In the mid-19th century, the industrialization of first-world economies brought young men in great numbers into cities looking for work. In 1844 a group of people founded the YMCA in England to provide these new arrivals with a positive influence and a chance to make friends. The idea spread and the first YMCA in North America got its start in Montreal, Quebec in 1851.
Originally a place where religious teachings inspired young men to be the best they could be, we quickly expanded to serve people of all ages, faiths, backgrounds and abilities.
The YMCA in Canada has had a lasting influence on our country’s culture in many ways: three Canadian universities grew out of YMCA education programs (Carleton, York, and Concordia); and Canadian James Naismith, a YMCA staff member, created the popular game of basketball. For more information on the YMCA in Canada visit ymca.ca.