Boys Town and Girls Town

With the onset of World War II, fathers were in short supply in Canada, and the rise of juvenile delinquency was a concern in all major cities in the country. In Calgary a number of civic leaders and service organizations were concerned with the "rambucous" actions of boys who were largely unsupervised during after school hours. The consensus was that providing a place for boys to engage in purposeful recreational activities with adult guidance would control the trend towards juvenile delinquency. In 1939, with the support of a number of service clubs, the Rotary Club took the lead in establishing Boys Town in the basement of the Carleton Hotel on 9 Ave.

In 1944, under the leadership of Donna Reynolds, a social worker with the City of Calgary's Children's Aid Society, a Girls Town program was started. Donna worked with a large group of volunteers who organized a girl-governed program based on a town governance model, with a wide array of recreational and personal growth programs. Boys and Girls Town leaders shared resources whenever possible, with the girls eventually gaining exclusive access to the Boys Town facilities on Tuesday nights. Dances were the highlight of co-ed special events.


Girls' Town camping trip - Courtesy of Pat (Baker) Volk Collection

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