Dorothy Inglis

Dorothy Inglis

Historic nativity display restored

After being away for 48 years, Dorothy Inglis has returned home to Summerland to enjoy retirement.

After being away for 48 years, Dorothy Inglis has returned home to Summerland to enjoy retirement.

She recently took on the project of resurrecting and having a historical nativity scene returned to its lofty position above Main Street.

There is little history to be found in regards to the nativity scene.

From the information that can be gleaned, it was said to have been originally made by the Summerland Art Club in cooperation with the municipality, in the early 1950s.

The original 14 pieces were displayed on the tiered lawns of the Stevens property at the west end of Main Street.

Over the years many things changed.

The property changed hands and the pieces eventually started to fall into a state of disrepair.

It is rumoured that the pieces were on their way to the landfill when a small group from the Alliance Church rescued them.

They did some restoration work and repaired the particle board figures and remade the two angels.

The scene was displayed outside the church in 2008. Since that time it has been stored in the church’s basement.

The nativity scene was very memorable to those who had grown up with it. It was a very impressive sight for children upon seeing it for the first time. One young boy was known to have referred to it as “God’s house.”

Many of these children, now grown adults, started to share their memories of the nativity scene on the Summerland Hometown Memories Facebook page.

People recalled that when they saw the scene lit up it signalled the start of the Christmas season.

Others remembered walking or sitting among the larger than life sized figures and feeling comforted and somehow reassured that everything was right in the world.

One person said that even though her family did not celebrate Christmas, she remembered being excited to drive past Main Street at night just so she could catch a glimpse of the beautiful biblical scene.

When Inglis started reading the comments being made, she thought to herself, I know where that set is. Surely we can do something about it.

She did do something and when asked what motivated her into actually acting on her thoughts she said, “Because I knew we could do it and because I had faith in this town.”

Inglis contacted people who she felt could help her.

The property owner was agreeable to having the nativity scene once again set up on the tiers.

The shop teacher at the high school was asked if he could cut out new figures. He agreed and arranged for the plywood to be donated.

The members of the Summerland Art Club were happy to paint the new pieces and with the help of a small work party, the nativity scene was set up in time for the Festival of Lights last Friday evening.

“It’s just evolved with the people in this town who just stepped up,” Inglis said.

By using the original pieces for a pattern the four new pieces that were completed for this year were the camel, the donkey, the kneeling shepherd boy and the baby Jesus in the manager.

The pieces that still need to be remade are Joseph and Mary, the three wise men, a standing shepherd boy and the two lambs.

“The goal is to have it finished for next Christmas,” explained Inglis. The Alliance Church has agreed to retain ownership of the whole thing and to store it and they will set it up from here on in, as long as the homeowners are agreeable.”

Inglis has started a fund raising campaign to raise money to cover the cost of the paint and varnish used in the remaking of the figures and for the lighting needed for the display.

Many people are now expressing their gratitude to Inglis for taking the initiative to bring this nativity scene back to life.

With the help of many willing partners she has made sure that future generations will be touched by its presence overlooking our town.

If you would like to help the cause, go to to donate.

If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.