Original Y.M.C.A. Oshawa

Original building: 1910-1953

The Oshawa branch of the Young Men’s Christian Association first became functional in 1910.  The idea of bringing the Y.M.C.A to Oshawa, however, had been developed a couple of years prior to this.

In April 1908 there was a provincial convention of the Y.M.C.A in Stratford, Ontario. It was here that Reverend W. Benjamin Tucker brought up the need for a branch in Oshawa. Later that year, on October 21, a representative of the organization visited Oshawa to speak about the “Y.” The people who attended the meeting unanimously agreed that Mr. J. Hopkins should return and speak to a larger audience. He returned a little less than a month later, on November 12, 1908, to speak at a meeting held in the council chamber. They decided to rent land for the proposed branch of the Y.M.C.A. Provided that 200 men joined and each paid a fee of $5.00 per year, the idea seemed very promising.

The next step was to secure land for the buildings.  The following properties were considered:

  1. An area of Dr. Coburn’s property, Simcoe St. S.
  2. Luke Brothers Furniture Store, King St. E.
  3. The American Hotel, King St. E.

An architect was called in and estimates were made for the cost of the buildings. Further discussions were carried out regarding the estimated cost of $2000. It was decided to erect an entirely new structure, at a cheaper cost. Fifteen hundred dollars would cover the building process while $1100 would be necessary for the contractor. The new site was the Wilson and Smith lots on Simcoe St. S.

In April 1909, Mr. Hopkins suggested a fundraising campaign to fund the new buildings. It was decided that the four-day campaign would be carried out in May. On the final day of the campaign $15,424.00 had been raised.  This great reception to the campaign prompted Robert McLaughlin to ask T. Eaton for the funds to make it an even $20,000.00.  Mr. Eaton agreed to donate $5000.00.

On Tuesday November 2, 1909, the cornerstone ceremony took place.  Mayor H.J.James declared a half-day holiday for the City of Oshawa.  The Salvation Army Band provided musical entertainment for the special occasion.

The Young Men’s Christian Association consisted of clubrooms, a gymnasium, swimming pool, bowling alley, and 15 rooms for young men.  They hosted carnivals, festivals, and dances.  After several decades of success the Y.M.C.A disappeared. The original building, which was located south of the present day Athol Street was demolished in 1953.

In August 1999 the Y.M.C.A. celebrated the opening of their new facility on the corner of Mary St. and William St. The 60,000 square foot building includes a pool, indoor track, squash courts, a conditioning area and even a rock climbing wall.


Oshawa Times, July 11, 1981.  “Oshawa YMCA Opened in 1909”.  By Wendy Corlett

Oshawa Daily Reformer, June 30, 1927.  “Present YMCA Structure Has Outgrown Needs”.

Papers found in the cornerstone of YMCA in a metal box.

File on YMCA, Oshawa Community Archives


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Simcoe Street South 51
Oshawa L1H 4G4 ON CA
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