History

For more than 100 years, Boys and Girls Clubs in communities across Canada have helped young people discover, develop and achieve their potential as Canada's future adults, citizens and leaders. Clubs engage them in activities that challenge them to develop healthy minds and bodies. Visit Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada's website.
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50 years serving children, youth and families in Greater Victoria

The Creation of Boys Clubs in Canada

The first Boys Clubs originated in the United States in the late 1860s. At the same time, a similar movement started in Great Britain.  

The first Boys Club in Canada was established in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1900 where a group

of concerned local citizens set up a "public playground movement" to provide a safe place to play for children - particularly boys - from disadvantaged circumstances, with no place to go after school but the streets. The "Every Day Club", originally established as a winter location for the Playground Association, later became known as the East End Boys’ Club. The East End Boys Club of Saint John resulted from this initiative, becoming the first “Boys Club” in Canada. The Club’s original mission was “to give youth a chance to have some recreation and to see beyond the confines of their immediate situation.” 

Since those days, “Boys' Clubs” have become "Boys and Girls Clubs" and have spread across the country, as a result of grassroots initiatives similar to the one in Saint John. Today there are over 100 Clubs operating in communities across Canada, guiding young Canadians toward responsible, fulfilling and productive adulthood. The ability of clubs to mobilize resources in response to the individual needs of the children in each community is one of our organization’s key strengths.

Victoria Boys’ Club is born

The Victoria Boys’ Clubs was conceived by the late Colonel Roland Bull as a living memorial to his son, a pilot with the RCAF who did not come home from the Second World War. Before retiring Colonel Bull had heard about, and was very impressed with, the Canadian version of Boys' Clubs. When he and his wife moved to Victoria, however, he found there was no Boys’ Club, nor anything like it, operating on Vancouver Island.

He made up his mind to establish a Boys’ Club in Victoria. In 1960 he gathered together some friends and acquaintances to assist in the Club’s formation and to serve as directors. They convinced city council to provide the recently discarded Yates Street fire hall as a clubhouse.

Col. Bull and his wife personally covered the cost of the substantial renovations to the 1899 building. The Boys’ Club of Victoria was officially opened on December 23, 1960 by Lieutenant-Governor George Pearkes. At the opening, then Vice-President, the late D’Arcy McGee, outlined the vision he and the others had for the Club. “At no time in our history has there been a greater need for the guidance of our youth in sound Christian principles and democratic procedures,” he said. “This Club will be a home and a haven for many, and it will break down social barriers. Boys of all types can come here with any troubles or problems they have, and they will receive good counsel and guidance.”

Boys & Girls Clubs in Victoria

The Club has come a long way to achieving the dream of Col. Bull. We continue to respond to the needs of children and youth, and have expanded our reach to parents and care givers. We offer a variety of prevention programs that focus on solutions, not problems, complemented by specialized services for youth facing specific challenges. We now run approximately 29 programs in purpose built buildings, schools and other community settings, meeting our participants where they are, and assisting them in achieving their goals. In 2010, we serve the community with the assistance of 100 staff, 200 volunteers and hundreds of partners and donors.

Without individual donors such as Col. Bull and many others, local businesses and organizations who have so generously supported us and the provincial, federal and municipal governments, none of this could have happened. Victoria's youth and the community as a whole owe all of them a great deal.

© Boys & Girls Club Services of Greater Victoria
301-1195 Esquimalt Road
Victoria, British Columbia, V9A 3N6

Phone: (250) 384-9133
Fax: (250) 384-9136
Email: info@bgcvic.org

Services Charitable Reg #10680 4032 RR0002
Foundation Charitable Reg #89051 1975 RR0001

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