The religious landscape of North America is different from other regions of the world in that not only is there a lack of a highly visible religious elements, but also the idea and practice of pilgrimage and ritual travel is not as pervasive as in Europe and Asia. However, there are many human-built and natural spaces marked by Roman Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Indigenous peoples, and members of other faiths which are subject to either formal or informal pilgrimage-like travel. Visits to these sacred sites have intensified with the rise and expansion of tourism after World War II, conflating pilgrimage-like travel with tourism. As such, there has been an expansion of the term ‘pilgrimage’ to describe the visits of people to sites of historical, political and/or pop culture importance. This paper examines the changing religious and ritual landscapes in North America, and examines the case of tourism and pilgrimage to Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ontario, to show how ritual journeys in North America have become more inclusive over time.



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