Gender-based violence is a pervasive and ongoing problem in Regina. It affects many aspects of a woman’s life, including her economic and social equality, physical and mental health, well-being and economic security. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of intimate partner violence in Canada – 680 victims per 100,000, twice the national average (2016, State Canada). Additionally, the 2015 Point-in-Time count found that 36 percent of Regina’s homeless population are children under the age of 18.

On Wednesday, January 30, Regina’s City Council took a step towards addressing these issues, changing lives, and empowering women. The council voted unanimously to gift $2M worth of land in the city’s Cathedral neighbourhood to the YWCA for a new Centre for Women and Families. The proposed new location for the YWCA Centre for Women and Families is between Rae and Retallack streets, south of 12th Avenue, where Victoria School used to stand.

1080 is proud to have lead the planning and pre-design for this centre, and is beyond excited to continue working with such an amazing group of people to see it through to completion. Guided by the community’s vision, the project’s Pre-Design process has set the foundation for the YWCA’s Centre for Women and Families to be a vibrant, welcoming, and healing place that is deeply connected to, and supportive of, its community.

“This project and the idea of creating wrap-around services for some of our most vulnerable people is something that we’ve all been looking for opportunities to do” said Melissa Coomber-Bendsten, CEO of YWCA Regina. “We recognize the kind of power that having community present has on people, so the centre has a concept that provides multi-use space, gathering space, recreation space that would be open to the community.” In addition, the centre will include Regina’s first indoor healing lodge and sacred ceremonial space to ensure that urban Indigenous peoples have access to their traditional cultures.

As a community ambassador, the YWCA is committed to supporting a sustainable future for Saskatchewan while also offering a comfortable, supportive space for women and families in need. With this in mind, the project team has chosen to pursue LEED Gold and Well Building Silver standards, ensuring that the centre will respect and support the environment, as well as its occupants.

The Centre presents a unique opportunity to create and define architecture as the medium for transformation and change. Through principles of design innovation and place-making, the YWCA Centre for Women and Families will fulfill its community’s vision of:

“A safe, welcoming, and empowering homeplace for women, children, and those who love them. Building on our strengths together. Ahkamêyimok – All of You Persevere!”

For more information, please click on the media links below:

Regina city council votes to gift $2M land to YWCA for new $35M facility – CBC Saskatchewan

Regina city council approves land gift for new YWCA facility – Global Regina

YWCA plans $35-million facility in Cathedral area, which city likely to pitch in free land – Regina Leader-Post