community Organizations
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Pool or Beach
- Recreation Centre
- Sports Facility or Site
- Group Residence
Architect / Designer
Jackson and Rosencrans
Location of Supporting Documentation
15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB
Cross-Reference to Collection