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Refuge Canada

Refuge Canada is on exhibit at the WDM North Battleford from June 4 through August 27, 2022. Refuge Canada is a travelling exhibition created by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and is supported by TD Bank Group.

Refugees face fear, shattered lives and often dangerous voyages in search of refuge. Canada has provided that refuge for many. However, over the course of the 20th century, Canada has had a mixed record of welcoming refugees, reacting generously to some while overlooking others. Refuge Canada provides context for Canada’s place in the global refugee crisis and brings to light the challenges faced by people who came to Canada as refugees. Drawing upon oral histories, archival images, artifacts and interactives, Refuge Canada shares the stories of refugees in an evocative and engaging way. The exhibition aims to create a setting for visitors to make a personal connection to the feelings of pain, danger and hope experienced by refugees, and to be inspired and informed on refugee issues in Canada today.

Learn about the story of Bwe Doh Soe who fled Burma as a refugee to settle in Saskatoon in the video below. This video was filmed at the WDM Saskatoon.

Refuge Canada is organized into five themes:

Life Before

No one chooses to be a refugee and all kinds of people can become one. Refugees leave their homes, families and jobs behind when they are forced to flee. A dramatic depiction of the ruins of a past life will introduce visitors to this experience.


Fear, one of the most primal of human emotions, is central to the experience of refugees. It is also a key part of the United Nations definition of a refugee: “A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution… .” Compelling stories, evocative objects and challenging interactives will introduce visitors to the type of fears faced by refugees as they undertake their journey to safety.


Refugees who flee their homes and life as they knew it have to make uncertain and often dangerous journeys. They need to make hard decisions about survival, returning home, or fleeing precarious temporary shelter to yet another country, often as unwelcome, stateless residents. Stories that bring out the best and worst in people will be explored, including an immersive look at life in the tents of a refugee camp.


Today, over 65 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. International organizations and individual nations grapple with the global challenge of offering refuge. How has Canada responded over the course of the 20th century? Canadians pride themselves in welcoming refugees, but there are dark chapters in Canada’s response to various refugee crises. Visitors will see the different processes Canada has put in place in the 20th century to respond to refugees.

Life in Canada

Refugees who make it to Canada face a range of perceptions by Canadians. Visitors will encounter a challenging range of views, labels, myths and stereotypes about refugees. Adapting to Canada is a daunting task as refugees grapple with both everyday challenges and identity conflicts. Canada has enjoyed success with settling past waves of refugees, sometimes with innovative sponsorship programs. Refugee stories of achievements and contributions to Canada will leave visitors informed, as well as inspired by the people who have found refuge in Canada.

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