Historic Sites of Manitoba: YMCA Building (301 Vaughan Street, Winnipeg)

In 1898, the Young Men’s Christian Association of Winnipeg (YMCA) commissioned local architect George Browne to design a building at the corner of Portage Avenue and Smith Street. The four-storey structure that was eventually constructed later became the Birk’s jewellery store.

In July 1909, the YMCA had outgrown the building so it purchased this site on Vaughan Street, north of Portage Avenue. Construction was delayed when test boring found quicksand. James Henry Ashdown laid its cornerstone in August 1911 and the formal opening occurred on 4 May 1913. The building had been designed by Jackson and Rosencrans of New York, with local architect J. H. G. Russell working as an associate on the project. The builders were Hazleton and Walin Limited.

The building (a municipally-designated historic site) was renovated in 1992, for which it received a Heritage Winnipeg Conservation Award.

A collection of photographs of the building by John Hamilton Gordon Russell is held at the Archives of Manitoba.

YMCA Building

YMCA Building (June 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

YMCA Building

YMCA Building (October 2018)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89222, W97.14988
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: YMCA Building / Birks Building (276 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: YMCA North Winnipeg Building / St. Paul's High School and College (475 Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites


Central Young Men’s Christian Association Building (301 Vaughan Street), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, March 1985.

We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 April 2022

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