YM-YWHA of Montreal

YM-YWHA’s Active Service Centre

YM-YWHA’s Active Service Centre

by Kate I recently had the chance to research the YM-YWHA’s Active Service Centre for our boys in WWII. Run by young hostesses, this Centre provided entertainment like dances and splash parties for servicemen in need of a little distraction. I came across some newspaper clippings in the YM-YWHA archival collection that profiled a particularly unique outing offered by the ladies. In the summer of 1944, over 90 Canadian veterans returned home after fighting in Italy and Normandy. They arrived in Montreal on a sunny August [...]



Calling All “Y” Girls!

Calling All “Y” Girls!

The on-going efforts of making the JPL Archives more accessible through digitization has borne some wonderful fruit yet again.  The gals of the former Young Women’s Hebrew Association, which married the Young Men’s Hebrew Association in 1950 after a long engagement, left behind some wonderful issues of their Y.W.H.A. News.  The JPL Archives has now digitized issues of the newspaper ranging in date from 1940-1948.  Sadly, a full run wasn’t preserved in one place but we are diligently on the hunt for issues that may [...]



Summer Camping

Summer Camping

By Erica Every morning on the way to my office, I encounter campers from two summer day camps held at the Y:  Camp Binyamin and Camp Friendly Faces.  These summer camps reflect the importance the Y holds in hosting and providing fun summer experiences for children in Montreal.  Throughout the history of the YM-YWHA, several summer camps have existed for the benefit this “summer fun” for children.  The Y Urban Camp was the first of such camps.  In a report of the Urban Camp in [...]



Golden Gloves

Golden Gloves

By Erica “Son, the purpose of the ‘Y’ is to help develop the minds and bodies of our young people and sports help a great deal.”  So said Lou Goldenberg, the Chairman of the “Y” Boxing Committee. Physical health and the importance of exercise have always been focal points of the Y’s activities.  Basketball, baseball, water polo and handball were all important sports at the Y, but boxing has a special significance.  The Y hosted a famous boxing tournament, called the Golden Gloves, which originated [...]



The Y and the 1936 Olympics

The Y and the 1936 Olympics

By Erica During my first two weeks working on the Y Archive Project, I found a file that contained materials regarding the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. As Nazi Germany history is one of my personal academic interests, I found this file to be particularly fascinating. It contains letters, memoranda and invitations regarding the problematic nature of the Olympic Games and requests to prevent sending Canadian athletes to Berlin. The Jewish community expressed its high concern over these Games and the Nazi regime, and thought [...]



A Disgruntled Mother

A Disgruntled Mother

By Erica Going through a box full of maintenance reports may not seem like the most thrilling of subjects. However, I found one letter this week that expressed the concerns of a witty Y mother, who may have been a little bit too influenced by the language of Jane Austen. This lady vocalized her concerns about a rat infestation in the park across the street from the Snowdon Y to Mr. D. Pevzner, the Director of Administration Services.   Mrs. Gruman was on her way to [...]



The War Charities

The War Charities

By Erica Every year, the YMHA raised money to finance its operations. During the 1930s and 1940s, Annual Balls took place as part of social activities of the Y. The funds collected would raise money for the Y. However, during World War II, this money went elsewhere. Proceeds from the Thirtieth Annual Ball, held in 1940, were donated to the Central Co-Ordinating Committee for Sports and Recreation Military District No. 4. The War Charities Act was instituted in 1939 and set regulations on how funds [...]



The Y Project Begins!

By Erica This week I started working on the Y Archive Project. It’s quite an exciting endeavour, I have to say. I have found so many interesting stories, and minor controversies. Among my favourites have been the War Funds documents, which ask Y members to give generously to the war effort. The 1940 Annual Ball donated its proceeds to the local regiment to buy hockey equipment for its soldiers. It’s funny to see how much the humour and approach to fundraising has changed from the [...]



Happy 100!

Public History graduate student Erica provides details on the hidden gems in the Young Men’s-Young Women’s Hebrew Association Fonds as it is being arranged and described.