This year has been a challenging one to say the least but on a positive note we are thankful that the Fintry delta and the Fintry Estate have been spared from the catastrophic wild fires that ravaged the Westside. Our hearts go out to those who lost their homes and businesses; the sense of loss is unimaginable and we wish you the best as you go through the grieving process and get your lives back together again. Our thanks go out to the brave firefighters who have given their all, day after day as they fought this beast. I cannot even imagine how terrifying it must have been that Sunday night when the winds came up and the fire tore across the landscape. Kudos to you all.
As I write this, the Fintry Estate is still on alert, and the campground and Manor House are still closed. If we are given the green light to reopen we will announce it on our web page www.fintry.ca. Unfortunately, because of the ongoing Covid restrictions, we are unable to hold our Fintry Fall Fair which was scheduled for September 12th. We are however still hopeful that we will be able to hold our Annual General Meeting on Saturday, September 25th at the Manor House. Again, stay tuned to our website!
Like everyone else these days, our Curator Dan has been delving into some interesting books lately and has come up with some interesting items from the Fintry library.
“Since the arrival of Covid 19, many of us have re-discovered some of the ‘ survival skills’ that were commonplace in years gone by. Entertainment was home-made and especially appreciated during the longer winter evenings. There is some evidence that amateur theatricals were performed at Fintry, and we know that apart from curling, songs and music were part of life on the Delta. Most households in England and Scotland would have had collections of books, if not extensive libraries reflecting the interests of various members of the family. The Dun-Waters at Fintry were no exception, and through the generosity of Rod and Karen Stuart, we have a considerable part of Fintry’s original library. Some of these books belonged to James Waters, J. C. Dun-Waters’ father, and others belonged to Alice, Margaret, and the Stuarts, Katie and Geordie.
We are told that James Waters, as he was at Cambridge, was far more interested in outdoor sports than academics or literature. The books that we have bear out this statement. Several volumes of poetry, essays and historical works are in pristine condition . . . those on horses, dogs and hunting are well thumbed!
Picking up a few items in the book collection, one comes across : Haydn’s Dictionary of Dates and Universal Information relating to all Ages and Nations” This is the 23rd Edition, with a history of the world to the end of 1903. Published by Ward, Lock and Co. London 1904. This large volume has Alice Dun-Waters’ bookplate inside the front cover, and would have been part of the library at Plaish Hall, just before moving to Canada.
Last summer, we were presented with a volume of “Songs of the Hebrides”. This is inscribed “To Ishbel Gray, from J. C. Dun-Waters, Fintry, Christmas 1931, with love”. Carmen Gingles of Edmonton is Ishbel Gray’s niece. The book has no published date, but the dedication is worth quoting in full, “To The Women of the Hebrides, who were not only skilled in the spinning and weaving of fine linen, and in the curious arts of the dyer, but who sang at their work, and, singing, fashioned for themselves songs that are as rich in colour as the wools they steeped in lichen and heather, and as curious in construction as the tartans they designed —subtle, too, as the interlacements of Celtic illuminative art — this attempt to preserve and restore some of their songs is dedicated.”
The Celtic heritage of Scotland was dear to James Dun-Waters.
A curiosity of another kind is the small French volume, “Traite historique et dogmatique de la vraie religion”. This is a beautiful example of a secret hiding place for keys, jewels or other small valuables. The book has been made into a box by cutting out a space inside which was then lined with marbled paper. When closed and placed with other books on a shelf, it would have taken a non-initiate a very long time to discover its contents.”
I hope everyone is able to enjoy the last remnants of summer with smoke-less skies as we look forward to better days ahead.
In the last Octagon, I Iisted the pandemic, the heat and the smoke as obstacles in our efforts to get Fintry up and running this year, and I wondered what else was going to be thrown at us……well now I know the answer. As I write this, Fintry is on an evacuation alert because of the advancing White Rock Lake wild fire. The Manor House will still be open for tours unless we get an evacuation order when everyone will have to leave the area. Let us hope it doesn’t come to that. Please keep an eye on our website www.fintry.ca for updates as we move through this difficult time.
July has been very busy as far as tours are concerned despite the smoke and the heat. Our students, Morgan and Holly have absorbed the history of the Fintry Estate very quickly and are bursting with enthusiasm to share their knowledge with our many visitors. Unfortunately, because of the smoke and ash we have been unable to have barn tours as it was not healthy to have our volunteers outside for any length of time. We hope that this too shall pass.
We are also hopeful that we can hold our Fintry Fall Fair this year. The scheduled date for that is Sunday, September 12th……..COVID willing!
Westside Road has its many challenges. Travelling from Fintry north, there are always numerous deer, cattle and even horses that one has to look out for. From Fintry south there is another problem about which our Curator, Dan Bruce will now discuss…….
“Travelling along Westside Road requires a little more attention than most other roads. It may still be regarded as one of the worst roads in B.C., although a considerable amount of improving work has been carried out over the last few years.An added feature of the area is the well-established population of Bighorn Sheep, a magnificent sight of wildlife in a natural setting. The Bighorn, one of the supporters of the BC coat-of-arms is less attractive however when standing on the yellow line, and reluctant to move. Most local motorists have developed the road courtesy of flashing high-beams to warn those approaching that the rams might need to be dodged.
In the Ben Lee Room, visitors will see the skull and horns of a Bighorn ram that was found in the Short’s Creek Canyon by Chris Oakes, in 2006. This may have been killed by a cougar, and was perhaps the last of the original native population. The animals that one can now see are thedescendants of those introduced from the Kamloops area in 2004. When that re-introduction took place, the sheep were brought to the Fintry delta hayfields by road, and then air-lifted to the upper levels. It did not take them long to realize that the grass of the Trader’s Cove lawns was sweeter than whatever was on offer higher up.
Next to the “Short’s Creek Ram” is a bronze sculpture of two Bighorn rams, the work of Werner Plangg, and kindly loaned to us by the Kelowna Museum.
Werner Plangg was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1933. He studied art as a means of following his interest in wildlife, and emigrated to Canada in 1956. He continued his studies and developed his technique in the Canmore and Banff areas of Alberta, also making good use of the close-up opportunities provided by the Calgary Zoo. He worked in oils, pastels, watercolours and bronze, and his proficiency in all media gained him international recognition. In 1966, he was the only Canadian to be invited to exhibit at the Buffalo Bill Historic Centre, and the Whitney Museum of Western Art in Cody, Wyoming.
Back home in Alberta he was honoured with membership in the Alberta Society of Artists, and the Western Canadian Institute of Artists. The Glenbow Museum owns one painting, and one bronze of his, and he is represented in public and private collections worldwide.
He moved to Westbank, BC in the late 1980’s, and the bronze sculpture here was presented to the Kelowna Museum by the artist just before he passed away in 1994. We appreciate Kelowna Museum’s co-operation in making this available to us for the current season.”
Just a reminder that the Friends of Fintry Annual General Meeting is to be held on Saturday, August 21st, 10 a.m. at the Manor House. Memberships will be available at the door if you haven’t yet renewed. Fingers crossed that the north end of Westside Road is open by then and that the fire situation is under control.”
As I write this we are in the midst of this crazy heat dome. What more is going to be thrown at us, first a pandemic, then extreme heat….. probably the next will be forest fires and the resulting smoke. I hope everyone is able to stay cool in this heat.
These past few weekends we have been open for tours of the Manor House, albeit on a limited basis, but as restrictions are lifted we will be able to take more people at a time giving them a glimpse of days gone by and even re-open some of the rooms that we have had to close off during Covid. We are excited to have our students onboard starting the first week of July; Morgan, a returning intern from last year as well as newcomer Holly who is quickly catching up with all the info required to showcase the Manor House. Starting on July 10th the Octagonal Barn will once again be open, so bring your visiting friends and family to see this unique structure and imagine the Ayrshires all standing in their stanchions waiting to get milked.
We have completed Dun-Waters’ bedroom and this is now available for viewing. Many thanks to Dave Richmond (BC Parks) for donating the magnificent 1930’s bedroom suite in this room.
Another new addition to our collection is in the Ben Lee Room and Dan Bruce our Curator, gives the history of this magnificent piece below:
“A new item of furniture in the Ben Lee Room will be very obvious to visitors . . . Bruce Hopkins of Vernon has just donated a bookshelf that now dominates the room. It is an example of the Eastlake style of furniture, very popular in the USA and eastern Canada in the late 19th century.
Charles Locke Eastlake (1836 – 1906) was an artist and architect in England who envisioned a decorative style that could be largely machine made, and therefore affordable by customers of lesser means. His publication, ” Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details ” was influential in Britain, but was even more popular in North America. His angular, sharply defined decoration contrasted with the curves and swirls of an earlier age. Lending itself to machine work, many builders and manufacturers took to it with enthusiasm.
The ” Hopkins Shelf ” at Fintry was brought from a house in Ontario some time ago, where it had been since about 1895. In order to get it to BC and into the Vernon residence, the upper section had to be cut in half and rejoined once in place. This process had to be repeated when it came time to move it to Fintry. With the assistance of Bruce Hopkins, the donor, our Board members, Roy Lysholt, Jason Satterthwaite and Jason’s son Aiden, we engineered the piece out of the Hopkins house and delivered it to Fintry. Shortly thereafter the team re-assembled it in its present position.
Being located in the part of the Ben Lee Room that was the original kitchen, the decision was to use it to exhibit cooking and food related items that would not fit well in other parts of the house. This is in the experimental stage at the moment, but here one can see the two spice boxes, and the selection of Chinese ginger jars.
While enlarging and upgrading the campsites 1 to 50 some years ago, BC Parks workers unearthed a few glass bottles that had been disposed of in a pit almost certainly during Dun-Waters’ time. One of these is now on the new shelf, and identifies itself as “Sharwood’s Chutney, Calcutta and London”. Still in production by Sharwood’s , one can sample one of the items on Fintry’s grocery list.
With the relaxing of Covid restrictions, we look forward to re-opening the Red Room, and being able to give visitors the much-desired look into the whisky cellar. “Enjoy Responsibly”!”
At this time, I would like to inform everyone that The Friends of Fintry will be holding their AGM on Saturday, August 21st, 10 a.m. at the Manor House. Mark your calendars, come and meet the Board members and our students and stay for a tour!
Finally, we are seeing a glimmer of hope in these difficult days as more and more people get vaccinated; restrictions are gradually lifting and people are tentatively expanding their social circles.
We look forward to being able to start tours again at the Manor House (with Covid protocols same as last year) opening weekends starting 19th June and then four days a week in July and August when we have our students on board. This year we will have a new room for viewing (Dun-Waters’ master suite) as well as several new artefacts, one of which our Curator Dan Bruce will talk about (see below).
We would like to thank all our members who have renewed their membership for 2021/22. Your continued support of the Friends of Fintry is crucial at this time of reduced tour hours and bodies through the Manor House. There is of course still time to renew or become a member of the Friends of Fintry, just check out our web-site at www.fintry.ca for more information. On Saturday, June 12th we will be having our annual Spring clean-up at the Manor House starting at 11:00 a.m. so if any members want to come and join us, you will be more than welcome.
I would like to thank one of our newer members, Sue Cseh for her wonderful contributions, stories and photos that she has been adding to the Fintry Estate Facebook page. From bears to hummingbirds, as well as the flora and fauna of the area, she brings to life much of the interesting facets that the Estate and the Fintry Provincial Park offers our visitors.
Following is some very interesting information on a beautiful Turtle shell donated to Fintry by Jim Dawson.
When next you visit the Manor House be sure to look for this beautiful piece as well as some other treasures which have been added over these past months.
The Friends of Fintry members have been doing well in the way of awards recently. First our Curator Dan Bruce received the Heritage B.C. Honour Award in the Lifetime Achievement category and we just received word this past month our own historian and Director Paul Koroscil will be receiving a Certificate of Recognition from the B.C. Historical Federation for his life’s work promoting not only Fintry but numerous areas in BC. (Because of Covid regulations this presentation will be done virtually on Saturday evening.) Congratulations to you both for all your accomplishments over the years and for promoting British Columbia’s diverse history.
Now for some very interesting information on our latest acquisition……the beautiful Green Turtle shell.
“The photo shows Jim Dawson and Curator Dan Bruce attending a small outdoor gathering of eight people, some of Gretchen’s close associates that was arranged in her memory in the gardens at Guisachan House in Kelowna. Jim had just presented the turtle shell to Fintry that hung on Gretchen’s wall for many years, a souvenir of her early life in Trinidad.
Fossil sea turtles, contemporary with the dinosaurs grew to huge size, Archelon for example is estimated to have weighed around 6,000 pounds, (2,700 Kgs.) Today, the sea turtles are represented by seven much smaller species, Fintry’s shell being that of the Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas. This and the other species range throughout the world’s tropical seas, excepting the Flatback, which is restricted to the northern coasts of Australia. The largest living species is the Leatherback, which has been recorded on rare occasions off the coast of BC.
The Green Turtle has been exploited by humans for centuries, and together with the rest of the sea turtles, has now joined the list of endangered species. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the ships of the world’s navies collected these creatures as a source of fresh meat for the crews, as turtles could be kept alive on board for weeks. Green Turtle was also the chief ingredient in the turtle soup traditionally on the banquet menu of the Lord Mayor and Corporation of the City of London. The beautiful, mottled translucent material used to make combs, mirror-cases, snuff boxes etc. called ‘tortoise shell’ in fact comes from the Hawksbill Turtle, and not from the land-living tortoise. (On land, Tortoise, in fresh water, Terrapin, and in the sea, Turtle). Demand of this has caused the Hawksbill to be hunted wherever it could be found, but well-made plastic imitation is now available, and this seems to have reduced the threat to the Hawksbill’s survival.
Several scientists have specialized in the study of these marine reptiles, but still many aspects of their biology and behaviour remain mysterious. Gretchen’s shell having just arrived does not yet have a certain location in the Manor House, but we will make sure that this season visitors will be able to see it. Once very common, and now very rare, we are privileged to be able to show this to our guests.
In addition to the Chelonia shell, those visiting Fintry this season will be able to include the Main Bedroom in their tour. This has not been open before, but now is, and features a 1930’s bedroom suite, originally from the Hudson’s Bay Co. in Vancouver, the gift of Dave Richmond of BC Parks.”
Spring has sprung, the birds are singing and the hummingbirds have returned…..don’t you just love Mother Nature when all her buds and blooms are unfurling. My garden is definitely my happy place, a place to recharge and just be….. midst the constant barrage of pandemic news and tragedies in the world.
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Gretchen Dawson this past weekend. Gretchen was a Board member for many years, looking after Memberships and even after she retired from the Board, she and her husband Jim continued their unwavering support of the Friends of Fintry. Our condolences go to Jim and the family at this very sad time.
As more and more people get vaccinated, we are looking forward to some sort of normalcy in our little corner of the world. We hope to be able to open for tours of the Manor House and Barn mid-June with much the same Covid protocols as last year. Unfortunately, no Fintry Spring Fair this year, probably no July Fair but we are hoping that our September Fair will become a reality. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit our website www.fintry.ca and click on “virtual tours” for a look inside the Manor House hosted by our Curator Dan Bruce.
It is Membership Renewal time again. Your membership with the Friends of Fintry runs from May 1st to April 30th each year. In normal times many people would renew at our Spring Fair in May but since this will not be happening (again, this year) we ask that you renew through our website at www.fintry.ca or send a cheque to Friends of Fintry, c/o 4320 Crystal Drive, Vernon, B.C. V1T 8V5. Our membership fees remain the same, $20 single, $35 couple. Your membership is important to the Friends as it supports the Society in our work; demonstrates to BC Parks and the Regional District of Central Okanagan and other funding agencies the broad-based support that our Society truly does enjoy.
We were delighted to hear that we will be receiving funding for two students through Canada Summer Jobs. Having students assist with tours of the Manor House and Barn certainly takes a load of our hard-working volunteers. It also gives those students hands-on experience in museum/heritage site work and research pertaining to the history of the Fintry Estate.
Our Curator Dan Bruce has been busy searching for and finally obtaining a beautiful orchid print which will hang in the Fintry Manor House in memory of one of our founding members, Ken Waldon, an orchid enthusiast. Following is more information about this print.
“As was mentioned in the last issue of The Octagon, the orchid print acquired to be a memorial to Ken Waldon has now arrived, and has been framed. Visitors will be able to see it in the living room as and when we are able to open for tours this season.
Many people have shown their appreciation of Ken and the vision that he and his wife Jan had in establishing the Fintry Estate as a unique historic and cultural asset for the Okanagan valley, and all of British Columbia. Firstly, we thank Elisabeth Burdon of Old Imprints Ltd, in Portland, Oregon for ensuring that the print required was available, and within our means. Her expert packaging meant that it survived an “oups” event while en route. An anonymous donor covered the cost of framing, and our friends at Picture Perfect in Kelowna persuaded their materials supplier, Larson-Juhl of Vancouver to donate the framing molding. Linda and her team, Neil and Eileen put the whole thing together in a very short time, so that the final result could be shown to Jan before being taken to Fintry.
The print is from the Robert Warner and Benjamin Williams publication, ” Select Orchidaceous Plants ” essentially a very deluxe guide to the best of the orchids that were available to gardeners in the mid- 19th century, the peak of what could be called ‘orchid fever’. The famous Scottish botanical illustrator, Walter Hood Fitch was commissioned to produce the coloured lithographs for the book, which he did with his well renowned skill. The publication date was 1862 and the London firm of Vincent Brooks was responsible for the actual printing. It should be pointed out that Old Imprints is not one of those dealers that cut plates from antique books to sell separately. Loose plates become only available if a book has been badly damaged beyond reasonable repair.
Ken Waldon would have had much to say about the cultivation of this particular orchid, Aerides nobile, now known as Aerides odorata It is a giant among orchids, and a native of South-east Asia, including the forests of Myanmar, (where Ken and Jan did volunteer work some years ago). Ken did not have this one, but those that he was growing are now being cared for by Don Burnett in his new greenhouse in Kelowna.
This print reminds us that Ken was an orchid enthusiast, but he was by no means limited in his interests. His life touched a great many, near and far.”
Stay safe everyone…the end of this challenging time is in sight.
The crocuses are blooming, the birds are singing and the earth is awakening after this long and difficult winter. Brighter days are ahead and soon this whole pandemic will be in our rear view mirror and we’ll be saying “remember when…..”!
The awakening of the Fintry Manor House in readiness for our 2021 season will soon be taking place once the weather warms up. Our troupe of hardy volunteers armed with vacuums, buckets, mops and dusters will descend on the house and get everything spic and span for viewing once again. There will be some new additions this year, a whole new room, some new and interesting artefacts and of course the beautiful Walter Fitch print in memory of one of the Friends of Fintry founders, Ken Waldon.
We were delighted to hear from Heritage BC that our Curator Dan Bruce will be the recipient of an Honour award in the Lifetime Achievement category. This year because of COVID the recipients will be featured in the BC Heritage virtual conference in May. Dan is well deserving of this award for his dedication and contributions to heritage not only at Fintry but nationally and internationally over the past fifty years. Way to go Dan!
And now, here is Dan’s latest snippet of fascinating information…….
The Shaggy Dog story
“There is a new dog at Fintry. His name might be ‘Willoughby’ but that is still open to question. He will be found wherever he was put and told to stay, because he is a cast iron doorstop. Made sometime around 1935, probably by the Hubley Company in the United States, Willoughby is a Fox Terrier, a breed that has a long history in Britain, and one that James Dun-Waters knew well. The framed photograph of ‘Vic’ in the Manor House is a Fox Terrier that presumably was an esteemed pet in the Waters’ household.
Willoughby has been in my family since 1957 or 1958. He came as a gift from Francis Cary Willoughby, who was living in Jamaica at the time my parents moved to the island from the UK in 1954. Francis Cary Willoughby was a remittance man, and his remittance was adequate for him to enjoy a life of leisure in the West Indies. He owned property on the north coast of Jamaica, not far from Ocho Rios where he built a large house which he named ‘Cary Island’. There was a small rocky islet just off-shore, and he built a bridge for access to it. No sandy beach, just limestone rocks straight into the sea. (An advantage, as erosion during hurricanes was minimal).
As a small child I remember him taking my family to see the place, at that time abandoned, for reasons that I cannot explain. The gardens were overgrown, but still were home to a flock of peacocks, and a herd of local goats were using the main living room as an evening shelter. The large stone fireplace was their cool spot during the heat of the day. Stone swans with raised wings stood atop the gateposts beside the main road along the coast. Cary Island has survived. It is now a luxurious resort. . .see http://www.sunnyvillaholidays.com/careyvilla.html. The resort spells the name with an ‘e’ but in fact Cary is the correct spelling, taken from his signature in two books, once his property and now in my library. A look at the beautifully restored house will remind our members of the architectural style of the Gatehouse at Fintry.
The doorstop has done duty during our time in Jamaica, and after returning to England, came to Canada in 1985. It being exactly the kind of item that would have attracted James Dun-Waters’ attention, I had been on the lookout for a replacement so that I could hand Willoughby over to Fintry. A very heavy lignum-vitae wood sculpture of Bob Marley took his place.”
End of Shaggy Dog Story
In preparing for a second set of lectures for the Society for Learning in Retirement (SLR), Dan has chosen ‘Dogs’ as one of the topics. It seems that the earliest instance of a non-human creature to be given a personal name was, not surprisingly, in Egypt. Just over 3,000 B.C. the Pharaoh Den of the First Dynasty had a much-loved dog named ‘Nub’, perhaps best translated as ‘Goldie’. He was provided with his own funerary monument on which his name was spelled out, thus in his owner’s belief, granting him eternal life. The dogs that enjoyed life at Fintry continued a very ancient tradition indeed.
Stay safe everyone…the end of this challenging time is in sight.
As we March into Spring, we are looking forward to longer and brighter days ahead. Snowdrops have emerged in my garden, various other bulbs are poking through the soil and the birds are increasing their chatter…… all the usual signs of a new beginning. We humans are also looking forward to a new beginning. As we wait for that jab in the arm, (despite the fact that the goal posts keep moving), we must continue to do what we have been doing to stay safe! We will get there eventually.
All this uncertainty makes planning for our 2021 season very difficult, but we are hopeful we can open in a similar fashion to last year with Covid-19 protocols in place and with self-guided tours of the barn and Manor House. Unfortunately our Fairs will not be taking place again this year with perhaps the exception of the September one…..fingers crossed!
We were very sorry to hear of the sudden passing of one of the Friends of Fintry’s founding members, Ken Waldon, on February 6th. Ken was well-known throughout the valley serving on many Boards and had a Lifetime membership in the Friends of Fintry. Together with his wife Jan, he was awarded the 2008 Central Okanagan Heritage Society Award. In 2011 he and Jan were named Vernon’s Citizens of the Year; they received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteerism in 2019 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2020. A virtual service will be available live online on March 6th, at 2 p.m. from All Saints Anglican Church. In Ken’s memory, and acknowledging his interest in growing orchids, the Friends of Fintry plan to have a framed print of an orchid, by renowned artist Walter Hood Fitch, as a memorial plaque to hang in the Fintry Manor House. More on this later.
Our Curator and now lecturer Dan Bruce has been busy “Zooming” around bringing some interesting historical info to those wishing to expand their knowledge in retirement.
A few words from Dan:
“The Society for Learning in Retirement, (SLR) was essentially brought to a complete standstill when the Covid virus arrived, but it is now recovering and functioning remotely. With the help of Dr. John Birch, we have been able to re-instate our lecture series to the SLR via Zoom. We decided to try this out and see if it could be expanded to a wider audience. Prior to Covid, I had prepared a set of five illustrated lectures on the domestication of cattle, but for the Zoom trial, I cut this down to two sessions of two hours each. Things went very well once I had adjusted the lighting in the “lecture hall” and determined the best place to stand so as to be seen, and be able to show pictures and objects to the audience. One big advantage to doing this with Zoom is that nobody has to get up and drive out through whatever the weather decides to do. Most people are definitely OK with this!
The two talks introduced the main types and breeds of cattle worldwide, and ended with a close look at the Ayrshire dairy operation as it was at Fintry. The paintings in the cave at Lascaux in France made it clear that 20,000 years ago the wild cattle of Europe impressed our ancestors. Domestication led to food production, directly and indirectly, and social mobility as cattle integrated with, and in many cases controlled human cultures.
Another opportunity to keep Fintry available yet without physical contact is being provided by Don Burnett. He has made it possible for me to adapt the Scottish Botanists exhibit for presentation on the radio. Each Saturday the Garden Show airs between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on AM 11.50, and I have about fifteen minutes to give some detailed and interesting facts about the various Scottish men and women who were involved in some form of Horticulture. So far, we have featured David Douglas, Archibald Menzies, Sir Ghillean Prance, Walter Fitch, (of whom more in a future Octagon) and Kelowna’s own Alastair Beddie. Bob Kingsmill very kindly agreed to go on the air and celebrate Alastair’s considerable gardening achievement on El Dorado Road in Okanagan Mission.
We do appreciate the many ways in which Don Burnett has contributed to the Fintry operation over the years.”
For those intrepid campers out there, keep in mind that camping reservations at BC Parks opens up on March 8th. For more details about the reservation system for this year go to:
Our application to Canada Summer Jobs for two students for the summer has been submitted so we are hopeful that (a) we will be able to have tours, and (b) that we get this funding. Last summer’s students were an incredible asset and certainly took a load off us volunteers.
One year into pandemic and although we have a way to go still, we must continue to adhere to the protocols, be patient and hopefully come out at the other end of this unscathed. We are certainly hoping that the Fintry Manor House and barns will be open for tours this coming season; Fintry Fairs ….? …. probably not in May, but fingers crossed for July and September.
Dan, our Curator has his fingers crossed too that tours will be back to normal and is offering up the following little tidbit for you to take a closer look when next you visit ……
“We really hope to be able to open the smaller rooms in the Manor House during the upcoming summer season, and if so, visitors should take a good look at the curtains in Mrs. Dun-Waters’ sitting room. They have a pattern of nasturtium flowers in various tones of yellow and blue. The fabric is new, but the design dates to 1924, the year in which the Manor burned and was re-built. Such material would have been hot off the press when the house was re-furnished.
John Sylvester Wheelwright was the artist who created the pattern, one of over 1,500 that he produced in Britain between 1904 and 1954. He was born in 1885 to a family with a strong artistic tradition. His brother, Roland was an Associate member of the Royal Academy of Art, and his mother was also an artist. He apprenticed to the Silver Studios in 1904, a business that operated until 1963, producing some 30,000 patterns for wallpapers and fabrics. Wheelwright was not limited to such designs however, but was also known as an aviation designer for the Royal Air Force, and he developed the earliest silk screen printing machinery. After his death, the family emigrated to Canada, in 1962, and at that time shipped a large collection of original painted designs to Vancouver. Kelowna soon became the home of David and Patricia, his son and daughter-in-law. In 1992, the Kelowna Museum held an exhibition of a selection of these paintings, which resulted in a published catalogue, ” Kaleidoscope ” (generously sponsored by Color Your World, Kelowna)
In 2003, Patricia Wheelwright donated the fabric used to make the Fintry curtains from a roll of newly printed John Sylvester designed material. The late Mrs. Hazel Bruce created the curtains under difficult circumstances, as the layout space on the basement floor was largely occupied by about 25 cages of small animals and birds that had been evacuated from homes in Kelowna due to the Okanagan Mountain Fire, then raging to the south and east of the city.
The concept of printing designs on woven fabric had its origins in India and Indonesia. It took some considerable time before the techniques became established in Europe, particularly in England due to the imports and influence of the East India Company. These curtains, (which, incidentally at Fintry would have been referred to as such, rather than the newer, transatlantic ‘drapes’) have a convoluted history involving many people and places. Nasturtiums, Tropaeolum majus, are well known and reliable plants for hanging baskets and flower pots. They are native to Peru, and were first cultivated in Europe in 1686.
We are working with the Okanagan First Nation to create a plaque that will inform the visiting public about the earliest use and name of the place we know as Fintry. More details of this will appear in a future Octagon. The ‘Fintry’ name, like so many others was a transplant from Scotland (where there are at least 3 of them). Across the Lake from Fintry, Mount Spion Kop overlooks Okanagan Centre in Lake Country. That name was brought back from South Africa after the Boer War, as returning local soldiers remembered their ordeal in 1900. But ever wonder where the name ‘Canada’ came from? There has been much discussion about the name of our country, and some far-fetched explanations have been suggested. It does not in fact require much to arrive at what is most likely the real answer. The equipment needed is an early map, (a copy will do) of North America and a Spanish dictionary. Turn the map to ‘face’ Europe, so that north is to the right, and south to the left. Many maps were drawn that way before it became standardized to have north at the top of the page. A pair of names will be seen on a number of these maps, On the left, ‘Florida’, and on the right ‘Canada’. Now the dictionary, which will reveal that ‘florido(a) means ‘florid’, ‘flowery’ or ‘in bloom’. ‘Cana’ means ‘white’, ‘grey’ or ‘hoary’ especially with reference to hair. ‘Canas’, white hairs. The opposing environments are thus described, ‘flowery’ and ‘whitened’ by the mapmakers who were informed by the early voyagers across the Atlantic. It may surprise some that our country in fact has a Spanish name.”
“Ay de mi Alhama”
Alli hablo un Alfaqui de barba crecida y cana . . .
“Alas for my Alhama”
Then there spoke an Alfaqui (Moorish Elder) with a long hoary beard . . .
Romance del rey moro que perdio Alhama (Spanish ballad…circa 1490)
As we tentatively embark on this new year here we are in the midst of making history, and we hope for better days ahead. This holiday season was certainly one to forget although we will never forget it, and we hope next Christmas to once again celebrate with our relatives and friends.
The Friends of Fintry are slowly gearing up for our 2021 summer season and are optimistically applying for grants for summer students in the hopes that things will be almost back to “normal”. We are continuing with our monthly Board meetings via ZOOM which I think everyone is delighted with as we don’t have to be concerned with travelling if roads are bad.
Our resident historian, Paul Koroscil has provided a very interesting missive on Dun-Waters’ life before he came to Fintry……enjoy!
Research Notes – The South Shropshire Hunt: Dun-Waters’ Annual Puppy Show
By Paul Koroscil
The traditional annual Dun-Waters’ Puppy Show represented another successful season of the South Shropshire Hunt Club. As I previously mentioned, standing in front of Plaish Hall I could well imagine the herd of dogs racing after the fox in that magnificent verdant undulating landscape.
The following précis provides you with a description of how well Dun-Waters was respected amongst the foxhound hunters in Shropshire and the country. Before reading the script you should pour yourself a dram of Laird of Fintry malt whisky (make sure it is the cask strength whisky) and imagine yourself at a colleague or friend’s testimonial dinner. In fact, half-way through the reading you may want to have a second dram!
Now to the event. “Tell me a man’s a fox hunter and I loves ‘im at once”. This statement could not be uttered with greater sincerity by anyone than by Mr. J.C. Dun-Waters, the popular master of the South Shropshire Hounds, who came into Shropshire about five years ago as the Master of the Wheatland Hounds in succession to Mr. Rowland Hunt. The new master hunted the Wheatland County with a great deal of success and provided excellent sport for lovers of fox hunting. When it was decided last year to divide the Shropshire Country, Mr. Dun-Waters accepted the mastership of the South Shropshire pack, and became a Shropshire landowner, taking up his abode at Plaish Hall.
The season with the South Shropshire was very successful and Mr. Dun-Waters received loyal support from landlords and farmers as was evidenced by ‘the almost entire absence’ of barbed wire in the country.
Puppy walkers were also plentiful and at the annual show, which was held on Tuesday at Plaish Hall, some splendid fox hounds were shown, which elicited much praise from the judges – Mr. C.W. Wicksted, Mr. C. Payne (Dumfries-shire) and Mr. Rawle (huntsman to Lord Fitzhardinge’s hounds). The awards were made as follows – Dogs: 1,”Sportsman,” walked by Miss Lambert and the Rev. J.C.E. Paterson; 2, “Acrobat”, Mr. Morgan, Crossage; 3, “Dancer”, Miss Marie Stuart; 4, “Barnaby”, Mr. Peter Everall, Ryton.
Bitches: 1, “Gamble”, walked by Mr. Farmer, Eaton Constantine; 2, “Treasure”, Mr. Clayton, Much Wenlock; 3, “Rosemary”, Dr. Hillyar; 4, “Tragedy”, Mr. Clayton.
At the conclusion of The Puppy Show a large company accepted the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Dun-Waters to a luncheon, which was served in a marquee under the direction of Mr. Leman. Mr. Dun-Waters, who had undergone an operation for an old injury to his left knee, (could that be a result of an old rugby injury) and had not sufficiently recovered to leave an invalid’s chair, presided, and among those also present were a number of some of the dignitaries: Sir Walter Smythe, Bart Colonel Cotes, Mr. E.B. Feilden, M.P. (Condover Hall), Mr. & Mrs. T.F. Kynnersley (Leighton Hall), Mr. W. Nelson, M.F.H. (Loton Park), Dr. McClintock, (Church Stretton), Mr. & Mrs. Morris (Oxon), the Rev. Mr. Jerrold (Easthope), and a large number of farmers and their wives.
After the repast, Mr. Dun-Waters proposed the loyal toasts, describing the King as one of the best sportsmen in England and the greatest gentleman. The toast was received with cheers. The President again addressed the assembly. He said he was thankful to say he was not a proud man, but he certainly did feel proud when he had his first glass in his hand to drink to the health of his South Shropshire puppy walkers. He hoped that when he was sound again that he would meet them all and that he would meet them as Master of the Hounds for many years to come. (Applause). As they attended each successive show they would get older and wiser in many ways and perhaps a great many grey hairs would come out. They could console themselves with the fact that “Grey ‘airs is nothin’. I’ve seen ‘em all grey before now”. (Laughter). They could also console themselves with the fact that it was often the oldest dog in the pack, with the greatest number of grey hairs in its head which helped to catch the fox. (Applause). However, they must return to fox hunting. They had a very good season. He was thankful to those ladies and gentlemen who had helped him to bring it to such a successful issue. The country had again become a united South Shropshire country; with good sportsmen and sportswomen residing in it.
The most genial work of a Master of Foxhounds was with his hounds in the kennels and among his people in the country that was if they were the right sort – and he was particularly fortunate in that respect. He thought a great deal of credit was due to fathers and mothers of South Shropshire for having got together such an extremely useful and willing pack as his puppy-walkers. (Laughter). Considering the time of the year he thought the puppies were in splendid condition and they looked even better when they came out of the hands of the puppy-walkers. Therefore, he would ask them to drink to the health of the puppy-walkers and he would associate with the toast the names of Mr. Farmer of Eaton Constantine, and Mr. Morgan of Cressage; Mr. Farmer in reply said that the puppy-walkers had been very pleased to do what they could to assist Mr. Dun-Waters. – Mr. Morgan also replied in similar terms and added he hoped to be a first-prize winner some day.
Mr. T.F. Kynnersley proposed the health of the judges, who said their duties that day had been doubly hard because the puppies shown had all been so good. The greatest credit was due to the puppy-walkers, but above all, their thanks were due to their well-known and esteemed master, Mr. Dun-Waters, (Applause). Mr. Wickstead, in responding to the toast, said he wished Mr. Dun-Waters good luck in that delightful country in providing the best sport in the world – that of fox-hunting. If they did what they could to help the master in the season and by walking his puppies, he thought they would find he would do his share to make the hunt successful. (Hear, hear). They hoped Mr. Dun-Waters would cast a halo round that country, and that he would continue to hunt until his hair was as grey as it possibly could be. (Laughter and applause). Mr. Payne also replied. He said he did not think it was difficult for a man who loved a foxhound to judge puppies. (Hear, hear). They had seen a very good entry of young hounds that day and Mr. Dun-Waters had the foundation of a very fine pack. Mr. Payne derived much pleasure from inspecting a pack of hounds. When at home they were apt to think they had something very good, and in fact better than anything owned by other people. That day he had seen two or three couples he would like very much to take back with him to Dumfries. With regard to Mr. Kynnersley’s reference to grey hairs he (Mr. Payne) remembered seeing plenty of them on one occasion when he found himself landed on the hills of Scotland in a snow storm 35 miles from home. They killed the fox in the evening and in returning during the night, he saw grey hairs innumerable. He landed home in time to see the people going to church on the Sunday morning. (Laughter). Mr. Rawle, another of the judges, said he was surprised to find such a good entry at the show that day, and Mr. Dun-Waters would no doubt get together one of the best packs of fox-hounds in the country. (Hear, hear).
The next toast, the health of Mr. & Mrs. Dun-Waters was proposed by Colonel Cotes, who remarked that it was about five years since Mr. Dun-Waters came to hunt the Wheatland country, and no man could have done it better. Last year, Mr. Dun-Waters took up the South Shropshire country and also bought an estate in the county. During the last season he had shown them excellent sport and they had some of the best runs in which they had taken part for many years. He (Colonel Cotes) thought those present would do all they could to help Mr. Dun-Waters to carry on the hunt. The puppy-walkers had done their best and they hoped everybody in the country would try and preserve foxes. (A voice: “Let them alone and they will preserve themselves”). He (Colonel Cotes) had hunted in the country for nearly 50 years and he knew there were many ways in which they could help a Master of Foxhounds. Landlords could do a great deal in the South Shropshire country. At one time there was a great deal of wire used, but now it had almost ceased to exist. Their thanks were due to the farmers for the way in which they had taken down the wire, and in that respect, they had set a good example to other parts of the county. (Hear, hear).
This tradition would continue for the next six years at Plaish Hall until Dun-Waters became interested in hunting big game animals. By the end of the nineteenth century, the hunting of big game animals around the world had “become a fashionable blood sport, particularly among the British and the collecting of trophy heads a status seeking activity”. However, sportsmen seeking out their prizes faced a world-wide problem of depleting game stocks although there were regions such as the Rocky Mountains in North America which was still perceived as an untapped wilderness area of wild game. In assessing the depletion problem in Canada, conservation issues such as the passing of specific game acts in each province were discussed by the newly formed League of Canadian Sportsmen in 1899. However, British Columbia did not pass a provincial game act until 1919. Even with the passing of the act it did not change the world’s sportsmen’s perception of wild game shooting in British Columbia. Books published in London, such as the 1925 “Game Trails in British Columbia”, written by B.C.’s chief game warden, continued to celebrate the big game of the former colony.”
It was this attraction of wilderness game shooting that prompted Dun-Waters to eventually emigrate to British Columbia and the Okanagan Valley in 1909. For Dun-Waters the Okanagan Valley offered an abundance of big game such as grizzly, black and brown bear, mule deer, elk (wapiti), cougar and bighorn sheep. He also had access to hunting in the Monashee, Selkirk and Purcell Ranges. It was also possible to explore more distant trophy hunting environments, such as Alaska, which he did in 1925. Just as Dun-Waters was passionate about fox hunting he was similarly passionate about big game hunting. At Fintry, he employed a taxidermist and had his architect J.J. Honeyman design a trophy room in the restored Manor House where the walls were decorated with the heads of his successful hunting trips.
With the decision to emigrate to the Okanagan, Dun-Waters resigned his position as Master of the Foxhounds of South Shropshire Hunt Club.
As a reminder of his dedication the Hunt Club presented him with a silver statuette of a foxhound and a sundial. Dun-Waters had the sundial placed on a pedestal on the front lawn of the Fintry Manor House. The Fintry archival photo shows the sundial on the pedestal with the engraved plaque. However, the pedestal today only displays the engraved Dun-Waters’ presentation plaque on the base of the pedestal. The sundial is missing on top of the pedestal.
There is a second faded plaque located on the back of the base of the pedestal with a short poem presumably composed by one of the Hunt Club members.
“Serene he stands among the flowers,
And only marks life’s sunny hours.
For him dark days do not exist.
The brazen-faced old optimist.”
I hope you enjoyed the read and your dram – as Dun-Waters would say “Slainte Mhath!”
Sources: Wellington Journal and Shrewsbury News, 6 June, 1903
Paul Koroscil, The British Garden of Eden, 2nd ed. 208, pp 240-242.
In closing, I would like to remind you to tune into AM 11.50 from 8 ’til 10 Saturday mornings, the long running Don Burnett Garden Show, with Don Burnett, Ken Salvail and now including a weekly ” spot” from Fintry, a feature on the botanists and plant collectors of Scotland.
Here we are heading into the last month of this rotten year! When we set out on this pandemic journey in March, little did we think that nine months later we would still be in the throes of this ugly virus. As we look down the road we are wondering what Christmas is going to look like this year and bracing for what January will no doubt bring as an aftermath of the holidays. The relative carefree days of years past seem like a distant memory as we now tentatively move forward taking one day at a time.
As I write this (November 30th) I am reminded that today is St. Andrew’s Day. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and several other countries, (Russia, Greece, Romania and Barbados). Andrew was one of the original 12 apostles of Christ and was present at the last supper. In 1320 the Scots appealed to the Pope for protection against the attempts of English Kings to conquer Scotland and thus the Declaration of Arbroath was signed and St. Andrew was declared Patron Saint. Always looking for an excuse to celebrate, the Scots consider today a bank holiday and will hold feasts, haggis and whisky tastings and generally end the day with a good rollicking ceilidh! Just what we need in these dire times. The flag of Scotland, also called the Saltire or St. Andrew’s Cross, is supposed to signify how he was crucified on a cross of this form in Greece on November 30th, 60AD.
Now back to the present day…..the Friends of Fintry is working with the Okanagan Indian Band to erect a plaque acknowledging that both the Fintry Estate and Fintry Provincial Park are situated on the unceded ancestral territory of Syilx Okanagan Nation. This plaque will be in both English and the Syilx language and reminds our visitors of how culturally important the Shorts Creek delta is to the Syilx People. Erection and unveiling of this plaque will happen in 2021.
We, the Friends of Fintry, are embracing digital technology during these difficult times by holding our November Board Meeting via Zoom. All went well and we are going to continue with this method over the winter months or until Covid protocols change.
Our caretakers at the Fintry Manor House have settled in and seem delighted with their new winter hibernation location. The Ben Lee entrance to the Manor House has never looked so good!
And now we have an interesting tidbit from our Curator Dan Bruce re an item in our collection:
The Chelsea Pensioner’s Coat:
James Dun-Waters was more concerned with outdoor sports than academics when he was at Cambridge, and yet there was obviously an interest in some form of dramatic entertainment. This we know from a series of Eliot and Fry studio photographs taken in London, showing him in a variety of roles, dressed in costume, and seemingly with full make-up, preparatory to a stage appearance. One suspects that this became a more significant pastime during his life at Fintry, where home entertainment was the order of the day. Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that various items of clothing, and perhaps other props were kept to hand, one of which was a Chelsea Pensioner’s coat.
We do not know how he acquired it, but it is now back at Fintry, through the good offices of Bob Kingsmill, after a slightly mysterious period of absence. The coat is in very good condition, with its brass buttons inscribed ” R C I ” Royal Corps of Invalids.
The Chelsea Pensioners are retired army veterans who live in the Chelsea Royal Hospital in London. The Hospital was founded by Charles II in 1681, construction being entrusted to Sir Christopher Wren, who had already done so much to rebuild London after the Great Fire. Still in use, and fully up-to-date, the building is a must-see for anyone interested in architecture. There are about 300 pensioners in residence, and they participate in events such as the famous Chelsea Flower Show, where, in full ceremonial uniform, they act as ushers and guides.
The Hospital celebrates May 29th, aka Founder’s Day, or “Oak Apple Day” in memory of the founder’s escape by hiding in a densely branched oak tree after the battle of Worcester in 1651 during the Civil War.
Now here is a much sought-after recipe from Dan’s kitchen!
For those who are thinking about Christmas baking, I hereby give out my Mother’s shortbread recipe.
6 oz. flour
6 oz. butter
3 oz. caster sugar (berry sugar)
2 oz. ground almonds ( 2 oz. cornstarch if necessary)
Crumble butter (cut up into flour using two knives) into even sizes crumbs.
Add sugar and ground almonds. Mix well, and put into an 8″ loose bottomed tin.
Press flat with a knife and put into 350 oven for about 1/2 hour or until pale brown
and crispish at the edges. When crumbling, keep it cold, do not let it get soft and greasy,
IF it does, add some cornstarch. DO NOT TOUCH IT WITH YOUR HANDS AT ANY TIME.
On this seasonal note, and on behalf of the Friends of Fintry board members, our Curator Dan and Business Manager Shannon, I would like to wish you all the very best this Christmas despite all that is going on in the world. Dwell only on the things that are important to you, like family, close friends and good shortbread!