The YMCAs of Québec are shaping their future : Changes to Come to the Downtown YMCA


Montréal, October 11, 2023

The YMCAs of Québec, a charitable organization, is announcing updates on decisions made in the pursuit of its organizational transformation, a process that began with its 2020-2025 strategic plan. This transformation includes the implementation of numerous projects, which were presented at the March 2023 annual general meeting and in the 2022 impact report. Specifically, the focus is on ensuring the organization’s long-term social impact through a sustainable financial strategy, the ongoing redefinition of its real estate footprint, notably in downtown Montréal, and updates to the services offered so that they better meet community needs.

A necessary transformation

Changes in people’s lifestyle habits—particularly telecommuting, which has impacted the number of people coming into downtown Montréal—and consequently, the anticipated substantial drop in independent revenues generated by gym memberships is an important factor to consider in the YMCAs of Québec’s financial model. This notable decrease in membership revenues has created a funding gap for the organization’s mission.

In addition, the need to transform has been accentuated in large part by the organization’s aging real estate and the increased costs to maintain its buildings and facilities. Faced with this reality, the YMCAs of Québec has created a mission-driven investment fund, which will play a key role in generating income for its mission and operations, a sector for which funding is quite limited. To feed the fund, the YMCAs of Québec is moving forward with the sale of certain real estate assets.

The sale of the downtown Montréal YMCA building

The YMCAs of Québec is announcing that it will put its downtown Montréal building, located on Drummond and Stanley Streets between Sainte-Catherine Street and de Maisonneuve Boulevard, up for sale. The primary goal is to increase the capital in its mission-driven investment fund, allowing the organization to focus on delivering services and programs to the community instead of focusing on managing its building. 

“It is imperative for our organization to transform our footprint so we can strengthen our impact for the long term. For over 170 years, the YMCA has had an important connection with downtown Montréal and this change aims to maintain, and even reinforce, our ability to serve the residents of the Peter-McGill district”, states Stéphane Vaillancourt, President and CEO of the YMCAs of Québec. 

With the sale of the downtown YMCA building, the aim is to create a new place for the community in a space that is better adapted to the programming offered. In fact, the current programming at the downtown YMCA, which includes the TeenZone, various community programs, and the YMCA International Language School, only occupies a third of the building. 

The YMCAs of Québec will launch a call for tenders to choose a broker who will help the organization explore potential real estate options in the Peter McGill district where the Y could rent instead of owning the space. This is a long-term process that will require several years to come to fruition.

The current programming at the downtown YMCA continues

The current programming at the downtown YMCA will continue. There are no changes planned in the short term for the 3,400 students who are taking courses, whether in person or online, at the YMCA International Language School, or the 650 teens who participate in the TeenZone, or the people experiencing homelessness or with criminal records who turn to the YMCA for resources and support, or the numerous employees who work in the building.
The large fitness facilities have been closed since March 2020. However, the gymnasium is a favourite spot for the young people in our community programs and is also often rented out to local schools. In addition, as of October 2023, the YMCA will be offering soccer and basketball courses for kids in the gym. 

Moreover, the current tenants of the Downtown YMCA have been informed of the organization’s intent to sell, all of whom will be able to pursue their activities until 2025.

Call for temporary tenants

From now until the building is sold, the YMCAs of Québec wants to optimize and use the spaces to serve the needs of the community. As such, the YMCAs of Québec is offering community organizations that are having a hard time pursuing their activities in downtown Montréal special rates adapted to their ability to pay.

These are diverse and multi-purpose spaces. Furthermore, there is also a space that has been laid out to adhere to industry standards and could temporarily house a daycare. Interested parties should communicate their needs by writing to installations.sa@ymcaquebec.org.

For example, Ballet Divertimento recently took advantage of this offer, moving its dance school and studio to the downtown YMCA at the beginning of September.

About the YMCAs of Québec

Since 1851, the YMCAs of Québec, a charitable organization, has had the mission to encourage and inspire all people to fulfill their potential, thrive, and contribute to the community. The YMCA’s diverse expertise reaches far beyond the walls of its centres. In addition to the YMCAs of Québec’s online programming, its 1,200 employees and 550 volunteers support the organization’s activities in over 60 service points throughout Québec, Canada, and abroad.

The organization’s work is carried out daily thanks to the unwavering support of its staff, members, partici- pants, numerous partners, volunteers, donors, its foundation, and its various financial partners at different levels of government.

To learn more, please visit ymcaquebec.org

Contact for Media Enquiries :
Isabelle Huiban
Integrated Communications Director
The YMCAs of Québec
514 222-4307

Delia Crosina
Advisor, Public Affairs
Public SC
438 493-3443

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