Article by Jim Klein
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park
The Octagon – February, 2019
Just when we thought we were having an “easy” winter and spring was in our sights, along comes the dreaded Arctic air! Hopefully it won’t last more than a week and we can get back on track with watching for those first bulbs poking through the soil.
The Friends of Fintry Board held a planning meeting in January as we step out into another year with a few unknowns. We have started the process of getting all our old photographs, letters etc. of Dun-Waters’ time at Fintry digitized so they will be available online. This is a huge job but will be a wonderful addition to our archives when complete.
We are still sorting through the many, many applications we received for a Caretaker and a decision regarding which way to go with this will be made within the next month. Student grants have been applied for, so now it is a waiting game (until April) to find out if we have been successful. Having students give tours during the summer months will certainly take a load off our volunteers, so fingers crossed there!
Here is a rather interesting segment from our Curator, Dan Bruce on one of the most talked about creatures in the Fintry Trophy Room……..
“Giraffes are impressive animals, and the specimen in the Trophy Room at Fintry is no exception. Visitors coming into the room for the first time usually stop at the entry step and gasp. Some are enthralled by the unexpected, and others are resistant, and unwilling to accept the presence of such a creature.
Fintry’s giraffe was actually born and lived in the Penticton “Game Farm” and was not at any time the object of a hunt. The taxidermy was done by Abe Braun of Okanagan Falls, and a very skilled job he did too.
Native only in Africa, the giraffe has found its way into many other parts of the world, and has gained a significance of its own in diverse cultures around the world. In 1415, not one, but two giraffes were presented to Yongle, the emperor of China, one of which was shipped direct from Malindi in East Africa direct to China. At a later date, 1827, a young giraffe was presented to King George IV by Mehemet Ali, the pasha of Egypt. This animal was brought from the Sudan to Cairo, strapped to the back of a camel. It was then shipped, via Malta to England, and arrived safely at Windsor Castle. King George was delighted with the gift, and commissioned the Swiss artist, Jacques-Laurent Agasse to paint the giraffe, together with the Egyptian attendants who were sent to look after it on the journey. The painting is currently on loan from the Royal Collection to the Zoological Society of London.
Many of Fintry’s visitors accept the idea of the giraffe’s long neck, but then have to reject that notion in view of the fact that almost every four footed creature can easily reach the ground by lowering the head while standing normally. The giraffe cannot, and must spread the front legs to allow the animal to get a drink at ground level. (Elephants cannot reach the ground either, but they have solved the problem with unique equipment of their own)
Anyone wishing to delve into the details of the life of the giraffe may refer to several books on the subject, the best of which is “The Giraffe, its Biology, Behaviour and Ecology” by Anne Innis Dagg and J. Bristol Foster, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976. It is pleasing to note that both the authors of this work are Canadian scientists.”
The Octagon – January, 2019
Happy New Year to you and yours!
As we embark on this new year, we look forward to a year filled with infinite possibilities and exciting new ideas for Fintry. It is a busy time for our Board members as we sort through the many applications for permanent Caretakers for this wonderful old house, and are also in the midst of applying for grants for summer students. Having students will definitely take a load off our volunteers who tirelessly travel to Fintry and give Manor House tours throughout the summer. We will also be able to be open more days of the week and for longer hours each day.
We will keep you updated as and when these new changes take place.
This month’s notes from our Curator, Dan Bruce:
Anyone looking through the china-ware in an English household would be almost certain to find at least one example of “Willow Pattern”crockery. This is a perfect example of “chinoiserie”, the flattering imitation of Chinese decorative motifs that was common over much of Europe from the seventeenth century onwards.
The Manor House dining room has a fine specimen of a nineteenth century Staffordshire platter, decorated with the “authorised version” of this famous design. It is thought that the pattern was invented and first used by Thomas Minton, working for Thomas Turner at Caughley, (pronounced ‘ calflee’) in 1780. The pattern was done in blue on a white background, this being in itself a copy of Chinese porcelain colour choice.
The design uses a combination of Chinese motifs that were taken from original pieces brought from China, and which were prized collectors’ items in the West. Over the years it has been copied by a huge number of manufacturers, and not necessarily limited to ceramic items. ( I have seen Willow Pattern Kleenex boxes). The essential details remain the same, namely the bridge with three figures crossing, the pair of birds, the temple building with its fenced garden, and of course, the willow tree itself. Variations exist not only in content, but in colours as well. The collection at Fintry has a number of examples of the original version, and also a few of the “look-alikes”.
There are many publications devoted to this subject, not all of which are in agreement, but it is safe to say that “Willow Pattern” is the most popular design ever created to decorate household crockery.
So far we really don’t have much to complain about this winter……the snow shovel has hardly seen any use at all. Now if we can just get through January, we’ll be almost home free and can start browsing through those seed catalogues in anticipation of Spring!
Good health and every happiness to you all.
Kathy Drew, President,
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.
Caretaker opportunity at the Fintry Manor House in Fintry B.C,
The Fintry Manor House is located within a provincial park with a campground nearby. It is located approximately 50 kilometres equidistant from Vernon and Kelowna on the west side of Okanagan Lake.
The ideal candidates like working with the public, meeting new people and enjoy history and heritage. The position suits a couple more than an individual but is not exclusive to the former. A one-bedroom suite is provided in the Manor House in lieu of wages, along with two additional furnished bedrooms for summer students.
Duties include (but are not limited to) maintaining the security and presentation of the Manor House; some gardening; assisting with Fairs; guiding tours of the Manor House and accommodating and supervising student guides during the months of operation (May to October).
Caretakers are expected to attend and report to the Fintry Board of Directors’ monthly meetings.
Caretakers are responsible for their own landline, cable TV, personal phone services, half the cost of hydro and propane.
Criminal record check and current BC Food Safe certificate is required.
This is a year round position.
For more information or to apply please contact Kathy at 250-542-4139 or email [email protected]
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park
The Octagon – December, 2018
This is the time of year that we look back on all that we have accomplished in the past months, our successes, things that need to be improved upon and the setting of new goals for the coming year. Even although the Manor House has gone into “hibernation” The Friends of Fintry Board continues to plan for the coming year and to make this little gem in the history of the Okanagan, a destination not to be missed. We are excited that BC Parks is extending the campground, thus enabling more visitors to the area, as quite often in the summer months the campground would be completely full.
We held our Volunteer Appreciation night last month at Okanagan Spirits and it was wonderful to see so many Friends, old and new and discuss all things Fintry. We thank Kim Stinson from Stinson Events Catering for putting on an amazing spread of appies and also Okanagan Spirits for supplying the venue. I think a good time was had by all.
And now, some notes from our Curator, Dan Bruce:
Taylor’s Antiques on Powick Road in Kelowna continues to be a source of interesting additions to our collections at Fintry. Over the last few years, some thirty items have been installed in the Manor House, the latest being an entertaining print by Cecil Aldin. The picture is a hunt scene, perhaps best described as “confusion in the kale patch” where a pack of hounds have become somewhat scattered in a lush field of kale. Dogs and riders everywhere, while a hare, (not a fox), exits stage right.
Cecil Aldin, 1870 – 1935, was a very well-known artist with an interest in dogs, horses and wildlife in general. He was much involved in the fox-hunting scene, and in 1910, was Master of the South Berkshire Hunt. Interestingly, at Fintry we have two of his prints that are autographed. These are a part of the small percentage of original furnishings, and it is possible that James Dun-Waters acquired these from Aldin himself, it being a safe bet that they would have known each other.
Aldin’s work was not limited to animals however. His art was frequently published in “The Graphic” and “The Illustrated London News” He was much applauded for his depictions of women involved in agriculture as a vital part of the war effort in Britain.
The Manor House has been the focus of a very extensive programme of repair, upgrades and renovations, carried out by BC Parks. We are in process of installing a bronze plaque recording our appreciation of the work done, the commitment to preserving Fintry’s history, and the ongoing partnership between BC Parks and The Friends of Fintry.
Those visiting Fintry recently will have seen a long bank of topsoil in the hay-field just to the east of the entry drive. I have been asked about this, and I explained to one inquirer that a young Ogopogo had died, and the family wanted a “straight-out” burial, so what you see is the mound over the grave. This was met with some disbelief, so I made another suggestion, that BC Parks are extending the campsite facilities in that area, and when all is complete, the long mound will be smoothed over. (Could be some truth to that one).
We are also investigating ways to improve the road signage situation at the bottom of Fintry Delta Road, where the entry to the Park is. This signage muddle has been a problem for visitors and residents of the delta for some considerable time. Hopefully we can get something less confusing and more welcoming in place.
In closing, I would like to wish you the very best of the season and hope that you manage to visit Fintry sometime during the coming year.
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park
The Octagon – November 2018
The pumpkin colours of fall are disappearing, the deer are rutting and many animals are starting to grow their winter coats. We humans start to winterize as well, by digging out those warm winter coats and sweaters, change-over to winter tires and make sure our furnaces are in good running condition. Closing up the Fintry Manor House is always a sad time of year as we shut the doors on Alice’s bedroom, the dining room, J.C. Dunwaters’ trophy room and all the wonderful stories that are part of this historical site. The bats have gone into hibernation, the campground is closed, and the Manor House is all winterized and secure. The Friends of Fintry Board members however, are still working hard in the background planning and organizing for next year.
The first thing on our agenda is to hire Caretakers to live on-site at the Manor House. We are in the midst of constructing a contract and will be advertising this position in the coming months. We will also be applying for a student grant and hope to be successful in obtaining two students to conduct tours of the Manor House next summer.
Notes from our Curator, Dan Bruce: Among the many items of Natural History interest in the Trophy Room is our Narwhal tusk, and a fine specimen it is. It was passed on to us from the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, who felt that they could not exhibit it as it is not from British Columbia, but from Greenland. The Narwhal is of course a famous denizen of Canada’s Arctic waters. The name derives from the Old Norse, and means “corpse whale” because of the mottled colour of the animal’s skin. The tusks of these whales have a very long history in European culture and lore. Believed to be the horns of unicorns, they were thought to be an indicator and an antidote for poison in medieval times, and were accordingly highly valued. Most of the specimens that were available in medieval Europe passed through the hands of the Danish royal family. They were also a highly prized trade item that the Vikings carried southwards, some even reaching Bhagdad and Cairo. Visitors to Copenhagen’s Rosenborg Palace can see the famous “Unicorn Throne”, part of the regalia of the Danish kings. This was made of Narwhal tusk and gold, for the coronation of King Christian V in 1671. We have added an Inuit stone sculpture of a Narwhal to the Trophy Room collection, as so many of our visitors seem to be unfamiliar with the appearance of this species of whale.
Our Library has now received our copy of the just published “Okanagan Lake, an Illustrated Exploration Above and Below the Waters” by Raphael Nowak. This is a very thorough and well researched volume, and we are especially pleased that The Fintry Estate was one of the sponsoring subscribers for this book. This is in fact the third book that Fintry has been instrumental in publishing, the others being “The Armorial of Haiti” and “The History of Wellington College” Copies of “Okanagan Lake” are available at Mosaic Books, Kelowna.
We have just received from Sharron Simpson a varied collection of bells that was put together by Sharron’s mother over a number of years. Some of these will be added to the Fintry collection, and others will be shared with the Lake Country Museum. Thank you, Sharron!
So as you can see, we have not gone into hibernation despite the now gloomy weather. The Board continues to meet every month and we are planning for some exciting changes for the coming year.
Kathy Drew, President,
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park
The Octagon – October, 2018
Fall has arrived and as the colours change so do we. This coming weekend (Thanksgiving) sees the last of this year’s Manor House tours. We will be offering guided tours on both Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 and 2:30 pm. So if you are looking for something to do while the turkey is cooking, take the family for a scenic drive along Westside Road and visit the Manor House.
As we reflect back on this past season we think of all the visitors from around the world who visited and toured the Manor House; all the school tours with the excited children who gazed in wonderment at the artifacts from a bygone era; all the seniors who came by bus for a day’s outing and reminisced as they explored the objets d’art of their childhood. We are delighted to see the figures for this past season show an increase in revenue from tours and gift shop sales despite the fact that due to a lack of volunteers, we were only able to offer guided tours on weekends.
September 16th saw another wonderful Fintry Fair take place in front of the Manor House and despite the ominous weather which was forecast, the day turned out to be warm and sunny! I am sure the forecast kept many people away as attendance was down but those who did come out certainly seemed to enjoy themselves. The Vikings put on another of their crowd-pleasing shows, the Kalamalka Highlanders strutted their stuff on the front lawn; the Triskele Celtic singers and other musicians entertained us beautifully all day long. For those of you who missed the Fairs this year, we will be holding these events again next year with the first being held on Mother’s Day 2019.
Notes from our Curator, Dan Bruce: Just in time for the Fall Fair, we were able to arrange for the return of an interesting piece of Fintry’s past. The granite and concrete block that was used as a mounting aide for tall horses is now back at the Manor House. This was originally somewhere out to the west of the building, but that area is now part of the campsite section of the Park, so we have re-located it on the patio outside the Trophy Room. When the Baileys moved from the Manor House to Burnside, they took the block with them, (along with the sundial). The sundial was brought back to its original site several years ago, but the mounting block was a bit more of a challenge. One of our neighbours on the Delta, Conrad Moskal was able to make this move happen for us with his heavy equipment. The block is no lightweight, and was clearly never meant to be moved at all. Conrad set it down carefully on the corner of the patio, inset somewhat to allow the lawn mower to work around it. When we have our Fairs in the future, the Fintry merchandise booth canopy can be secured to the block, no wind could ever move it!
Still in the spirit of the season, I would like to thank all the hard working members of the Friends of Fintry who make the three Fairs which we hold in May, July and September happen.
I am truly grateful to those of you who take time out of your already busy lives, step up and take on whatever role is needing filled……. and it all just comes together.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Despite the ominous forecast, it turned out to be a fantastic day for the Fintry Fall Fair. We had sunshine, Vikings, the Kalamalka Highlanders and a varied selection of singers entertaining us from the verandah. The Manor House had a constant stream of visitors taking tours and learning a little about the history of Dun-Waters and I believe a lot of fun was had by everyone! Guided tours of the Manor House are still available every Saturday and Sunday afternoon until Thanksgiving…….so bring your friends and family and learn about the early history of this little corner of the province.
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park
The Octagon – September, 2018
The arrival of September has brought some decidedly cooler temperatures and thankfully some clearer skies. Kids are back to school and college and routines are back to a sense of normalcy once again!
As is normal for the Friends of Fintry, we are once again preparing for our last Fair of the year…..our Fintry Fall Fair…… which will be taking place on Sunday, September 16th with a wonderful new line-up of great musicians, some new vendors and the return of the Vikings as well as the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band. Attached is the line-up of performers so you can gauge your visit according to what you want to see and hear! Of course Manor House tours will be running all day so if you haven’t visited lately this would be the day to come. Remember we now have a fantastic new ramp (thank you BC Parks) so the Manor House is wheelchair accessible.
In the middle of August we welcomed a group of seniors from a Kelowna Care Home. They were very grateful to have this ramp which enabled those with wheelchairs and walkers to come into the Manor House to view and learn the history of the Dun-Waters era. They enjoyed a picnic on the veranda before the tour and I know they enjoyed reminiscing over some of the artifacts from this bygone time, but which they remembered using as youngsters. We always enjoy hearing their stories!
As mentioned in the August Octagon, our very special guest from Fintry, Stirlingshire, Scotland came to “our” Fintry for a visit. He is a historian from the museum there and was very interested to make the connection and see what Dun-Waters had developed over here. Dun-Waters early years were spent in Fintry, Scotland and when he arrived here in 1909 and saw the delta and the surrounding hills it reminded him so much of his homeland that he called this place Fintry. It is wonderful to now have a contact in Scotland that we can share info with and ask questions of, to fill in the gaps of our Dun-Waters knowledge.
Following is an item of historical interest from our Curator, Dan Bruce:
Visitors to the Fall Fair on September 16th who take the tour of the Manor House will be able to see one of Fintry’s “hidden treasures”. This is a very good example of a Navajo blanket which was in fact a part of the original furnishing of the house. It came back to Fintry through the generosity of Rod and Karen Stuart, who have been diligent in assisting with the return of such Fintry items that they have inherited.
Travel brochures in the collection suggest that at some point, the Dun-Waters might have taken a trip to the south-western USA, where he could have purchased the blanket, but that is just a conjecture. Such things were available in a number of places, as they still are today. In any event, this blanket is in mint condition, and shows the deep red and purple colours that were used to dye the wool that the Navajo produced from their own breed of sheep. The blanket is normally kept in its own storage case, and will be exhibited for the first time on the day of the Fall Fair, in the bedroom beside Mrs. Dun-Waters’ sitting room.
We certainly hope you can come join us at the Fall Fair on Sunday, September 16th .
A special note…..if you renew your membership at the Fair it is valid until April 30, 2020!
Kathy Drew, President,
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.