Montreal·2020 Charity Drive

Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre: Serving Little Burgundy for over 90 years

For more than 90 years, Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre has been serving families in Little Burgundy — organizing clubs, classes and camps, and helping strengthen the social fabric of the neighbourhood.

Community centre is CBC Montreal's charity of the year

The Tyndale St-Georges community barbecue in 2001. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)

During the month of December, CBC will be working with Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre to showcase stories of people in our community who are making a difference for our "Make the Season Kind" campaign. For more stories and to learn more about this campaign, visit http://cbc.ca/bekindqc and make a donation here.

For more than 90 years, Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre has been serving families in Little Burgundy — organizing clubs, classes and camps — and helping strengthen the social fabric of the neighbourhood.

At the start of the 20th century, Charles Johnson, the owner of Johnson Wire Works, saw a vivid contrast between the booming industrial sector along the Lachine Canal and the squalid living conditions and lack of social programs for families nearby.

Royal Arthur School (children seen here in the 1920s) was one of the schools around Little Burgundy whose students would use services offered by Tyndale House. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)

He had the idea of opening a "social settlement" in the area — a place to better the lives of others in the service of God — and he approached the local church to make it a reality.

It opened as Tyndale House in 1927 with the support of the Presbyterian Church. 

Tyndale House offered programs such as Sunday school and child nutrition. Its summer camp gave children the opportunity to get out of the city.

Even through the Great Depression, it continued to serve the community, though with a reduced budget.

Camping trips, to get out of the hot, crowded city, have been a Tyndale tradition for nearly a century. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)

After decades of fundraising to build a more suitable home for the growing number of children it served, in 1951 Tyndale House moved from an old house on des Seigneurs Street to its current location, 870 Richmond Square.

Campers are seen leaving for a summer trip with co-directors Ray Drennan and Garth Bulmer. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)

In the decades that followed, it expanded its offerings. Its space became home to many local groups, including the White Shield Club, Girl Guides and the Scouts.

A report to the Presbyterian Church from the time reported that by 1956, Tyndale House was being used by 2,000 people each month.

The White Shield Club, seen here in the 1950s, was one of several groups that was based in Tyndale House. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)

In the late 1960s, the city began expropriating nearby land and demolishing buildings as part of an "urban renewal" project, which resulted in some Tyndale families moving away and fewer volunteers being available. But classes, hockey and other activities continued as the neighbourhood kept evolving.

Children in a class at Tyndale House in 1967. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)

In late 1970, St. George's Corner opened in a former food market on St-Antoine Street, where congregation members of St. George's Anglican Church would gather, and it became a community hub that worked closely with Tyndale House.

In the following years, St. George's entered into a partnership with Tyndale, and moved into a neighbouring building on Richmond Square. The partnership officially took the name of Tyndale St-Georges in 1976.

From an early age, Tyndale offers educational and recreational activities for children. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)

In the decades since, Tyndale St-Georges has expanded its programs to include services for adults, seniors and refugees, thanks to the work of a small staff and many volunteers.

Its major projects today include early youth development programs, after-school programs, camps, its youth co-op and its pre-employment program for adults.

Christmas 1991 being celebrated at Tyndale. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)

But 2020 brought unique challenges to Tyndale St-Georges, with the pandemic making regular fundraising activities more difficult.

To help make up for that, a campaign to raise $125,000 by the end of the year is underway — with three donors matching the money gathered if the target is reached.

In addition to monetary donations, these are the kinds of other items the Tyndale St-Georges would love to receive:

  • New children's books for their Children's Library – Tyndale St-Georges Children's Library.
  • New winter clothing for children 0 to adolescence. These would be given to participants in their programs in need of winter clothes as well as children of the adult participants at Tyndale's Adult Centre.
  • School supplies to use at the centre and also to give out to young participants of the centre's programs.
  • Pre-prepared food baskets that the centre could give out to their adult and senior participants as gifts.

For details on how to give, please contact Tina Naim at tinanaim@tyndalestgeorges.com.

A visit from Santa Claus during the Christmas season in 1992. (Submitted by Tyndale St-Georges)
(CBC)

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