Exploring the History of Sanctuary Across Time and Space

In Ancient Greece, sanctuaries were often undefined spaces such as caves, springs and mountain peaks. There were also spaces, such as Kos (pictured to the left), where sanctuary was ritualized and thefore more formal. In Medieval England, churches were sanctuaries where individuals in flight from the law could seek, and receive protection.


Today, discussions of sanctuary focus largely on the idea of sanctuary cities to protect undocumented migrants.


Sanctuary, both in terms of its significance and its associated practices has evolved dramatically over the years. The "Sites of Sanctuary" research project documents, analyses, changes in the scope and practice of sanctuary by examining the history of refuge and protection in Canada from the 1800s to the present.


Canada deports Scarborough residents to Guatemala with Canadian son, 7
 October, 2019
ICE tried to fine immigrants living in sanctuary churches. Now, it’s backing down.
October, 2019
Montréal ne se décrira plus comme une ville sanctuaire
December, 2018
A Dutch church has been conducting religious services for 27 days to protect a refugee family
November, 2018
'It’s a New Life’:
Juhasz Family Allowed to Stay in Canada After 2 Years in Sanctuary
January, 2017
Sanctuary Cities Stand Firm Against Trump
December, 2016


The project team has started going through over a hundred years of Globe and Mail coverage. Stay tuned for updates...

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