Our History


YWCA Edmonton opened its doors in 1907 making it one of the oldest not-for-profits in the province.

Governed by an all-women board of directors, our first program was rental housing for women called Cushing House. At the time, Edmonton was a tiny but booming community and there was a massive housing shortage. During our first two decades, we also provided space for suffragettes organizing to be granted the right to vote and participate in elected politics.

From those humble beginnings, YWCA Edmonton has remained a social innovator and cornerstone of our community, responding to the evolving need of women, girls and gender diverse individuals in the capital region. Our North Star is gender equity and that mission continues to run through everything we do.

Empowering Change

YWCA Edmonton’s Legacy of Developing Vital Programs and Organizations in the Community

Over the years, we often saw a need in our community and helped ensure change happened. Some of the following programs or organizations began or were first developed under the banner of YWCA Edmonton, including:

  • United Way, Capital Region (formerly the Edmonton Community Chest)
  • Edmonton’s first licenced childcare
  • Edmonton Association of Continuing Education and Recreation (EACER)
  • Foster Parents Association of Edmonton
  • The Business and Professional Women’s Club
  • Big Sisters
  • Women in Need (WIN) House
  • Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (formerly Rape Crisis Centre)
  • Women Building Futures


As we advance in our second century of serving the greater Edmonton community, we remain committed to empowering women and families and bringing new and effective social innovations to our community.

YWCA Edmonton: Key Developments in our History

1916: We began operating camp programs on the shores of Wabamun Lake; in the late 1940s, we moved to our current 62-acre property located near Fallis, Alberta.


1939-1945: Offered training programs for women to support the World War Two effort; support also provided to war brides arriving in Edmonton.


1972: Counselling Services program began.


1979: Disability Services program began as part of our then childcare program; it started as a response to noticing women would often leave the workforce if they needed to support a family member with a disability. Our organization now annually works with close to 200 persons with disabilities.


1980: Major redevelopment and renovation of Camp Yowochas; moves from a summer program to a year-round outdoor education facility.


2022: Moved to our current office on 124 St. This is our eighth location since opening our doors in 1907.

YWCA Edmonton is here for you

The YWCA has operated in Edmonton for over 116 years, supporting our community through two world wars, the great depression, the Spanish flu and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. For more than a century, we have adapted and innovated to support Edmontonians through extraordinary times, remaining a reliable, steady source of support for all those in our community who need us.