YMHA 1951 - 2001 (Winnipeg Building Index)
Project: Former YMHA / proposed African Canadian Centre
Location: 370 Hargrave Street (Map)
First YMHA on Albert (Virtual Heritage Winnipeg)
Winnipeg's chapter of the Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA) was founded in 1919 and operated out of rented premises until 1935. That year, Max Steinkopf passed away and left to the organization the Imperial Dry Goods Block at 91 Albert Street which was converted into their first community centre complete with a theatre and gymnasium.
May 2, 1950, Winnipeg Free Press
In 1950 the YMHA unveiled plans for a new, custom-built community centre at 370 Hargrave Street at Qu'appelle Avenue. The $700,000 structure designed by Green, Blankstein Russell and Associates contained a gymnasium, pool, chapel, 500 seat auditorium, meeting rooms, restaurant, lounge and library.
The opening ceremony was held on November 9, 1952. It included a cornerstone laying by Max Cohen, long-time honourary president of the local YMHA, and a keynote address by Justice Samuel Freedman.
The centre was a hub for Jewish cultural life in Winnipeg until 1997 when its services were relocated to the Asper Jewish Campus.
June 19, 2001, Winnipeg Free Press
The building was then put up for sale but sat on the market for about 5 years with no takers. It was well-used in its 50 years of service and required around $1 million in renovations. In 1991 the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg decided to demolish it and sell the vacant land.
Since that time it has been a surface parking lot.
In January 2011 The African-Canadian Foundation announced that it had secured first right to purchase the site. They want to build a 24,000 sq ft building that would include a recreation centre, meeting hall, daycare, arts centre and restaurant. A second phase would include student apartments and African shops.
As of March 2013 the foundation still had not bought the land.
Order may cost African group Free Press (Mar 2013)
African community plans $18m downtown complex CBC (Jan 2011)
A boost for the inner city Winnipeg Free Press (Jan 2011)
An African Savannah in Winnipeg Observations... (Jan 2011)
'Peg's Little Africa West End Dumplings
The YMHA of Winnipeg 50th anniversary of the Jew in the West