Returns of cultural property

Under the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, Canada has returned the following cultural property to its country of origin since 1997:


August 2002: Canada returns 571 pre-Columbian textiles to the Plurinational State of Bolivia.


October 2010: Canada returns more than 300 ancient coins, jewellery and metal artifacts from Roman and Byzantine times to the Republic of Bulgaria.

June 2011: Canada returns 21,000 archaeological objects, including ancient coins, jewellery, bronze eagles, buckles, arrows and spearheads, and bone sewing needles. These objects cover more than 2600 years of the history of Bulgaria and represent a mix of Hellenistic, Roman, Macedonian, Byzantine, Bulgarian, and Ottoman cultural heritage.

January 2016: Canada returns a 19th century curved sword and dagger to the Republic of Bulgaria.


November 2010: Canada returns 35 fish, plant, insect and reptile fossils to the People's Republic of China. The fossils were between 125-150 million years old, and originated from the Liaoning region of China.

September 2013: Canada returns 3 fossils to the People's Republic of China. The fossils originated from the Cambrian fossil shale in the Chengjiang region of China.

January 2017: Canada returns two fossils and a pair of wooden architectural carvings to the People's Republic of China. The returned objects were a Sauricthys fish fossil, approximately 220 million years old from the Guizhou Province of China, an Ichthyosaur fossil, approximately 247 million years old, and a pair of 19th century carved wooden roof supports.

December 2022: Canada returns a set of 9 antique Chinese coins to the People's Republic of China. The coins dated from various periods ranging from the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE) to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 CE).


November 1997: Canada returns a collection of pre-Columbian gold jewellery and two ceramic figures to the Republic of Colombia. The jewellery originates from northern Colombia and dates to 1000-1500 CE.

February 2006: Canada returns an ancient anthropomorphic figurine usually associated with tombs in the Rio Magdalena Region, and a pre-Columbian stone carving with a human face to the Republic of Colombia.


December 2004: Canada returns a clay funerary figurine to the Arab Republic of Egypt.

August 2010: Canada returns a sculpted head of a woman, carved in marble dating to the 1st or 2nd century BCE to the Arab Republic of Egypt.

March 2021: Canada returns a small bronze figurine of a cat, representing the Egyptian goddess Bastet, believed to date from the Late Period to beginning of the Ptolemaic Period (roughly 664-323 BCE), to the Arab Republic of Egypt.


April 2015: Canada returns a 12th century sculpture of a Parrot Lady to the Republic of India.


March 2019: Canada returns two contemporary paintings by Iraqi artist Mahood Ahmad to the Republic of Iraq.


November 2018: Canada returns 58 antiquities including pottery, glass vials, sculptures and oil lamps, some dating back to the third or fourth century CE and the Roman period.


July 2015: Canada returns a Phoenician glass antiquity dating to the 6th century BC to the Republic of Lebanon.


January 2009: Canada returns three bronze bracelets, archaeological in origin, to the Republic of Mali.


November 1997: Canada returns 20 ceramic pots and figures to the Government of the United Mexican States. These pre-Columbian ceramics originate from Mexico's Pacific coast and date from 200 BCE to 250 CE.

April 2017: Canada returns the head of a ceramic figurine to the Government of the United Mexican States. This pre-Columbian ceramic head originates from the western region of Mexico.


January 2009: Canada returns a terracotta figure, similar to a Nok clay figure, to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This figure is between 1,300 and 2,200 years old, and was returned to Nigeria with a seated terracotta figure and a wooden ceremonial statue.


November 1997: Canada returns pre-Columbian artifacts (painted ceramics, textiles and feathered articles) to the Republic of Peru.

April 2000: Canada returns pre-Columbian ceramic vessels to the Republic of Peru.

August 2002: Canada returns approximately 140 pre-Columbian textiles and other objects to the Republic of Peru.

May 2005: Canada returns a pre-Columbian copper figurine to the Republic of Peru.


May 1997: Canada returns 32 Byzantine mosaics dating to the 5th and 6th century CE to the Syrian Arab Republic.

April 1999: Canada returns a second group of Byzantine mosaics to the Syrian Arab Republic.

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