In Canada, in 1987, Abbé
Sarto Lord, then the parish priest of Saint Jean Port Joli, wanted to replace the old plaster
figures of the parish crèche. These did not really go with the sparkling colours of maple, oak and linden which panelled
the interior walls of the church.
This town is considered the capital of Quebec woodcarving and some 15 carvers set out to work together at the initiative of Benoi Deschênes, himself a woodcarver, to provide their church with a crèche of 21 people and animals in linden wood. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the ox and ass, shepherds and their sheep, the Angel Gabriel as well as the Wise Men populated this new crèche .
Six other pieces have since been added to the impressive collection: camels, a shepherd, a German shepherd dog, the Star of Bethlehem and, most recently, a pregnant Virgin.