History of BGC Canada
The first established Boys Clubs originated in the eastern United States in the late 1860s. At the same time, a similar movement was beginning in Great Britain. The first use of the name “Boys’ Club” was in New Haven, Connecticut to identify a reading room and coffee shop for street youth.
In Canada, Boys and Girls Clubs' proud heritage of service to youth began in Saint John, New Brunswick. In 1900, 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. The "Everyday Club," originally established as a winter location for the Playground Association, later became known as the East End Boys’ Club and later The East End Boys Club of Saint John—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 through grassroots initiatives similar to the one in Saint John.
Boys' Clubs of Canada, the national body representing more than 30 member Clubs at the time, was established in 1929 by Vernon McAdam, the first National Executive Director. In 1948, it received its official charter as a national, nonprofit organization from Parliament. In 1974, the name changed to "Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada" to reflect the growing number of young girls who had been participating in Club programs for many years.
Throughout our more than 100-year history, Boys and Girls Clubs in Canada have provided safe, caring environments and stimulating programs for close to 3 million young Canadians. Our Clubs have helped youth, ranging in age from pre-school to young adulthood, to play, learn and develop skills to help them achieve their full potential and grow up to be healthy, successful and active participants in society.
In 2021, after a national review, our organization determined that the name Boys and Girls Clubs no longer represented our members and what we stand for. A nation wide rebranding to BGC was initiated to better represent all of our Club members and echo the inclusive practices we are known for without straying too far from our history and brand awareness. It also embraces the fact that we serve young people of all ages, backgrounds, and identities.
Today, the need is still great for the vital educational, recreational and skills development programs and services BGC's offer in communities nationwide. In large city centres, remote rural communities and on First Nations reserves, BGC's continue to help guide young Canadians toward responsible, fulfilling and productive adulthood.
Clubs reach young people, particularly those living in disadvantaged communities, in purpose-built facilities, community centres and non-traditional settings such as shopping malls, schools, homeless shelters, group homes and on the streets. Our organization is known for developing programs that respond to the individual needs of the children in each community.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is part of a global movement dedicated to helping young people grow into healthy, confident, contributing adults.
BGC is dedicated to ensuring that young people are given every opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. It is our goal that every youth grow up equipped to meet the challenges of leading and building this country in the 21st century.
History of the Whitney Pier Youth Club Society (WPYC)
The Whitney Pier Youth Club Society (WPYC) is a youth oriented, non-profit registered charity.
Formally known as the Sydney Police Boys and Girls club, the organization has been in operation since 1989. In 1994 the club adapted to the WPYC and operates under a volunteer Board of Directors.
The Whitney Pier Youth Club aims to deliver programs and services that promote the wellbeing of youth and their families within the local community of Whitney Pier. The typical age range of the youth that take part in the programming that is offered by the WPYC is between five and eighteen years of age.
The Whitney Pier Youth Club conducts its work in a participatory manner by creating supportive environments, encouraging individual participation and involvement, and growing capacity within existing programs.
The Whitney Pier Youth Club places a particular focus on those individuals who have the least access to programming and the WPYC work takes place at the individual, project, community and/or system level.
Whitney Pier Community Background
Whitney Pier sits on the traditional land of the Mi'kmaq people, Unama'ki, 1 of 7 Districts in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw People. Since time of immemorial the Mi’kmaq People has been here.
A community of 10,000 people, "The Pier" developed with the migration of individuals who arrived at the turn of the century to work at Sydney Steel and Whitney Pier is presently the most diverse multicultural community in Nova Scotia; there are residents with heritage links to: Black Loyalist, West Indies, French Acadian, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Barbados, Asia, Ireland, Scotland.
Additionally, Whitney Pier has the highest rate of single-mother families in Nova Scotia. With the closure of Sydney Steel, the unemployment rate rose rapidly – to approximately 45%. And, Whitney Pier is subject to the effects of North America’s worst environmental hazard – the tar ponds and coke ovens that resulted from more than 100 years of steelmaking. (Visit to learn more)
The Whitney Pier Youth Club is a non-profit organization that has been actively serving the needs of the youth in the CBRM. Over the last several years, the club has been rejuvenating both it's structure and programming so that the Club can more effectively meet the needs of the youth and continue to play a major role in the community development of our youth. In the fall of 2016, we completed an $850k expansion thanks to the generous donations of time and money from local businesses, individuals and government agencies.
Youth don’t care what you know,
until they know that you care.