The Christmas Story at the Church of The Holy Trinity

Transplanted St. Martin's Nativity pageant moves from stage to film and online

December 21, 2020

TORONTO, CANADA -- In 1938, Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity received the gift of The Christmas Story Nativity pageant from St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in London, England. It has been performed on stage at Holy Trinity every Christmas season since.

The Queen and her sister Margaret were taken to the pageant at St. Martin’s during its 1928-38 run in London.

"This year, with the pandemic, it was impossible to mount a stage production so we made a beautiful film that people can stream and watch from their own couch wherever in the world they live." said long-time director Susan Watson.

"A series of small miracles aligned to allow us to create this film. 'Angel' investors committed seed funds up-front so the project could hire a professional film crew. Volunteer cast members from previous years agreed to work in a totally different medium in the public square while physically distanced and within household bubbles. Even the weather co-operated with sunshine and 18-degree November temperatures on the two shooting days."

The film is set outside the church, which is one of Toronto's architectural treasures, and in neighbouring downtown locations. Visually, the film acknowledges both the context of the pandemic and the presence of the tent encampment of people sleeping rough that currently surrounds the church. The production was edited to a soundtrack of professionally recorded narrators, singers and organist.

The result is a beautiful film that situates the classic story in a modern urban environment.

The Christmas Story 2020: A Pandemic Pageant is available on demand until 6 January, 2021. Access is by donation via

Quick Facts:

  • The pageant was brought to Toronto by Patricia Frank, daughter of a St. Martin's vicar.
  • Physician Ian Digby, spouse of the director, was the COVID compliance officer on set.
  • The film was co-directed and edited by Eric Miller of THALWEG Media.
  • Long-time audience member, Canadian Donna Elnor, watched the pageant online this year - she has attended the stage productions for 74 years, since she was 11 years old.

Audience Quotes:

"Loved it … so grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful music and to be able to start our Christmas season with the same traditional story my family has participated in for so many years." Donna Elnor (Toronto, Ontario)

"What a gift …. you have turned a pandemic letdown into a stunning celebration of justice and peace."  R.B. (Thunder Bay, Ontario)

"A triumph!"  J.K. (Twickenham, UK)

"Absolutely incredible, we will watch it again over the holidays and will share it with others...." B.P. (Penticton, British Columbia)

"Wonderful news that I can watch and share the Christmas Story this year!"  I.E. (Former cast member, Brazil)

Photos for Media use:

Video clips for Media use:

Media Contact:

Susan Watson


1-416-598-4521 Ext. 301

Contact Name:
Susan Watson
The Christmas Story at the Church of The Holy Trinity
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1-416-598-4521 Ext. 301
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