A well-known Canadian artist’s nativity carving has been repaired by a local surgeon.

Between 1949 and 1955, acclaimed Canadian artist Doris McCarthy carved a 27-inch Crib Set for St. Aiden’s Anglican Church in Toronto’s Beach area. A family member of Doris’ who resides in Parry Sound was given the set by McCarthy. While being stored in her home, the plaster figurine was damaged.

Dr. Ken Foster was enlisted to repair the King after a fall, took him home to put a rod in the king’s form and reattached his head. Jane Jones, an artist from Carling was asked to paint the king with Doris’ old paints to bring him back to his original splendor.

“I had the last cast set and feeling a great responsibility to do something with it, and of course the Mary Street Centre has been doing lovely things for the community and I thought that would be a great place for the last set to end up. It is missing baby Jesus and lo and beholds the Ethiopian king had a fall and broke his neck but it is still a beautiful set,” said Lynne Atkinson, Executive Director of the foundation at the West Parry Sound Health Centre.

“We’re so lucky that it’s found a beautiful home,  that Dr. Foster helped and how Parry Sound is to have this beautiful piece. It really is the last of McCarthy’s liturgical sets to go to a parish in Ontario,” Atkinson said.

According to Atkinson, Dr. Brian Freeland, formerly the head of religious programmes for the CBC, believed McCarthy’s figures to be the most exquisite Epiphany scene created. Dr. Freeland attempted to commission a set for his church, St. Thomas’ on Huron Street in Toronto. McCarthy declined the offer. Persistent, Dr. Freeland convinced McCarthy to create limited edition plaster copies and Dr. Freeland’s persistence is the catalyst for a dozen of these Epiphany scenes being placed in parishes around Ontario. Those replicas are now in Parry Sound at St. Mary’s church permanently.

The Ethiopian King has recovered and will be available with the nativity set at St. Mary’s Church this weekend.