YMCA-YWCA West Portage Interior Renovations

The 47,000 square foot YMCA-YWCA West Portage location is a significant landmark of the area; open to members and visitors 16 hours per day, 364 days a year. Its program offerings are extensive - a fitness centre, gymnasium, a pool, an interior play structure, babysitting services for members, and both school-aged and pre-school daycare facilities.

MMP was commissioned in late 2013 to provide an interior refresh to the existing West Portage YMCA-YWCA facility. The primary goal of this refresh was to create a more contemporary and welcoming environment, which in turn would both improve the space for current members, as well as increase membership by drawing in a larger clientele. MMP’s role in this process was to provide a design simply to update the finishes in the existing spaces. Upon re-evaluation of the current and future program requirements, this initial refresh project scope evolved into a more intensive interior renovation that addressed the YMCA-YWCA’s brand identity, user and staff functionality, efficiencies in circulation, and overall member experience.

The space required major changes in order to achieve the above revised goals, some highlights include the following. A re-oriented lobby space featuring an expansive reception desk aims to minimize queues during peak hours, and help staff ensure member security. The relocation of the fitness studio, which hosts a variety of classes offered by the facility, provides a larger, open space flooded with natural daylight. The upgraded locker and shower rooms now feature private change stalls and an increase in the quantity of lockers.

Upgrades that contribute to the overall user experience include the introduction of a warm interior palate anchored by stone and wood finishes. Punches of the signature orange-red that brands the space as the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg lead users through the space. Wood ceiling canopies and vegetation scattered in planters throughout the fitness area provide both privacy to members watching their children swim in the viewing area, as well as to those making use of the fitness facilities. Because the facility experiences such high traffic, the flow of people through the space and quality and durability of finishes are were of prime concern.

In Spring 2015, the centre reopened with its numerous new and exciting features such as a dedicated space for Cyclefit, an expanded free weight area, a new functional training area, a dedicated Youth Zone and more.


YMCA-YWCA West Portage Project Team
Lead Interior Designer: Hailey Connor
Project Architect: Chris Daly
Technician: Bill MacDonald