Single moms at Y Pender
About the YWCA

Our Story

YWCA Metro Vancouver opened its doors in 1897 to provide housing and services to women arriving in Vancouver in search of education or employment. 

Originally named the Young Women’s Christian Association, our founders were dedicated women concerned about the salvation, safety and living conditions of young women new to the city.  

Today, we have a much broader focus, but we've kept our name because it's a part of our legacy. The YWCA today is inclusive and provides support regardless of religion, race, age or gender.  

After nearly 125 years supporting women and families as they pursue their dreams and goals, YWCA Metro Vancouver is now one of the province’s largest and most diversified 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

The organization’s original location was a cottage at 633 Homer Street. 

In 1904 the YWCA acquired property at Dunsmuir and Burrard, which served as its home base until the mid-90s.  

In 1944 we opened the Pender Y to serve the needs of the Chinese community. 

In 1979 we opened Canada’s first second-stage transition house for women and their children leaving violence.

In 1984 we opened the doors at the original location of Crabtree Corner in the Downtown Eastside. 

In 2011 YWCA Vancouver changed its name to YWCA Metro Vancouver to reflect our commitment to serving communities throughout the region spanning Burnaby, Surrey, the Tri-cities, Maple Ridge, Langley/Aldergrove, Abbotsford, New Westminster, Richmond and North Vancouver. 

Meeting the needs of a changing community 

With each passing decade, we continue to expand our services and reach with innovative programs and advocacy to address the root causes of inequality. In recent years, we have focused on building safe, affordable housing across the region, and have become trusted advocates in the areas of child care, access to justice and women’s economic security and independence. 

The next 125 years 

In 2022, YWCA Metro Vancouver will celebrate 125 years of supporting community members as they access our services to change their lives.  

Help us continue to build bright futures for our community and learn more about The Next 125 campaign.