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Our Research

Through our research, we're leading the way in building knowledge to help deliver programs and services that support and improve well-being in our communities. Historically, the YMCA has held a holistic view of health with its recognizable Y triangle representing a healthy body, mind and spirit. Today, this holistic view embraces much of what has come to be known as “well-being.”

Life in GTA Report Cover

Life in the GTA: A Window on Well-Being

This report was produced in partnership with The Wellesley Institute and is the first detailed portrait of well-being in the GTA. It is the only research that provides perspectives on well-being at the local neighbourhood level and can be used to better understand how place-based services can support well- being.


The YMCA's Contribution to Well-being in the GTA

This research provides strong evidence to suggest that participation in YMCA programs and services leads to improved well-being, better general and mental health, and a stronger sense of belonging. It also shows that in neighbourhoods where there’s a YMCA, there’s better well-being, health and belonging for everyone, not just those individuals who use Y programs, services and facilities.

Other Research Initiatives

In addition to the research that we conduct within the Y to support the development and operations of our programs and facilities, we are also involved in research projects that involve the broader community. These include:

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Youth Who Thrive

  • This project was initiated by The YMCA of Greater Toronto and United Way Toronto and involved a systematic review of research to identify the critical factors that help youth to thrive.
  • The review was conducted by The Students Commission of Canada and the Social Program Evaluation Group at Queen’s University.
  • Tools and resources have been developed to help others apply the findings to develop and deliver effective youth programs. For more information see: youthwhothrive.ca/

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The Black Experience Project

  • This was a multi-year research study conducted by The Environics Institute in partnership with Ryerson's Diversity Institute, the United Way of Greater Toronto, and the YMCA of Greater Toronto.
  • The research explored the experiences of individuals in Black communities across the GTA to improve understanding of their opportunities, challenges, and factors leading to their success.
  • The results are being used to help identify initiatives that contribute to the health and vibrancy of the Black community and opportunities for improving YMCA programs and services. For more information see: Black Experience Project in the GTA.

If you'd like to learn more about any of our research projects or if you are interested in conducting research that involves the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s members, clients or staff please reach out.