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The building at the corner of Portage Avenue and Smith
Street was Winnipeg’s first ‘permanent’ facility
for the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
The YMCA, organized in England in 1844 as an educational,
recreational and social agency with evangelical roots, set
up a Winnipeg branch in 1879 in rented space on Main. It
obtained the Portage property in 1890, opening one of the
best outfitted YMCAs in Canada in early 1901. The building
was designed by George Browne and constructed by J.A. Girvin
and P. Burnett at a cost of $68,500 with another $20,000
for land and furnishings.