The YWCA opened its doors in 1897 to provide housing and services to women coming to Vancouver in search of education or employment.
After more than a century of experience helping women and families realize their full potential, the YWCA is now one of Metro Vancouver’s largest non-profit organizations. And while we continuously evolve to meet the changing needs of our community, we remain committed to our overarching vision: to achieve women’s equality.
Our roots in Vancouver
From the early days, the YWCA offered accommodation, employment and travellers' aid to young women who were new to the city. In 1904, the YWCA acquired property at Dunsmuir and Burrard, which served as its home base until the mid-'90s. With the acquisition of a larger facility, the YWCA was able to expand its services to meet new needs.
Meeting the needs of a changing community
With each passing decade, the YWCA continued to pave the way by filling gaps in society and addressing urgent community needs. The YWCA initiated teen programs like Hi-Y and Big Sisters, multicultural programs like MOSAIC and work-training programs like Focus at Work. The YWCA also maintains housing communities to establish support programs for single mothers and women leaving abusive relationships.
We have a responsibility to continue our proud history, but also to create the conditions for the work of the YWCA to ﬂourish in the future. —Janet Austin, CEO, YWCA Metro Vancouver
The next 100 years
In 2011, YWCA Vancouver changed its name to YWCA Metro Vancouver to reflect our commitment to serving women and families throughout the metropolitan region spanning Burnaby, Surrey, the Tri-cities, Maple Ridge, Langley/Aldergrove, Abbotsford, New Westminster, Richmond and North Vancouver.
Today Metro Vancouver looks to the YWCA for the leadership that comes from more than a century of helping women and families break the cycle of poverty and realize their full potential.
In the next 100 years, we are steadfast in our commitment to build on the work we began in 1897. As a charitable organization, we will continue to work toward positive social change to improve the lives of women and families throughout Metro Vancouver.