It started with small events run by women aimed at raising funds to support the YWCA’s “World Service Objectives,” such as an art sale at the North York YWCA in 1964, and an annual card game and bazaar at the Willowdale YWCA in the 1960’s.
These small events grew into more formal sales, selling greeting cards and gift items in a YWCA Toronto program centre. This was the beginning of the YWCA Toronto International Boutique.
In the early 1990’s, the Boutique outgrew its space, and moved into its first storefront.
Throughout the late 1980's and early 1990's, the Boutique and YWCA Toronto together co-hosted panel discussions, public speakers, and exhibitions on world issues including the environment, prejudice and discrimination, women's equity issues, and the importance of fair trade goods. The Boutique has also supported other charitable organizations throughout the years, including UNICEF, Ten Thousand Villages, and Amnesty International, among others.
Proceeds from the Boutique have always gone to support YWCA World international development projects.
Projects that have been funded by the International Boutique in recent years include: