In the 1970s this downtown building was the site of an important event in the history of Canadian city planning. A former paint and glass store, the location later functioned as the Field Office of the Centretown Planning Unit, a joint effort of the City of Ottawa and the citizens of the Centretown neighbourhood.

It was led by architect and planner John Leaning. Trained as an architect in England, John chose Ottawa as his home where his work included being chief architect for the National Capital Commission, as well as having a practice in architecture, heritage conservation, and community planning.

From this location a team of planning professionals and community activists produced the Centretown Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for transforming the district between Gloucester Street and the Queensway from a throwaway zone for office buildings and parking lots into a humanly-scaled inner city neighbourhood for people of all ages, incomes, and origins. This building is now a youth shelter, housing previously homeless youth who deserve to be seen, heard, housed and supported as they build a strong future for themselves.

Thank you for commemorating John’s contribution to planning history through the creation of a mural by local artists and youth.

Please note for donations of $20.00 or more, a tax receipt will automatically be issued and emailed to you.  YSB Foundation Charitable number # 84053 4853 RR0001.

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Milo's Story

Every year when I was little, I’d think “this will be the year that everything will be okay”. And every year, I’d be crushed. By the time I was 18 I couldn’t take my dad’s drinking or my mom’s crying anymore, so I packed a knapsack with the warmest clothes I had and I left. It was freezing cold, and I was alone…but I was free.

The next few months were rough and at times very scary. I spent nights in parks, doorways and even under bridges all with just an old sleeping bag a friend had given me. One night it was so cold that I walked until the sun came up, afraid that I would freeze to death if I slept.

It took me awhile to get over the embarrassment to start asking people for money. But, it was swallow my pride or stay cold and hungry. After two weeks of doing this I learned about YSB. I didn’t know it then but, in that moment, my life changed for the better. I got connected to YSB’s Young Men’s Emergency Shelter and my first night in the shelter I slept 11 hours. I felt so safe and secure. I remember that moment clearly and I felt so hopeful I now have my own apartment in one of YSB’s long-term housing buildings, am attending college to become a graphic designer, and am working part-time to support myself.

“For the first time I can remember, I’m really excited about my future. Growing up I just thought about getting by one day at a time.” I hope my story conveys just how life changing it was for me to be able to access YSB’s shelter during a really difficult time in my life. The team at YSB supported me every step of the way, and I’m grateful they were by my side. I hope you’ll consider taking the opportunity to transform the life of another young person like me today.


*While Milo’s story is real his name has been changed to protect his privacy