Donna001_hiresWe are each one of us made in the image of a fantastically imaginative and creative God. Sanctuary, as a haven of safety, security and respect for some of the most needy and marginalized people in the city of Toronto, strives to recognize and meet the needs of the whole person through a variety of programming. Community can be a tremendous source of healing and hearing the voice of God. It is in this context that gifts, talents and personalities can be called forth and allowed and encouraged to flourish. The Arts – music, drama and visual arts – which play an important role in the life of our community, provide a means for self-expression and self-realization and are a medium by which we have connected with others and through which God reveals Himself.

If you are interested in any part of the ARTS here at Sanctuary, contact Lyf Stolte at 416-922-0628 x.215

Visual Arts

The art room is up and running at Sanctuary, and we have no end of dreams and ideas.

Art activities that are currently underway are:

Art Open Studio

WHEN: Thursdays from 10:00am to 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Sanctuary basement


Drama Program

To have fun, learn about others and ourselves, to develop abilities that may be dormant, to have the freedom to ask questions about truth and life. These are some of the things we aim for in our drama program.

If you are interested in participating in a dramatic activity, then give Lyf a call at 416-922-0628 x.215 or email him at lyfs [at] sanctuarytoronto [dot] ca. The opportunities to express oneself are always evolving here at Sanctuary and below are some of the activities we have done in the past (you can also check out the website for the Screaming Monkeys, Sanctuarys drama troupe and see what they have been up to –>

Past Activities
  • workshops – self-portraits, speeches, storytelling (more to come)
  • improv sessions
  • skits, sketches and one act plays
  • full length dramas
  • one-on-one acting coaching
  • arts eXtravaganzas – an evening of celebrating the arts in our community
  • theatre attendance
  • play reading

emblems1A sanctuary is not only a place of safety ­ it’s also a place of worship. This Sanctuary is a gospel community at its heart, devoted to living out the good news that Jesus is God and Saviour. Each Sunday, a tight-knit group of believers gathers to worship, pray and learn. Some are middle-class people, some are homeless, and some are students, recent university grads, or young professionals. Some grew up in the church, some grew up on the streets. Some are recovering addicts, and others are recovering from a variety of “toxic faith” experiences. Most are enthusiastic followers of Christ, but a few are just beginning to try to figure out what He’s all about.

The group gathers in late afternoon, and helps set up the room and sound gear, then, with a simple “Welcome, everybody!” it kicks off. Piano, acoustic guitar, washtub bass and congas provide accompaniment to a blend of old standards, newer choruses and a bookful of home-grown, blues, country and rock’n’roll oriented songs of worship.

Every Sunday, the bread and wine are shared:

“The bread reminds us that Jesus knows what it’s like to be one of us. ­ He knows what it’s like to be homeless, hungry, angry, lonely and afraid. He knows what it’s like to be betrayed by His friends, falsely accused, and condemned. The cup reminds us that He came to do so much more than just walk among us and teach us. He came to die for us, shedding His blood so we could be forgiven, healed and welcomed into the family of God”

Each person who has put his or her faith in Christ is encouraged to receive the bread and wine as a public statement of their own faith, to strengthen them for the journey, and to be reminded again that Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God is the beginning and the end.

A little later, there’s a Bible teaching time, and following that, time for prayer. This little “family of faith” is the backbone of the manpower required to do much of the programmatic functions of Sanctuary, and it’s the group most likely to provide the kind of on-going spiritual and emotional support our community so desperately needs.

There really isn’t anything radical or new about it. It’s just simple, orthodox Christianity at work

Sunday Church ­ 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Worship, Communion, Bible Teaching, Prayer Time


The church leadership at Sanctuary focuses on meeting the spiritual needs of the Sanctuary community. They hold the community up in prayer, guide the spiritual vision of the organization, and help people grow in an understanding of their faith.

If you would like more information about the SANCTUARY CHURCH please contact Greg Paul at 416-922-0628 x. 213.

Drop-In_watermarkThe main purpose of community meals at Sanctuary is to engage people in developing healthy relationships. These times provide wonderful opportunities to do this, as well as allowing us to provide other kinds of care, in very practical ways. The relationships and ultimate friendships that develop in the drop-in context draw individuals closer into community and often result in positive life changes. We are committed to the creation of a safe and dignified setting in which to cultivate healthy community centered around Jesus.

The following resources are available to our guests:


  • food
  • telephone access
  • access to info about other resources in Toronto (detox, shelters)
  • advocacy and referrals upon request
  • pastoral care
  • shower facilities
  • locker storage
  • personal care items (i.e. deodorant, clothes, underwear)
  • health care
  • socialization (games)
  • access to art materials and equipment
  • access to reading materials


Because the meal is central to each drop-in, there is much activity in the kitchen. Recently renovated and equipped with state-of- the- art industrial equipment, the kitchen ably allows for the preparation of large quantities of food to feed the 80-160 guests who join us. Under the direction of our Kitchen Manager, Donald Sturrock, the cooking teams produce good, nutritious meals. The menus vary each week and community members are encouraged to make suggestions and to help with the cooking. We are especially grateful to the many people who volunteer each week in the kitchen, and often it seems like they’re just having too much fun helping out!!

Everyone is encouraged to care well for one another and it is not unusual to see folks offering their seats to those waiting to eat. We honour birthdays at the beginning of each month (cake, ice cream, candles and singing included) and use special occasions like Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas to celebrate together. Although there are moments when the grim reality of addictions and street life result in painful expressions, the overall sense within the drop-in is that this is a place that offers some respite from the harsh life of surviving without a home.

Please feel free to visit us during our drop-in hours. You will experience firsthand the energy and commitment that exists as members of the community join together to share food and companionship.

If you would like more information about the DROP-IN PROGRAM please contact Alan Beattie at 416-922-0628 x.211.

health_webIndividuals in our community face significant health issues, often resulting from their lifestyle – physical ailments caused by living on the streets or in poor-quality housing, or the side effects of substance abuse and “tough living”. Some common issues we deal with are foot care problems, wounds, infectious diseases (especially sexually transmitted diseases, skin infections and lung infections), and mental health care. Our team provides a range of care from basic stitch removal, to management of complex health care, like HIV/AIDs.

Sanctuary deals with a host of other medical issues, including:


  • stabbings
  • beatings
  • nose bleeds
  • alcohol and drug addictions
  • seizures
  • pancreatitis
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • AIDS
  • pregnancy
  • cancer
  • neurological disorders
  • depression
  • schizophrenia
  • manic depression


Many people at Sanctuary are dealing with deep emotional pains and hurts, often due to years of sexual, physical or emotional abuse. For many, the alcohol and/or drug use means that they can cope with the pain a bit longer rather than having to face it head on. While caring for the basic physical health of the community, Sanctuary staff also care for emotional and spiritual health.

With issues like the loss of a Health Card seeming insurmountable, people on the street will avoid normal health care institutions. Sanctuary staff attend doctor’s appointments and hospitals as advocates for individual community members. They also provide referrals for doctors or dentists.

If you would like more information about the HEALTH CLINIC please call 416-922-0628 x.7 and leave a message. Thank you.

We go out to meet people on their own turf, both offering and seeking the welcome, dignity and healing inherent in the community of God’s Kingdom

dracystreet2_webWe go out because Jesus has sent us, and because we expect to see and hear him through the street community. If we want to meet him in this way, we have to “show up”.

We meet people on their own turf because we want to approach them as “servants”, not as people of power.

We go out both offering (to others) and seeking (for ourselves) because we know we are as needy as anybody, and we can only truly receive these things together. Offering is a way of seeking.

We seek and offer welcome because the good news should go first to those who have been rejected.

We seek and offer dignity because people need to know they’re respected and valued for who they are right here, right now.

We seek and offer healing because people don’t have to stay in destructive situations or patterns ­ God’s agenda is transformation.

We are inviting people to journey with us (that is, in community) deeper into the Kingdom.

Sanctuary Street Outreach teams meet members of the community on their turf ­ the streets and alleys where they exist. Often out late at night, the teams offer recognition and companionship to people who are often ignored or rejected by society. People recognize and expect them on a consistent basis. In addition to offering food and drink, some teams also provide basic health care as well as sleeping bags, coats, and socks.

The Street Outreach teams are small – usually only two people. Recognizing that many people on the street have experienced more hurt than help from well-meaning organizations, Sanctuary approaches outreach carefully. Without imposing a particular morality or theology, Sanctuary members aim to live their lives with the people of the community.

If you would like more information about STREET OUTREACH please contact Greg Cook at 416-922-0628 x. 501.

It began in the spring of 1985 as a five piece rock outfit playing mostly original songs. The players in this Toronto band came from a variety of musical backgrounds, spanning hard rock, reggae, folk, country and blues influences. Three of the current four members have been together since that time, and the sound has coalesced into a strong blues/r’n’b – based groove, overlayed with expressive melody and harmony vocal lines. Using the Delta as a jumping-off point, Red Rain produces new music with a strong personality. Even to covers (running from John Hiatt to Howlin’ Wolf, Van Morrison, Junior Parker, Ray Charles and The Band) are delivered in a way that reflects the musical sense of Red Rain rather than merely duplicating the originals – still, great songs which make an immediate connection with the audience.

The band’s mission is to take the gospel to places where it is rarely heard. Red Rain has participated in many concerts in local bars, parks, on university campuses, and in jails.

Les Brown­ Drums

Greg Paul ­ Keyboard & lead vocalist

Dan Robins ­ Guitar

Doug Virgin ­ Bass

CD Releases:
  • “Eye of the Hurricane” ­ Released: 1995
  • “Peace on Earth” Released: 1998 (no longer available)
  • “Night at Grace’s” Released: 2006
  • “Somewhere in this there’s Love (Christmas Songs)” Released: 2008
  • “In The Image” Released: 2011

For more info or to book a gig contact Greg Paul:  416-922-0628 x. 213