YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo

History of the Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA

The Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA has been building healthy communities since it was founded in 1895.

  • 1895 - E.P. Clement was the first president. The two upper flats of a building located at 26 Queen Street North in Berlin served as the home for the Y for the next eleven years. In this opening year, the annual membership fee was $4.00!
  • 1906 - Although the social, religious and physical activities of the new Y were very successful, financial problems forced the organization to disband. For 13 years there was no YMCA, but the desire to re-establish the organization stayed strong.
  • 1920 - KW YMCA started International work in 1920 with the help of A.R. Kaufman. We have been involved in programs in countries such as Antigua, Peru, Poland, Surinam, China and Scotland, and also the Gaza Strip. We are currently partnered with Zimbabwe (since 1982) and Zambia (since 2006).
  • 1922 - New building opened at Queen and Weber Streets in Kitchener becomes the YMCA's main facility for the next 60 years.
  • 1927 - Residential camping begins with site on Paradise Lake near St. Clements.
  • 1971 - Waterloo Family YMCA opens on Lincoln Road with a mandate to serve the entire family. Previously, the YMCA focused on men and boys. This branch served the community until 2005.
  • 1982 - A.R. Kaufman Family YMCA opens and replaces Queen Street facility.
  • 1985 - Host program—the first program to help immigrants settle into their new life—launched by matching newcomers with Canadians.
  • 1989 - Child care service begins with opening of a centre at Holy Rosary School in Waterloo.
  • 1995 - Outdoor Centre opens featuring year-round programs with an environmental focus.
  • 1997 - First Annual Giving Campaign enhances our charitable activities.
  • 2003 - YMCA Ontario Early Years Centre opens in Waterloo.
  • 2007 - Agreed to a long term collaborative relationship with the YMCA of Cambridge.
  • 2009 - First Virtual YMCA opens at St. John's School in Kitchener.
  • 2011 - The Stork Family YMCA opens on the west side of Waterloo.