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YMCA taking on new name in Quebec

 

By Katherine Wilton

The Gazette , January 7

 

After a storied 158-year history, the YMCA name is disappearing from the Montreal landscape.

 

The charitable organization, first established in 1851 to minister to the poor, is rebranding itself as the Ys of Québec to better reflect its evolving work in communities outside of Montreal.

 

The rebranding, which is only being done in Quebec, also includes a new logo which retains the “Y,” because members have long used the shortened name.

 

“We are presenting ourselves as the Ys of Québec because people are calling us that, they have been calling us that for decades,” said Stéphane Vaillancourt, president and CEO of the Ys of Québec.

 

“As well, we are moving from the Montreal area to the entire province. We have programming across the province in places like St. Sauveur, Quebec City and Joliette. We want to get in touch with more people and families throughout the province.”

 

Vaillancourt said the group wants the community to know that it does more than just health, fitness and recreation.

 

“We want to show people that the Y is more than just a gym – that we do good for other areas of the community. Apart from offering gym and pool facilities, the Y offers a wide range of programs in health and fitness, youth and leadership development. For example, several Ys and their partner organizations across Quebec offer a program called Alternative Suspension, which offers tutoring and workshops to teens suspended from school.

 

North America’s first Young Men’s Christian Association was established in Montreal in 1851. The Y has nine centres across Montreal and is building a 10th centre in the city’s Cartierville district.

 

The Y is not planning to construct new buildings across the province, but wants to work in partnership with independent organizations to provide programming developed by the Y.

 

So what does the name change mean for the popular 1979 dance song “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People? Vaillancourt said he wasn’t sure if the group would come out of retirement to write a song about the Ys of Québec.

 

“I don’t think that would be necessary,” he joked.

 

[email protected]

 

thegazette.canwest.com

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