Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Young Women's Christian Association of Kitchener-Waterloo
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
The Young Women's Christian Association of Kitchener-Waterloo was organized in 1905 as the "Berlin YWCA" and operated out of rented premises on Queen St. South in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario with Mary Ratz Kaufman as President. the YWCA's main purpose at that time was to provide for both the spiritual and physical welfare of the increasing number of young women who were coming to the urban and industrialized areas seeking employment and education. The local Y offered both a residence and a programme of helpful classes in embroidery, cooking, and "physical culture". In 1911 fund-raising began, a site was purchased and on May 15, 1915 a new building was opened at 84 Frederick St., Berlin [now Kitchener], Ontario. Although the motion was made in 1917 to change the name of the YWCA from Berlin to Kitchener, as the City had been renamed, the name was not officially changed until 1960.
In 1937 a new wing donated by Mary R. Kaufman, containing a gymnasium, was opened. A branch of the YWCA was desired for Waterloo and in 1960 a property in Waterloo was purchased at 186 King. St. S., later sold in 1972 to the Red Cross.
Over the years the YWCA offered many programs for children and adults alike: camping started 1926 at Camp Tinawatawa, clubs flourished, physical, health and craft classes were offered and programs were devised for newcomers to the country and area. Today, the YWCA provides "programs in the areas of childcare, youth recreation, emergency and supportive housing for women, and prison-based counseling." (http://www.ywcakw.on.ca/about.php ) The building at 84 Frederick St. is now an emergency shelter called Mary's Place, named after Mary Ratz Kaufman and operated by the YWCA.