The Octagon – July, 2020

Greetings Friends,

Summer is here and it is really strange not to be living half my life at Fintry welcoming visitors and doing tours. However, there is a glimmer of hope as we are going to open towards the end of July for modified self-guided tours of the Manor House and Octagonal Barn. By then the two students that we have hired will be in place, ready to answer questions, give presentations etc., all adhering to Covid-19 protocols. This summer is going to be very different from past seasons but we are delighted just to be open and to be able to share this historic site even if it is on quite a different level from our usual tours. All of the self-guided tours this year will be by donation and we are asking that debit and credit cards be used for merchandise purchases, as another level of safety for our workers and volunteers.

Unfortunately, all of our Fairs have been cancelled for this year. These fairs provided us with the means to pay our expenses and utilities throughout the winter, so we are reliant on donations to carry us through these difficult times. If you cannot visit Fintry this summer, donations can also be made through our website www.fintry.ca . Our website has also been revamped, thanks to our hard-working Business Manager Shannon, and now virtual tours of the Manor House are available with the click of your mouse while staying home and staying safe!

We were saddened to hear that a past Board member, Michael Recknell has passed away. Michael was a wonderful supporter of Fintry and did much over the years getting the Fintry Fairs going and being a man of incredible foresight and enthusiasm for all things Fintry. These past years he and his wife Joan, still attended our Fairs even as it became more difficult for them due to ill health. The Board of the Friends of Fintry would like to acknowledge and thank his generous gesture of requesting that family and friends donate to the Friends of Fintry in his name.

As Curator of Fintry, Dan Bruce often undertakes some strange duties in order to keep the collection in tip-top condition, and this following article describes one of the trickiest and time-consuming jobs that he has had to do……

The eagle is probably the bird most frequently used as a symbol, emblem and metaphor in our own traditions, and those of many other cultures as well.     Aquila chrysaetos, the Golden Eagle faces the congregation in numerous churches as its spread wings support the lectern bible. The same bird topped the battle standards of imperial Rome, and also the flags of Napoleon’s armies, (one can be seen in the Waterloo picture in the Red Room).    Almost every one of the native North American aboriginal groups held a special regard for the eagle, either the Bald or the Golden, and the Golden clutches his snake on the coat-of-arms of Mexico. The last Aztec emperor was Cuauhtémoc, “Descending Eagle”.

It should be, and indeed is, that Fintry has its own eagle. The late Gordon Peacock of Armstrong donated his collection of eggs and some mounted birds to Fintry, and that included a Golden Eagle, mounted (a la Cuauhtémoc) with wings fully spread in descent, 76 inches tip to tip.  This specimen is of some age, but apart from being extremely dusty, it is in very good condition. I have been spending some “isolation time” cleaning it, preparatory to putting it up in the Trophy Room.  The plan is to replace the peacock, (perhaps to Gordon’s amusement) above the doorway with the recently cleaned eagle.  The problem with the peacock is that it was mounted as if in flight, but not with thought given to the train which would stream straight behind a flying bird, and not droop to one side.  With luck, the eagle will fit into the space above the door.

Live eagles can frequently be seen in the Park at Fintry, although the Bald Eagle is more common than the Golden. Being a North American endemic species, the Founding Fathers of the United States chose the Bald Eagle as the national emblem. This apparently was done over the objections of Benjamin Franklin, who preferred the Wild Turkey in that role.  Doubtless there are many, both then and now who are relieved that Franklin was overruled.

Any visitors to Fintry now will notice with regret the loss of the veteran Douglas Fir that grew just to the north of the Manor House. That tree fell earlier this month, after having stood there for just about 100 years.  It fell to the east, and landed on part of the labyrinth, but it also came down on the London Plane tree that was planted by Ben Lee and Mark Flanagan in 2009 as part of Fintry’s 100th anniversary.   Incredibly, the main stem of the Plane still stands, and with some TLC and careful pruning, the tree will almost certainly recover.

The Friends of Fintry Annual General Meeting will be held at the Fintry Manor House on Saturday, 15th August, 2020 at 10.00 a.m.  We invite all members to attend. If your membership has lapsed you can renew at the door before the meeting or through our website www.fintry.ca. We will be adhering to physical distancing and hand sanitizer will be available. We are in urgent need of new board members so If anyone is interested in joining the Board, contact us through our email: [email protected] for an application form or phone me at 250-542-4139 for more information.

Stay healthy everyone,

Kathy Drew

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – June 2020

Greetings Friends,

I hope that everyone is weathering the storm well as it seems that the worst is over (for now) and a small sense of normalcy is starting to happen.

At the end of May, we were thrilled to hear that The Friends of Fintry were successful in their application through Canada Summer Jobs and we hope to hire two students in July to help with cataloguing the collection and to perhaps do modified tours of the Manor House and Octagonal Barn, adhering to the Worksafe BC guidelines. This will be quite a challenge particularly in the Manor House, but we are working on a plan!

We are doubtful that our September Fair will happen as we will still be governed by the “up to 50 people” policy laid out by BC Health. Our AGM normally held at the Manor House in June has been postponed to August, date TBA.

In the meantime, we would like to remind you that all memberships expired at the end of April, 2020 and we would be delighted if you would renew for another year. We do depend on our membership for not only their financial contribution, but the number of signed up members helps us when applying for grants, etc. Signed up members also receive the Octagon every month which keeps one apprised of upcoming events and lots of other interesting tidbits, such as this one following……..

An article written by our Curator Dan Bruce regarding a portrait in the Manor House living room…….

When Albert, 4th Earl Grey gave a portrait of himself to James Dun-Waters, he was following a long-standing British tradition.   The exchange of “pictures” was a token of friendship or esteem in the pre-photograph age, a custom that perhaps finds modern expression in “Facebook”.    Henry VIII ordered a portrait of Anne of Cleves to be brought for his approval before agreeing to marry her.  (That episode went sideways, although not disastrously).

John Singer Sargent, an accomplished American artist gave great satisfaction to his sitters on both sides of the Atlantic during his working life, ca. 1880 – 1920.   “High Society” were anxious to have him immortalise them on canvas, and he was kept extremely busy with portraits, but also produced landscapes and scenes of the first World War.   Some of his hunting camp scenes would certainly have earned the approval of James Dun-Waters.   Sargent was asked to paint the Coronation Portrait of Edward VII, a request which with due modesty he declined.   He was offered a knighthood in 1907, but his American citizenship prevented his acceptance.

At Fintry, Sargent’s portrait sketch of Earl Grey hangs in the living room, and is one of several copies ordered by Grey to be given out as required.  The National Portrait Gallery in London has another copy, however, theirs is autographed with Grey’s signature only, but no date as ours has.

“Earl Grey” brings tea to mind but the famous tea with the bergamot essence was created under mysterious circumstances long before this earl was born.    Albert, 4th Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada met James Dun-Waters at Cambridge University. The must have become good friends, as Dun-Waters came to Canada as the Governor General’s guest.   This is the Earl Grey that sponsored the Grey Cup, a large and somewhat contentious silver vessel, seldom if ever filled with tea!

Next time you are in the Manor House, watch out for this Earl Grey portrait hanging to the right of the fireplace in the Living room.

Hoping that this finds you all safe and well,  

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

The Octagon – May, 2020

Greetings Friends,

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…..” Charles Dickens.

As we continue through this difficult time we are looking ahead and forever hopeful that the worst is now over. It would appear that we are nearing the end of some of these restrictions that have transformed our lives over these past few weeks. At Fintry we are sad that it has meant the cancellation of our Mother’s Day Fintry Fair, our new event The Fintry Fusion Art Show in June and probably the July Summer Fair as well. Tours of the Manor House, even after the Park opens, will also be in jeopardy.

In the meantime, check out our website at www.fintry.ca to keep apprised of what’s happening and have a virtual tour of the Manor House.

The Friends of Fintry has applied for several grants to assist us over the coming year……some of which were in the works before Covid-19 came along. We have applied for a Gaming Grant for our Education Outreach program, two students through the Canada Summer Jobs program and funding for a Syilx Okanagan Territory Recognition plaque through Heritage BC. In these uncertain times all we can do is hope that we are successful and can move ahead with some, if not all of our intentions.

Following is another curious account of an artefact in the Fintry collection……courtesy of our Curator, Dan Bruce.

“The “Cabinet of Curiosities” was a feature of many aristocratic homes in England and Europe from late mediaeval times onward. Consisting of collections of natural objects and artefacts from a variety of sources, this is where the origin of museums is to be found.  Going even further back, the church, and many secular rulers assiduously collected relics of saints, and other religious tokens.   The cabinets ranged in size from a modest small cupboard, to whole suites of rooms.   Of the more famous ones, that of Sir Hans Sloane in London (1750’s) became the foundation of the British Museum, and in Philadelphia Charles Willson Peale’s collection (1820’s) was the first of several in the United States.   Such a cabinet would have been very close in concept to the “Trophy Room”, a feature that Fintry shares with numerous stately homes in the U.K.

A bezoar stone is one of the items in the glass fronted showcase in Fintry’s Trophy Room.   These were regarded as a valuable substance to be included in various preparations used in mediaeval medical practices.  They were said to be found in the stomach of certain animals, and their rarity was of course emphasized to keep prices high.  The specimen at Fintry, shown with pens for scale, was donated by the Hanson Family of Barnum, Kaycee, Wyoming.  Several years ago, Leif Hanson noticed what he (understandably) took to be eggs, while working cattle on the family ranch.   Returning to the spot he at once realised that the group of ball-like objects were not eggs. With a great deal of care, one was cut open to reveal a very tightly compacted mass of dark brown hair.   These enigmatic items were carefully kept and during a visit with the family, I was asked for an opinion.   After a bit of research and consultation, I was able to suggest that they were bezoar stones, i.e. hair-balls from the stomach of a bison that had died there a long time ago.  The egg-like outer coating is apparently the result of a calcium build-up and the churning action of the animal’s stomach.  The Hanson family kindly agreed to part with one of the stones for Fintry, the only one that has been given away.”

In spite of an unusually cold spring, the plants around Alice’s grave are showing signs of life. Kathy, Dinham and Dan spent time on Sunday last at Fintry training the climbing roses up the steel framework around the grave. This involved putting up temporary wire supports to get the climbing stems up to the top of the structure, a job to be done before the leaves develop.  No- one was on hand to appreciate the daffodils, but members can be assured that they are all doing well, and the deer seem to have left the plant material alone.    For the first time, certainly due to Kathy and Keith’s work last Fall, the roses have reached the top of the framework, and are now extending over the arch at the entrance.   The lavender along the front of the Manor House has come through the winter just fine, and should be thick enough to really reduce the weed growth in the front border.   

Hoping that this finds you all safe and well,  

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon April 2020

Greetings Friends:

Well, here we are midst one of the most catastrophic times our world has ever seen…..it feels as if we are living in a scary movie with no ending. While the world is spinning out of control… we are safe and the only thing we can control are our own actions by staying home, not mingling with others even if they appear to be healthy and washing your hands!

When I wrote the last Octagon my bags were packed and I was anticipating a trip to see family in the UK, but two days before I was due to fly I could see the writing on the wall and cancelled everything.  So glad I did!

Like everything else around us, all Fintry meetings, activities etc., including our annual May Fair, have been put on hold but we are hopeful that we can salvage some of our summer if things get back to normal by July.

Now for some uplifting news…..huge congratulations to Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery (OSCD) for their spectacular collection of awards in the recent trade show in Austria. Not only did “The Laird” take a Double Gold among all the other triumphs, but OSCD made the news in spite of the media’s concentration on another topic.     James Cameron would have a bit more than a smile on his face now!

Still on the subject of alcohol, Dan Bruce our Curator, has sent me some info on another product from Okanagan Spirits…….Absinthe.

The “Oxford” defines “taboo” as something set apart or prohibited, so one might wonder why Okanagan Spirits chose that word (one of the few in the English language that is taken from the native language of Tonga) as the name for their Absinthe product.    The name evokes some of the mystique that surrounds this particular drink which was most fashionable in France and Switzerland in the mid nineteenth century. It became almost a cult, and was blamed, without any really valid reason for a great increase in alcoholism in continental Europe at that time.   England had no cause to point a finger however, as London had had its own devastating “love affair” with gin in the preceding century.

Such was the craze that developed for absinthe that the authorities finally banned its production and use at the end of the nineteenth century in Europe and the United States.

It was said that those who overindulged would have visions that often included the “Green Fairy”, a fair damsel, dressed in green, the colour of the drink when mixed with ice cold water. Beautiful, but with a decided tendency to lead astray, the Green Fairy may be represented by the Art Nouveau porcelain figure in the dining room at Fintry. . . her skirt shaped to hold the sugar cubes that some drinkers liked to pour their absinthe over.

Wormwood is a Mediterranean herb, Artemisia absinthinum, which is used in the production of absinthe, although the dominant flavour is that of anise.  Other species of Artemisia are found locally, the familiar sagebrush of the dry areas of the BC interior. They are vastly different from culinary sage and it takes a skillful distiller to incorporate Artemisia into something palatable.   I would suspect that absinthe was probably not used at Fintry, especially given the availability of the original Laird of Fintry scotch.     Some well- known characters that did commune with the Green Fairy were Picasso, Verlaine, Manet, Baudelaire, Degas, Oscar Wilde, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Edgar Allen Poe, to name a few.     Visit Okanagan Spirits either in Kelowna or Vernon when opportunity presents and have a taste, a sip of history indeed.

The birds are still singing, the spring flowers are blooming and new life is emerging all around us. Try to keep your spirits up, stay healthy, stay safe and we will get through this.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon March 2020

Greetings Friends:

I feel that we have turned the corner and Spring is on the horizon. The garden is coming back to life with crocuses and tulips poking through the leaf mulch and I have even found some blooming snowdrops!

As we “March” into this new season, plans are afoot for live-in caretakers, for students to assist with tours and for some new events at the Manor House, as well as a wedding in April!  We are excited to get back into the Manor House after this long period of hibernation and are planning the first Spring Clean on Friday, April 17th. Remember, we are always looking for volunteers!

The Friends of Fintry had a table at the Heritage Week kick-off in the Kelowna Community Theatre and it was a most successful day with many people visiting and sharing different aspects of our heritage. Thanks goes out to Shannon, Dan and Gwendy for manning the Fintry table and for imparting their Fintry knowledge to the visitors.

Dan Bruce our Curator, would like to share some interesting facts about a picture that we often get asked about during tours of the Manor House………

“There is no evidence that James Dun-Waters was particularly interested in boxing, but there is an interesting link between Fintry and the early history of the sport.    In the “Red Room” there hangs a small photographic reproduction of a portrait of the bare-knuckle boxer, Richard Humphreys. In 1787, Humphreys posed, (one could not say ‘sat’) for the then fashionable artist, John Hoppner, a painting done perhaps as a result of his widely admired prowess in the ring.   The painting had a number of owners in England before being bought by James Dun-Waters in 1888.  

Upon his removal to Canada, the picture accompanied all the other household items and was hung in the Fintry Manor House.  One of the many items that was rescued during the 1924 fire, the Hoppner was taken into Kelowna when Margaret, the second Mrs. Dun-Waters moved after James’ death.   In 1951, Margaret put the painting up for sale, and it was bought without hesitation by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.   An article in “Country Life” magazine enabled me to discover what had happened to it, a “good news/bad news “ situation. Good in that we know where it is, and that it is being well cared for, bad in that we will never see its return to Fintry.  I made contact with the Met. and asked about getting a photo of the piece.  Their response was that policy was not to supply images for permanent exhibit, but when I reminded them of the history of the painting, they immediately agreed, and sent a digital image with their compliments.

Richard Humphreys rose to fame as a prize-fighter in England, and perhaps his career would have been longer had he not challenged Daniel Mendoza, the young Jewish boxing prodigy from the East End of London.   They fought on a number of occasions, but September 27th, 1790 was the day on which Dan Mendoza beat Humphreys into a state of semi-consciousness, his final fight.

Boxing was chiefly the business of marginal society at that time, with many Jewish and Gypsy people involved.   The Jewish community of London were ecstatic over Mendoza’s whole career, and especially his victory over Richard Humphreys, a feat that earned him the public approbation of the Price Regent, and King George III.”

Richard Humphreys, the Boxer
John Hoppner

Now when you look at this picture hanging in the Red Room at the Fintry Manor House you will appreciate a little more of the history on how it arrived there!


In a few weeks I will be going to Scotland to visit my Scottish relatives and while there, will be taking a road trip to meet with the Museum people in Fintry, Scotland. Some of the Scottish Fintry Museum committee have visited “our” Fintry so it will be most interesting to see what info they have on Dun-Waters as he owned a large estate in Fintry before moving to Canada at the beginning of the century.

‘til next time…..

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – February 2020

I hope you had a happy Palindrome Day yesterday! …… 02/02/2020 (A palindrome being a word or sequence that reads the same backward as forward).

Not only was it a Palindrome Day but it was also Groundhog Day. Are we in for an early Spring? That depends on which groundhog you rely on! I just know that I saw my shadow yesterday and if the marmots at Fintry emerged from their cozy dens I’ll bet they saw their shadows as well, so it sounds like we have six more weeks of winter to contend with!

Here’s an event to get you out of the winter doldrums. BC Heritage Week is always held in February …. this year from February 17 to 23rd and the national and provincial theme is “Bringing the Past into the Future”.  It is unfortunate that the Fintry Manor House is still in the depths of winter but we encourage everyone to participate in events taking place in your community. The Central Okanagan Heritage Society is holding its “Kickoff” at the Kelowna Community Theatre on Monday, February 17th from 11a.m. to 3p.m. with music, a scavenger hunt, heritage displays and hot drinks! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our local heritage…and it’s free! For a full list of events, visit the Heritage Week in the Central Okanagan Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/heritageweekokanagan.

We usually choose an historic item from the collection as a short feature for the newsletter, but this time we have a newer piece. This picture shows an up-to-the-minute meat cutter’s glove. This was given to us by Richard Konechny of Calgary who was unable to continue using it due to a minor bit of damage. It is of interest as one of the rare modern uses of the ancient idea of chain mail armour. WCB regulations require meat cutters to use these gloves for obvious reasons while at work. Viking warriors were not slow to appreciate the protection that this kind of armour afforded and indeed chain mail armour has been in continuous use in parts of West Africa right up to modern times.

The Viking re-enactors at the Fintry Fairs will be delighted to let you examine the details of the armour that they have made and use in their performances.

Following is a note by Dr. David Ensing who has been reporting on the presence of “garlic mustard”, a noxious weed that has been found in some areas of the Fintry Delta.

In collaboration with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are conducting research on the invasive alien plant , garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata, Brassicaceae) in Fintry Provincial Park. Garlic mustard is widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, but relatively limited in western North America, with a few restricted populations known from BC. One of these populations is in and around Fintry Provincial Park. Garlic Mustard is an aggressive invader that may disrupt other species. Notably it releases chemicals from its roots into the soil that inhibit important associations between native plant species and beneficial fungi (mycorrhizae). This strategy allows garlic mustard to colonise diverse habitats and exclude native plant species from growing in those locations. Given its widespread distribution in North America, herbicides and mechanical means of control were deemed both impractical and unsuitable. As a result, a biological control programme was initiated. Recently, the root crown mining weevil, Ceutorhynchus scrobicollis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) was approved for release by both the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture, who have jurisdiction in Canada and USA respectively. This weevil only attacks garlic mustard in the wild and there are no close relatives or other species that it can successfully feed and develop on in North America. Our research in Fintry Provincial Park involves careful monitoring of the population for abundance and density of mature and juvenile plants and the incidence of any feeding or disease on the plants. We have installed environmental monitoring equipment (temperature, relative humidity) and will compare our data with monitoring efforts in populations across the world via the Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey (https://garlicmustard.wordpress.com/). Our research will clarify what facilitates invasion and control of this problematic species in Canada.

For more information, please contact:

David Ensing, PhDBiology Study Leader – Weed Biocontrol
Summerland Research and Development Centre,

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

[email protected] | Tel: (250) 404-3341 | Cell: (250) 859-0749

The Friends of Fintry Board is busy planning for the 2020 season; we are applying for grants for summer students so that we can be open most days of the week. We often hear from people that they have come for a tour of the Manor House only to find us closed, but when we only operate with volunteers it is difficult to staff more than just weekends. That being said, we are constantly looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of running the Manor House, the events etc., as well as new Board members. If you are at all interested in helping to keep our history and heritage alive, please contact myself (Kathy) at 250-309-7868 or Dan Bruce at 250-766-2081 for more info.

‘Til next month….

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – January 2020

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

Happy New Year to all,

As we step into this new year with 2020 vision, we are excited to be embarking on some great new ideas, fun events and hopefully, if our federal grant application is successful, some summer students to help us with it all.

At this time of year, we have to submit our plans and ideas for the coming year to BC Parks who will then hopefully grant us our Annual Operating Permit. We are putting our creative heads together to try and come up with some new revenue sources for the Friends and some new experiences for our members and visitors to this historic site.

Thanks to Shannon our Business Manager, the Fintry website is in the process of being revamped with several new pull-down menus giving a better overview of all that we offer. It is still a work in progress so check back periodically to see the new developments. www.fintry.ca

While giving tours of the Manor House, there is always great interest and a few chuckles from our visitors when they see this framed print.  Dan Bruce, our Curator explains it all quite eloquently as follows,

“Late for School” is the title of a chromolithograph that hangs in the Ben Lee Room, facing the portrait of Ben himself.   The artist was Arthur J. Elsley   ( 1860 – 1952). a Londoner who was well known for his idealised pictures often of children in rural settings with domestic animals and pets included.  These could be described as “”chocolate box art”, and indeed he produced many images for commercial use. Sunlight Soap and Peek Frean’s biscuits being among his customers.  These sentimental pictures were extremely popular in late Victorian and Edwardian times.

“Late for School” however has a slightly darker tone.  It is a classic example of a picture that presents a set of circumstances to the viewer, who may then imagine the course of action to that point, and then speculate on the outcome.    Here we see a traditional fox hunt in progress, but at a point where it is going to go so wrong. The fox, crafty creature, has taken control and opted for a variation of the “Samson solution”. By choosing to divert through the open door of the school, he will have brought the house down upon his enemies.  The fox is shown exiting the scene R, very likely having noted a conveniently open window through which he will return to his interrupted business.  The hounds, closely followed by the mounted hunters will be left to face the fury of the school teacher, which will not be long in coming. Several hounds are already among the pupils, and furniture is going down.  Doubtless the whole community will be aware of the mayhem at school that day, and one can imagine a satisfied fox looking back on an escape well managed.

Arthur Elsley was a contemporary of James Dun-Waters, who might well have seen some of his pictures published in the Illustrated London News and other journals. Perhaps the Glasgow Herald included some.  He was awarded a silver medal for works shown at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1891.  “Late for School” was painted in 1898, and the chromolithograph at Fintry was printed by Orford Smith Ltd. of St. Albans, just north of London.  Our picture was purchased from Blast from the Past Antiques of Vernon. At some point it had been spattered with a cream coloured house paint, and had suffered slight water damage. This was all corrected after a short session on the conservation table, and the framing expertise of Picture Perfect in Kelowna.

So there you have it! Next time you take a tour of the Manor House take a good look at the action in this incredible picture.

On that note I will close and wish everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The December Octagon

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

Mother Nature has been kind to us this year with a very pleasant November.  However, just one step outside and one realizes that yes, it is winter….but only 3 more weeks until the days start to get longer again!

The Friends of Fintry held their Annual Volunteer Appreciation night in conjunction with the date of J.C. Dun-Waters birthday, (November 28th) at Okanagan Spirits here in Vernon. It was a great evening and we were so happy to mix and mingle with many of our trusty volunteers and chat about all things Fintry.

Now that we have our Business Manager (Shannon Jorgenson) in place we have been brainstorming some special events to hold at the Manor House next season thus increasing awareness of this jewel in our very own backyard. Stay tuned and watch the website for announcements early in the spring.

The planning never stops……and we are excited to be able to offer some really great programs to the schoolchildren  and senior’s groups next year. We have loads of historical photographs from the Dun-Waters’ era which are being digitized and as we now have a digital projector and screen we will be able to show these to the various interested groups as well as having them up on our website.

And now some interesting facts from our Curator, Dan Bruce……..

Fintry’s one hundredth anniversary took place on May 10th, 2009. The date was chosen based on the autographed portrait of Albert, Earl Grey, the Governor General of Canada who invited his friend, James Dun-Waters from Cambridge University days to move from the UK to Canada. The autograph reads “Grey, in memory of May 10th 1909”.  We have not been able to ascertain exactly what took place on that day, but it might have involved hunting and whisky. (His Excellency was not in Ottawa on that date).

We celebrated anyway by planting a tree near the Labyrinth, and a London Plane was selected. Two guests of honour were invited to plant the tree, the late Alderman Ben Lee from Kelowna, and Mark Flanagan, Supervisor of the gardens at the Royal Estate at Windsor Castle, who came to Fintry for this occasion.

Platanus  x hispanica, the London Plane, is a very large tree frequently planted in urban settings as it withstands atmospheric pollution very well, not that that is a problem at Fintry.  The tree is perhaps an accidental hybrid that was first recorded at Vauxhall Gardens in London. (Some of you will recall that there is a coloured engraving of Vauxhall Gardens hanging in the living room, the gift of Jennifer Hindle)   The tree was first formally described by the Scottish botanist, William Aiton in 1789, but it had been noticed by John Tradescant the Younger in the mid 17th Century.  ( The dark red rose by the front door steps of the Manor is a David Austin creation, named “Tradescant “ in his honour).

 A little known fact is that our now defunct one cent coin was supposed to feature the Maple Leaf on the reverse side. Apparently, in 1937 G. E. Kruger-Gray asked for a maple twig to use as a model for the design drawing, but was given a plane twig in error. Maple leaves are all opposite, whereas plane leaves are alternate. Botanical expertise was not a requirement at the Mint, so the mistake was not noticed.

There are a number of London Plane trees around the Okanagan, and they can also be found in many of the world’s large cities. In London itself there are several specimens now close to or over 100 ft. high. Doubtless James Dun-Waters saw them as young plants on his various visits to the city.

As this is the last Octagon for 2019, I would like to wish you all the very best of the season and hopefully you will be able to partake in one or more of the many activities planned for Fintry in 2020. Watch our website: www.fintry.ca for information regarding upcoming events.

Stay warm…….                                                                                                                     

Kathy Drew, President

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The November Octagon

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – November 2019  

Mother Nature has really been showing off her spectacular golden coat this fall and on one of my last visits along Westside road to the Fintry Manor House, I was overawed by the stunning golden and russet views around every corner. What a beautiful part of the country we live in.

We have now closed the doors for the last time this year on the Ben Lee Room, Dun-Waters’ Trophy room, Alice’s bedroom, etc., and all the wonderful stories that are part of this historical site. The Manor House has been winterized and we are now letting the collections rest for the winter months.

As we hunker down for what Old Man Winter is going to throw at us this year the planning has already started for next year. Our new Business Manager, Shannon, is bubbling over with ideas and suggestions for many new Special Events which will take place at the Manor House next year, so we will definitely have our work cut out for us!   Keep an eye on our website www.fintry.ca for teasers ……and info as it becomes available.

And now a word from our Curator Dan Bruce:

The Park is now closed for the season, and so begins the time for doing any necessary conservation, and making adjustments to the exhibits in the Manor. Several recent acquisitions have been introduced, however, our visitors have not yet seen the framed mirror that will be hung in the living room ready for the 2020 season. This is yet one more interesting item from Taylor’s Antiques in Kelowna.

Collecting seashells was a popular pastime in the Victorian age that provided something to do at the beach when sunbathing was not considered with the same enthusiasm that it is today Very often the shells ended up in boxes and soon forgotten or thrown out.  In some cases however, the multitude of shapes, sizes and colours sparked a deeper interest, resulting in considerable efforts being made to enlarge the collection.  What to do with them? Many evenings were spent devising ways to show them off. Some people had glass topped tables made, whereby the shells could be seen in a compartment under the glass.  Others filled cabinets fitted with a series of drawers to hold their collections. Enthusiasts were known to frequent the sea ports of Britain where they would eagerly question incoming sailors to see if they had brought back any exciting specimens from their voyages. This “market” quickly became known to mariners who could often sell their shells for considerable sums to serious collectors.

On a lesser scale, shells were used to decorate the home in various ways. Our new mirror is an example of this, as the frame is completely covered in shells, carefully arranged and stuck in place.  Perhaps the most elaborate and fantastic example of this is to be seen at Goodwood Park in Sussex. Here, the Duchess of Richmond and her two daughters, in 1739, started to decorate every inch of the interior of a garden pavilion, entirely covering all walls and ceiling with shells. They finished the project seven years later, having created something very likely unique anywhere in the world, and did very well by the makers of glue!

At Fintry, we have a small but very attractive glass fronted cabinet, which has stood empty in the living room all summer. This is now being restored by the removal of a lining of wallpaper, and the replacement of the glass shelving. The plan is to use it to exhibit a selection of shells that we have in the collection. It requires no stretch of the imagination to think that James Dun-Waters would have appreciated such a thing – the “Cabinet of Curiosities” was very much a part of the furnishings of stately homes, and in many instances formed the nucleus around which some of the world’s greatest museums came into being.

Many thanks to Dr. Bill Gibson of Lake Country who has kindly undertaken the restoration of this cabinet.

This has been a very busy and successful year as we continue to grow and promote  Dun-Waters’ legacy. We encourage you in addition to being a Friend of Fintry to consider being a Fintry volunteer. We have several different options and are always looking for assistance with events, guiding tours, gardening etc. I can be reached through the Fintry email: [email protected].

Stay warm…….                                                                                                                     

Kathy Drew, President

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

October Octagon

There is a definite chill in the air which signifies that Fall has arrived and it is time to get those winter woollies out!  The Manor House and Fintry Provincial Park will be closing at Thanksgiving for the season and what a busy season we had.  As we reflect back on those hot summer days we think of all the visitors from around the world who visited and toured the Manor House; some tours way over capacity as visitors were so eager to hear the Dun-Waters’ story. We hosted several bus tours from Seniors’ Residences on weekdays; these are always a delight as the seniors love to see the artefacts from their childhood.   We were 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. (With an exception for special advanced tour bookings for seniors and school groups.)

September 15th saw our Fintry Fall Fair take place in front of the Manor House ….in the pouring rain! In many years of the Friends putting on Fairs, this was the first real soaker. However, our hardy group of volunteers stepped up as usual and braved the elements, as did several vendors…… and the show went on regardless.  The Vikings, clad in body armour, were impervious to the weather, the Kalamalka Highlanders played on the verandah and Kilt 45 and others had everyone’s feet stomping as they entertained the umbrella covered crowd.  We actually had 130 people tour the Manor House that day, probably because it was a welcome relief to come inside from the torrential downpour! For those of you who missed the Fairs this year, we will be holding these events again next year (plus a few more exciting additions) with the first being held on Mother’s Day 2020.

With assistance from a Central Okanagan Foundation grant, we have now hired Shannon Jorgenson as our Business Manager. Her role is to come up with some new and different Special Events that will put Fintry on the map, so watch for exciting new happenings at the Manor House next year. Shannon is well known in the heritage community and we are delighted to have her and her expertise onboard.

Our Curator, Dan Bruce has unearthed some interesting facts about an item in our collection, as follows:

The Red Room, or Dun-Waters’ study contains ample proof of his interest in Ayrshire cattle and his generous support of the Armstrong Fair, perhaps better known as the Interior Provincial Exhibition, ( I.P.E.)  Here, amongst other things visitors can see an almost complete set of the Canadian Ayrshire Herd Books, a framed certificate of appreciation presented to him by the directors of the Fair, and the carefully mounted horns of “Lucky Girl”, one of the prized Ayrshires that called the octagonal dairy barn home.

The most outstanding of all the Ayrshire related items in the room is the “Hudson’s Bay Trophy”, a spectacular silver cup from the workshop of Omar Ramsden in London, made in 1924.   Three pieces come together to form the complete trophy. Firstly, the base is a circular stand of oak, custom made to fit the foot of the second piece, the  cup itself , which, if filled would hold almost a litre. (In this case perhaps Ayrshire milk would be less likely to spill than Laird of Fintry single malt).   Four lion masks support curled branches, that in turn hold the body of the cup whereon are blazoned the arms of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Around the rim an inscription reads  “Presented by the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson’s Bay”   The third part, the crowning glory, is the lid. A solid silver Ayrshire stands on a pedestal set with garnets which rises from a wavy-rayed sunburst on the lid’s surface. On lifting the lid, the sun imagery is re-stated as the gilt inner surface catches the light.

The cup bears Omar Ramsden’s hallmarks, and also the Latin inscription that he used after 1919, “Omar Ramsden me fecit”,  Omar Ramsden made me.

Omar Ramsden was born in Yorkshire in 1873. His family were well established in the silversmiths’ world, and he followed suit. He spent some time working in the United States, but returned to England to set up a studio and workshop in London, where he created a wide range of silver objects until his death in 1939. After this, his wife, Annie, kept the business going for several years.  In 1898, he won a competition to design a civic mace for the City of Sheffield.    In 1921, he was elected a member of the Royal Miniaturists Society, who then exhibited over 90 of his pieces.

Today he is regarded as one of the masters of British silversmiths, his works being on exhibit in many museums in the UK and abroad.

Given the circumstances here, we may speculate that James Dun-Waters may have persuaded the HBC to sponsor this masterpiece to celebrate the Ayrshire cattle at the Armstrong Fair.

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Still in the spirit of the season, I would like to thank all the hard working members of the Friends of Fintry as well as the numerous volunteers who made the three Fairs, held in May, July and September happen.

I am truly grateful to those of you who take time out of your already busy lives, to step up and take on whatever role needs filling…… rain or shine! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Kathy Drew, President

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.