Mary Ann Shadd Cary, born in 1823, was a writer, an educator, a lawyer, an abolitionist and the first black woman in North America to edit and publish a newspaper. Her obituary was published in the NY Times in June 2018 in a special series called Overlooked. “In 1850, when the US Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act — which compelled American to assist in the capture of runaway slaves, and levied heavy penalties on those who did not comply — Shadd Cary and some other members of her family left the United States for Canada.” From there, she published several pieces that “advertised Canada as a safe haven for former slaves.” (1) 


During the Vietnam War, many American men, seeking to evade the draft fled to Canada – perhaps up to 40,000, according to some estimates. Among them was Eric Naglar. “In Canada the worst that we had was the French-English problem …” he said. “Why would I want to live there? This is a much, much better place to be.” (2)

According to an article written by Robin Levinson King and published in The Star on March 9, 2016: “When George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, not everyone was thrilled. “That’s it!” many left-leaning Americans presumably said. “I’m moving to Canada.” The day after Bush was re-elected president, there were 191,000 hits on Canada's immigration website, six times its average traffic…” Levinson King, in the article titled “A Brief History of Americans Moving to Canada,” recounts this phenomenon going all the way back to the time when “About 100,000 colonists loyal to the king fled the thirteen colonies either during or just after the Revolutionary War” and up through a spike in the search term “how can I move to Canada” on Super Tuesday 2017. (3)

Even in the fictional book “The Handmaid’s Tale” written by Margaret Atwood, published in 1985, those seeking freedom from an oppressive regime that has taken over the former USA flee to Canada.

Who is your Canada? Where do you flee when you need to escape oppression? When you are afraid? When you need to be free? The Psalms repeatedly point us to our place of refuge from any trouble, fear or trial.

Psalm 143:9 [NIV] Rescue me from my enemies, LORD, for I hide myself in you. The King James says I flee unto Thee to hide me.

Psalm 32:7 [NIV] You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 27:5 [ESV] For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.

Psalm 64:2 [ESV] Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers, 

Hopefully, all of you already view God as your place of refuge to hide from the storms of life and have developed the habit of fleeing to Him in prayer and study. 

In addition to finding refuge in God’s presence, your place of worship should be a refuge – a place where you are safe from the struggles and drama of day-to-day living, free from tyranny and oppression and where you are welcomed, as Canada has welcomed US Citizens for centuries. You should look forward to going there and fellowshipping with other refugees from Satan’s world. 

It is in my sincere hope that in addition to God and your church services/church family, you have close friends who also provide you with refuge. Hopefully, you are that friend to others as well. 

The book of Proverbs has a few things to say about being this type of friend.

Proverbs 17:17 [ESV] A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:24 [ESV] A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 27:10 [ESV] Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend …

Proverbs 18:24 [KJV] A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother. 

We have a responsibility to be this type of friend to each other – a Canada friend – a place our friends can run to in time of fear, oppression, trouble and trial – one who can be trusted to be open and welcoming.

Further, we have a responsibility to teach our children to be this kind of friend – one who is truly a person who provides comfort to others – one who can be trusted to be open and welcoming. 

Too much of society is mean. Too many interactions we hear about among junior high and high school students involve bullying, harassing, and picking on others. Too many interactions we hear about among business associates involve gossip or stepping on others to gain opportunities. 

Every health and wellness book I’ve read stresses the importance of having at least one friend with whom you can share everything. I believe it is important to our spiritual health as well. Although your husband (if you are married) may be your closest friend, I still think you need sisters (whether by blood or choice) in whom you can find refuge in fellowship and conversation. I believe we also benefit when we seek refuge in God’s presence together – whether praying together, studying together or singing together.

Find “Canada” in God and Jesus. Find “Canada” in your church or fellowship group. But, let’s each also be “Canada” to others - not only to our sisters in Christ, but also to family, friends, and coworkers. 

Sisters, who is your Canada? To whom are you a Canada-like place of refuge?

I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.


(1) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/06/obituaries/mary-ann-shadd-cary-abolitionist-overlooked.html 

(2) https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/u-s-vietnam-war-draft-dodgers-left-their-mark-on-canada/ 

(3) https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/03/09/moving-to-canada-an-american-rite.html