The Octagon – May, 2022

Greetings,

Finally, Spring has arrived and with it the blooming flowers and the excited twitter of returning birds. After our Springclean-athon on April 30th, the Fintry Manor House is ready to welcome visitors for another season and will now be open for tours weekends only for now. By the end of June, we will be able to offer tours during the week as well.

Last Sunday saw a gathering of around 30 people for the unveiling of the indigenous plaque which states that we acknowledge that Fintry is on the unceded territory of the Sylix Okanagan Nation. Several of our native neighbours were on hand for this event which was followed by coffee and refreshments and tours of the Manor House.

Now we are getting ready for our next big event to be held this coming Sunday, May 8th…..our annual Spring Fintry Fair open from 10-4pm. We have over 20 vendors booked that will be set up on the lawn, plus various bands playing throughout the day, including the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band. There will be Food trucks and entry is by donation ….. dogs on leash are welcome! It is a beautiful drive along Westside Road so come on out and make a day of it!        

While visiting Fintry, check out this magnificent tree on the lawn of the Manor House.  Dan, our Curator has been doing some research……  

 In the southeast quadrant of the front lawn of the Fintry Manor House there stands a tree, a veteran Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) perhaps about 150 years old. If that age estimate is correct, then the tree would have been in existence and incorporated into the garden as it evolved during the Dun-Waters’ era.  

At some point it suffered a near-fatal event, though we are not certain exactly what or when. A lightening strike may have been what it was.  The result however is clear, the largest part of the main trunk snapped off at a height of about 12 feet. Such damage could have caused the death of the tree, but in this case, side branches continued to grow, from which arose vertical stems each of which looked like a tree in itself.  About eight years ago, three of these side branches broke off, unable to bear the weight and twisting in high winds.

It was suggested then that the whole tree should be cut down and removed, but before any action was taken, the Friends of Fintry consulted with Cody Tree Services of Kelowna to see if there was any way to save the tree and its remaining branches.   Their suggestion was to cable the upright stems together. This was done, and the tree is still standing, having survived many subsequent wind storms. A beautiful demonstration of ‘ Strength in Unity’.

The Douglas Fir was introduced into cultivation by David Douglas in 1827, and is named in honour of Archibald Menzies, the botanist on Captain Vancouver’s voyage, 1791 – 1795.   The natural range extends from British Columbia southwards into the higher mountains of Mexico, and it has been introduced as a forestry tree in many other areas, notably Scotland.    The tallest tree in the U. K. is a Douglas Fir near Inverness, determined by the Scottish Forestry Commission in 2014 as being 217.10 feet (66.4 metres) high.    Visitors to Drumlanrig Castle can see a Douglas Fir that has grown from seed that David Douglas sent back in 1827.   Here at Fintry we appreciate BC Parks agreeing to let Cody Tree Services come to the rescue of this one on its own ground.

We look forward to seeing you at the Fintry Fair on Sunday where the festivities take place all around this great tree!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – April, 2022

Greetings Friends and Hello Spring!

Finally, we are all able to step into spring feeling a bit more positive that the worst of this pandemic is over.  We are cautiously optimistic that this coming season at Fintry will be back to normal.

Our first event this year will be the unveiling of the indigenous plaque beside the Manor House. We have set aside an enclave on the estate grounds to honour the Syilx Okanagan people and to celebrate their deep history in the area. With assistance from the OKIB and the Province, we have installed a rock monument and plaque. They acknowledge that the Fintry Estate and Fintry Provincial Park are situated on the unceded ancestral territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. Our goal is to inform visitors in both English and Nsyilxcən that the delta is culturally important to the Syilx Okanagan people, and that we share a common effort to support the ecosystems of this area. 

We’d be honoured if you join us for the unveiling of this monument to celebrate a new relationship with our neighbours. The ceremony, with refreshments, takes place at:

Noon, Sunday May 1

The Fintry Estate’s Manor House lawn, Fintry Provincial Park, B.C.

7655 Fintry Delta Rd., off Westside Road just north of La Casa Cottages.

RSVP to [email protected]

We are also in the planning stages of our annual Fintry Fair to be held on Mother’s Day (May 8th) with lots of music, vendors and tours of the Manor House. We hope you will attend, this being one of our major fundraisers, and the first Fair in two years!

Some of the other confirmed dates to mark on your calendar are as follows:

June 18th and 19th The Fintry Fusion Art Show and Tea in the Manor House.

We have invited several artists from around the Okanagan to display (and sell) their works of art which will be set up in the Manor House living room. Refreshments will be provided.

July 10th   Fintry Summer Fair

September 11th Fintry Fall Fair

Now for some interesting history from our Curator Dan Bruce.

“The picture below shows cow shoes, handmade iron shoes to be nailed to each division of the cow’s hoof in the same way that horse shoes are put on.   Cow shoes are not common items on farms and ranches today, but in earlier times they were of considerable importance. In Scotland, from at least late medieval times, cattle were raised for an export market. That market was for the most part, to the south, in England, and the only way to deliver the goods was to have the goods walk.    As this enterprise developed and became well organized, the routes that these cattle were driven by became well recognized features of the landscape.  The drovers who raised the cattle were the ones who brought their herds south, and they were known as an extremely hardy type, able to cope with large groups of livestock, the possibility of being raided, and anything the weather was likely to inflict on them during the journey.  They were accustomed to these hardships, and would think nothing of it if they had to spend perhaps several nights sleeping in the open, wet or dry.    To many of the settled folk along the way, the passing herds with their guardians would have been impressive, perhaps even intimidating.

The cattle were not the shaggy, red haired Highland breed, but smallish all black ancestors of the Aberdeen-Angus breed so appreciated by beef-eaters today.   To prepare the animals for their journey, they were often fitted with iron shoes to protect their hooves in rough, stony areas.  Success in the business required the safe arrival of the herd in good condition, and this was all done on foot, as horses were rarely, if ever, used.   Sometimes individual cows were de-horned prior to the trek, especially if they were known to be aggressive.   The drovers would often keep the horns from which they would make drinking cups or other items that they would sell at journey’s end to make a little extra cash.

The drove roads of Scotland covered the whole country, including the islands, and one of the trails led right through the Fintry hills.  The droving industry had long ceased by the time James Dun-Waters was around, but without doubt he would have known all about it. He probably smiled over the fact that the Fintry that he established here in the Okanagan was also situated on a drover’s trail.

Over long stretches of these Scottish trails, luxuries were few, and, as noted, the drovers were tough and resourceful. If no food was to be found, they would satisfy hunger by milking the cattle, and mixing the milk with blood, also drawn from the cows, a practice done by the Maasai in East Africa today.    This would get them through until they reached an area that afforded more comforts. They certainly made use of inns and rest-houses when available.

Very often when the droving was completed, the men would stay in the south and get work with the local farmers for the harvest. If this was the case, the dogs that came with them to help with the droving would be sent home by themselves. Very savvy Border Collies for the most part, they would return, and on the way be fed by the inn-keepers that they had met on the way down. The drovers would then pay for that food on the next year’s trip.

A well-organized proceeding.”

All for this month,

Kathy Drew

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – March, 2022

Greetings all,

As we March into Spring we look forward to longer and brighter days ahead. Snowdrops have emerged, 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 mandates lift and we get back to doing all the things we used to do……but with a good dose of caution thrown in.

At Fintry we are making plans for a more normal season and we look forward to holding our Fairs in May, July and September as well as some new events in June and August. We certainly hope that you can attend at least one of our planned programming events.

The Fintry Provincial Park opens on April 1st and camping reservations can be made starting March 21st, when you visit  http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/fintry/

Dan, our curator, has been perusing his extensive library and has discovered some interesting and very timely correlations between days gone by and today…..

One of the most popular writers of children’s adventure novels in late Victorian times was Sir Henry Rider Haggard.    Tales such as “King Solomon’s Mines”, “Alan Quartermain” and “She” (who must be obeyed) are even now easily available in several editions, and as so often the case, written for the young, but equally appreciated by adults.   (There is a first edition of King Solomon’s Mines out there for sale, at $14,933.00).

Apart from being a successful author, he was a magistrate and a gentleman farmer in Norfolk.  In 1898 he turned his literary talents to the production of “A Farmer’s Year” which was essentially his diary, giving us a detailed look at the daily operations of a 350 acre mixed farm.   This is exactly the kind of farming that James Dun-Waters would have been familiar with before his move to Canada, and if Sir Henry had visited Fintry, (which he certainly did not) there would have been a complete appreciation of what was being done.

An interesting passage in Sir Henry’s diary concerns the issue of “anti-vaccinationers”.   As a magistrate, he had to deal with the situation created by the Government’s decision to allow ‘conscientious objectors’ to leave their children unvaccinated.   At this time, Covid-19 was not the problem, but small-pox.

“Never before, I imagine, at least in these enlightened days has such sanction been given to the wretched theory that ‘freedom’ consists in giving a man the right to gratify his own whim, however mischievous, at the cost of society at large, and never before has the doctrine of the power of the parent over his offspring been pushed so far”.  And this was written in 1898.

He goes on to give an example from Venezuela, that was reported on in the London Press, where the city of Valencia with a population of 35,000 and no particular enthusiasm for vaccination, had 5,221 cases of small-pox. This alarmed the health authorities, and when the capital, Caracas, which had at that time a population of 80,000, began to be infected, compulsory vaccination was enforced, with the result that there were 400 cases only.

As a magistrate, Sir Henry did not have to deal with protesters, (perhaps the Norfolk population was too polite), however he did have issues with those who claimed immunity from the requirement to vaccinate on grounds of conscience.

“Anti-Vaccers” are not a new species!

On that note, I wish you all good health!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – February, 2022

Greetings all,

With much of the animal kingdom in hibernation over these winter months, rest assured that the Friends of Fintry have not been curled up in their burrows, although with this continuing pandemic it is tempting to do so! We have been sniffing out as many grants as we are eligible for with the hope that this coming season will have a sense of normalcy. As well as our Fairs, we are hoping to have exciting new events every month from May to September, so stay tuned, make sure your membership is up to date and regularly check out our website at www.fintry.ca

One of our grant applications was to Canada Summer Jobs for two students, 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 our volunteers.

Heritage Week (February 21st-27th) will soon be upon us and I encourage you to check out the Heritage BC website at www.heritagebc.ca/events-activities/ and our local Heritage Week Facebook Page www.facebook.com/heritageweekokanagan, where you can find out what’s happening this year.

Those who have toured the Manor House may remember that on the desk in the Red Room is the photograph of a gentleman. What follows now is an incredible story of coincidence by our Curator, Dan Bruce which I am sure you will enjoy………..

” Presumption now hath made his masterpiece . . .”

                                                                            with apologies to The Bard

The portrait that is now on James Dun-Waters’ desk in the Red Room is of Philip Gordon Cracknell, my grandfather. It might indeed be thought presumptuous to draw attention to a personal connection to Fintry, but the fact remains that when I began work as Curator of the site, I had no knowledge of what follows.

Sometime early in 2009, my mother mentioned that she regretted not having a larger copy of her favourite photograph of her father.  The locket-sized portrait had sat in its silver frame on her bedside table for years.   I suggested that with the technology now available, it should not be a problem to enlarge even one so small.  Lynda Miller was kind enough to do some work on it, and created a very clear 8 X 10, which was then framed and presented. This led to a lengthy reminiscence, much of which I had heard previously, so the situation was not unusual, listening with one ear, I was occupied with other trivialities in the living room at home.  Unexpected and new information brought me back to reality, and I asked for a repeat, and more detail. 

The story came out as Philip Cracknell told it to his children. He was involved in the Gallipoli episode in the First World War, after which he continued in the Royal Navy, but was shipwrecked in the Mediterranean and ended up on the Greek island of Mudros. He was rescued from there, and taken to Alexandria. Not severely wounded, he was for a time in the care off the field hospital set up by James Dun-Waters, his wife, Alice and Katie Stuart.

After his recovery, he returned to England, and re-enlisted, this time in the army. My mother said he would never speak of his experience in France, but was quite forthcoming on his time in the Navy.

Needless to say, I was surprised, to put it mildly, to discover this after having been Curator at Fintry since 2002.   My mother was aware of the basic history of the Fintry Estate, but it seems, had not realized the Alexandria connection.

Philip Gordon Cracknell was the younger son of the Rev. Thomas Cracknell, whose fluency in Latin and Greek assisted Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln in writing his commentary and notes on the Bible, published in 1880.  He was named Gordon, like so many others at the time, after General Charles Gordon, killed at Khartoum in 1885.  He became a pharmacist and dispensing chemist with his own business in London.  His older brother, Parkinson Cracknell came to Canada and enlisted in the NW Mounted Police, based in Cochrane, Alberta, (ca. 1910).   Park went back to England at the start of the war, and was an early casualty in France.

When visiting the Manor House this year be sure to look for this photograph on the desk in the Red Room….another piece of history with an interesting story behind it.

Stay safe everyone….

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – January, 2022

Happy New Year to all,

2021 has been a challenging year for us all, not only with a pandemic that won’t go away, but the fires, floods, extreme heat and now extreme cold; Mother Nature seems to be very angry with us. Moving forward, we all must do our part to make this next year a better one…… at least for the things that we can control.

We were saddened to hear of the passing of one of our long-time Board members, Paul Koroscil. Paul has been a strong supporter of the Friends of Fintry since around 2000. He was a great historian, and often contributed essays on many aspects of the Dun-Waters story to the Octagon. He was a wealth of knowledge on Fintry and beyond and will be sorely missed. Last year the Friends of Fintry nominated him and he received the British Columbia Historical Federation’s Award of Merit for his outstanding contributions to the published history of British Columbia and for his continued service to the Fintry Provincial Park. Our condolences go out to his wife Maureen and their family at this difficult time.

Paul Koroscil

HOPE seems to be the key word these days. The Friends of Fintry are looking ahead, hoping that there will be some sort of normalcy in 2022. In that regard we are once again hoping to be able to hire students for our summer tours and programming; hoping that our weather patterns sort themselves out so we have a good Okanagan summer and hoping to welcome many visitors to the Manor House and barns.

Show-casing country houses is not a new phenomenon, as our Curator Dan Bruce has discovered through some research:

“Tourism goes back many centuries, as we know from the notes left by Greek and Roman visitors to the monuments and sites of Egypt.   Curiosity is a feature of human nature, and closer to our own time, the tourist has become an accepted part of our culture.

Those visiting the Fintry Estate are indeed following a long tradition.  Country house sightseeing was an established and popular activity back in the seventeenth century, involving both the houses themselves, the furnishings, and the landscaped gardens surrounding.  In 1675, John Ogilby produced a road atlas, “Britannia”, that gave tourist information on most of the mansion homes and estates that, under certain conditions, were open to the public.  It was usual that access was permitted at times when the owner was not in residence.  This happened frequently as the owners were usually in possession of several houses, and if they were politically active, they would have to spend considerable time in London, with the country ‘ seats ‘ left in the hands of managers.

There was a desire on the part of the owners to show wealth, influence and culture, and a desire on the part of the visitors to see, compare and at times critique the ‘taste’ of the owner.   Lord Cobham created a spectacular estate in the first years of the eighteenth century at Stowe, Buckinghamshire, where George Bickham produced several editions of a guidebook. Copies of the book were available for sale at the gate, and the local merchants were delighted with the effect the estate had on the economy.

“Besides, there is another advantage in wealth laid out in this elegant manner . . . the money spent in the neighborhood, by the company daily crowding hither, to satisfy their curiosity.  There is a kind of continual fair… several of the inhabitants of Buckingham say, that this is one of the best trades they have: their inns, their shops, their farms and shambles, all find their account in it.”     (Shambles = slaughterhouse, abattoir, meat market).

Lord Cobham went so far as to open a ‘visitor centre’ in 1717, that provided food, lodging and transport as required by visitors, probably the first ever of something now common.   One of the greatest English poets of the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope opened his London garden to the public, circa 1735, and it was at this time that Augusta, the Dowager Princess of Wales began the development of what was to become the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.     In 1772, George III ordered that every Thursday, the Royal Gardens at Kew are to be opened for the reception of such persons as choose to walk in them, and none are to be refused admission who make a decent appearance.

An interest in botany and horticulture linked all of these efforts together, and created many instances where social barriers were overcome, sometimes with remarkable results.

There is no evidence that James Dun-Waters had an intense interest in gardening, but we do know that the surrounding five or so acres at the Manor House were maintained as an informal style “jardin anglais” thus keeping to the long-established tradition.   Some of the original plants have survived and can still be found around the Fintry Manor.”

As we move forward looking forward to better days, the Friends of Fintry wishes everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

Stay safe,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – December, 2021

Greetings all,

The end of another year – and what a year it has been! We shouldn’t look behind us as that is not the direction we are going, but it is hard not to reminisce on what we have all gone through over these past twelve months. We can only hope that the year ahead will be a brighter one.

Fintry is now quiet, calm and serene in her snowy winter cloak as she waits for what the world will bring next year. To that end, the Fintry Board is planning (and hoping) that tours, Fairs and other exciting events will all be back in full swing next year. We continue to hold our monthly Board Meetings via Zoom over the winter months thus saving board members time and stress on the winter roads…..one good thing that came from the Covid lockdown.

The Fintry Estate was very much a self-sufficient operation under James Dun-Waters’ experienced management, yet it would be surprising if no products from Buckerfield’s were ever used here.

The company was founded by Ernest Buckerfield in 1927, and over the years has grown to be one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of animal feeds in B C., if not also in the country as a whole.      Back in 1956, Buckerfield’s assisted in one of James Dun-Waters’ greatest interests, the promotion and development of Ayrshire dairy cattle in Canada. That was the year that the company sponsored a silver trophy cup to be won at the Lower Mainland Red and White Show.    ‘Red and White’ in this instance refers to the colours of the Ayrshire breed, and this was a time when many dairy farmers were keeping Ayrshires, sometimes along with Jerseys, Guernseys and the now ubiquitous Holstein-Friesians, which as everyone knows are black and white.

 The trophy was won by W. H. Savage in 1956 and again in 1958. J. R. Paton and Sons took it in 1957 and 1960, and in 1981 David and Eileen Way of Auchenway Farm in Chilliwack won it.   David and Eileen were the couple that invited Fintry to join the B C Ayrshire Breeder’s Club, and oversaw the transfer of a collection of Ayrshire memorabilia from club members to Fintry, including this trophy.       The last time that the trophy was awarded was in 1986, when Don Harrop of Armstrong won it.  Don was Art Harrop’s brother, who worked for several years at Fintry.

 The trophy is now on exhibit in the Buckerfield’s store on Springfield Avenue in Kelowna, but will return to Fintry when we re-open for the 2022 season.

This is a good opportunity to renew our thanks to the local Buckerfield’s management, as they donated the roll of fencing wire needed to surround the Weeping Beech tree at the north-west corner of the Manor House to protect it from being damaged by some of the younger generation of campers in the Park.     The tree, as far as we know was planted by James Dun-Waters, and I am happy to say that it has survived all the abnormalities of the weather, including the latest wind storm.

Wishing all our members, friends, volunteers and associates a very Merry Christmas!

From: Dan Bruce, Kathy Drew, Shannon Jorgenson and the Board members of the Friends of Fintry Provincial  Park.

The Octagon – November, 2021

Greetings all,

It is hard to believe that another season of showcasing Fintry and the Manor House has come and gone. Between Covid, fires and evacuations it was a summer to forget, to put behind us and start planning as we look forward to next year. With having no Fintry Fairs this year our revenue took a serious hit, and we can only hope that next year things will look a lot brighter on all fronts.

The Friends of Fintry Board will continue meeting monthly via Zoom, which makes life a lot easier as we will not have to drive to meetings during inclement weather and snow-covered roads. The Board continues to toss around ideas for fund-raising next year, including perhaps a calendar with photos of some interesting scenes from around the Fintry Estate. Stay tuned!

We are delighted to have our caretakers, Jeff and Louise back in the suite in the Manor House, where they will stay for the winter and keep an eye on things for us.

This month’s historical topic from our Curator Dan Bruce will be of interest to those patrons of BC Parks who travel and camp in the Merritt area.

“The central figure here is Penryn Goldman, actually the man after whom Monck Park is named. He is shown standing between his parents, Charles Sydney, and his mother, the Hon. Agnes Mary Goldman.     Charles Sydney Goldman had an extensive career in South Africa, as a war correspondent, ostrich farmer, with gold mining interests among other things.   He moved to BC in 1919 and founded Nicola Stock Farm (now known as Nicola Ranch).    His wife was the granddaughter of Sir Robert Peel who was twice Prime Minister ( 1834 – 1835 and 1841 – 1846 ) and who established the Metropolitan Police Force in London.

Nicola Ranch currently makes use of the historic buildings that were once part of the Townsite of Nicola, and we might remember the old Murray Church that stood right beside the highway through the ranch, and which recently fell victim to an arsonist.   Charles Goldman’s memorial, carved on a boulder in the churchyard survived however, and may still be seen there.  It was he who donated the land to the government that is now Monck Park.  When Penryn Goldman joined the Royal

Navy, rising to the rank of Commander in World War II, he changed his name from Goldman to Monck, (perhaps in case of being captured) hence the name of the Park.    The signature under the photo is taken from an autographed copy of the book he wrote when just out of his teens, “To Hell and Gone”, an account of his travels in Australia, and published by Gollancz in London, in 1932.

Charles Goldman was born in 1858, and after his various adventures in South Africa and British Columbia he sold the ranch and returned to England, to Yaverland Manor, on the Isle of Wight, where he died in 1958.  Yaverland was where the fossil of a medium sized carnivorous dinosaur was found in the 1930’s, and which was named Yaverlandia, a fact that Charles Goldman may well have been aware of.

It would seem that there was some communication between Charles Goldman and James Dun-Waters, and that some of the Fintry Ayrshire cows were sold to Goldman, and housed in the ” White Barn” that still stands at Nicola.  The manure bucket now in the octagonal dairy barn at Fintry came in the other direction a few years ago. The original Fintry one had been lost at some point in the past, but with the kind co-operation of the late Pat Roberts at Nicola, we were able to acquire this replacement, with thanks also to Ron Long, who got it back up and hanging as it should from the track around the barn.”   

In closing I would like to ask you, our members, if there is someone out there with a background in bookkeeping/accounting. Our trusty Treasurer John King, who has been with us for several years, wishes to really retire and we are looking for someone to take over this position. For more info please contact me directly at 250-309-7868.

‘Til next month, stay safe,

Kathy Drew

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

The Octagon – October, 2021

Greetings all….

As we fall into October and the wrapping up of our 2021 season, the turbulence of these past few months is something we will never forget. Not only were we dealing with the pandemic, but then along came the fires, the smoke, the evacuation and the devastation along Westside Road. Fortunately, we came through it all virtually unscathed although our bottom line certainly took a hit mainly because of the inability to hold our Fairs. The two live-in students (Morgan and Holly) that we hired in July were displaced and had to work on their projects from home instead of giving tours of the Manor House and Barn. When BC Parks reopened the campground at the end of August, we too reopened with our trusty volunteers showcasing the Manor House to the visiting public. Now here we are at the end of our season with the Manor House (and campground) closing this Thanksgiving weekend. We will be open both Saturday and Sunday, October 9th and 10th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm ….your last chance for a tour this year. Christmas is coming and we still have lots of Laird of Fintry T-shirts, ball caps and great books of local interest for those discerning people on your list!

For our Curator Dan, it must have felt like Christmas came early when he received this surprise box of papers from Rod Stuart……read on!

“We held the Annual General Meeting at Fintry, finally, on Saturday September 25th, at which point, Rod and Karen Stuart presented us with a box.    I have always been brought to a stage of expectation when a Stuart box shows up, there’s always something of interest therein. On this occasion, the content proved to be all papers, and ranged from newspaper clippings to archival documents, almost all of which focus attention on Katie Stuart, Alice Dun-Waters’ confidante, assistant and family friend. In brief, the box is a mine of items of interest that gives a candid vignette on the personality of Katie, a “fly-on-the-wall” look at life at Fintry.

In no special order, the contents of the box include a mass of unused stationery, envelopes proudly showing the Ayrshire cows and apple production of the estate. Two copies of the ‘Fintry for Sale’ booklet, in mint condition. Newspaper clippings about issues that were of concern at the time (1930’s to 1940’s). These topics were the weather, government policy as regards agriculture, and of course the growing threat of war with Germany.  Poetry obviously appealed to Katie as there are several poetic essays, penciled verses in her own handwriting, some perhaps of her own creation. One piece that caught her attention is still recited at Cowboy Poetry performances . . . Will Ogilvie’s “Hooves of the Horses”

When you lay me to slumber, no spot can you choose

But will ring to the rhythm of galloping shoes,

And under the daisies, no grave be so deep

But the hooves of the horses shall sound in my sleep.

Many of the poetry verses are written on odd scraps of paper, or the backs of other items. This is a reminder that during the 1940’s, all resources were strained, so using the back of a fruit can label was not unusual. Looking at the other sides, we have quite a selection of invoices, advertisements or other notes from businesses, mostly in Vernon, that the Fintry Estate had dealings with.

There are two pictures from Scotland, one of Castle Kennedy, and one of Lochinch Castle, the domain of the Earl of Stair, who co-operated with James Dun-Waters to select and ship to Canada the best Ayrshire cattle that were available at the time.  With these two pictures there is a card with Christmas greetings from the Earl and his wife.

Another Christmas card is addressed to Mr. G. R Stuart, from Wong Ying, presumably one of the employees at Fintry, or a relative. The card is interesting as it is evidence of an employer-employee relationship not at all common in the Okanagan at that time.  The writing on the card seems to have been done with a brush, and not a pen. I will consult with the Calligrapher’s Guild to see if they can confirm this detail.  

A further surprise was an invitation card to attend the re-opening for the season of the Eldorado Arms Hotel, on April 21st 1930.  (Remember, the Cecil Aldin prints in the dining room came to us from the Eldorado via Jennifer Hindle)

Also, if you remember the last Octagon issue, it showed the ‘secret compartment’ book, the inside of which was lined with marbled paper. The creation of marbled paper was a skill developed by bookbinders in days gone by as a decorative addition to the more expensive volumes, but not as expensive as those edged with gold leaf.   The art of marbling has not been lost however, if you visit Picture Perfect, our picture framers downtown Kelowna, you will see they carry a line of greeting cards of marbled paper made by Candace Thayer-Coe in Vancouver. Unique, and can be viewed from any angle!”

Thank you Dan for this summary and thank you also to Rod Stuart…for this little glimpse into Katie’s life.

At this point I would like to thank all our volunteers, tour guides and students for hanging in there during this very disruptive summer. Somehow we made it all work; everyone stayed safe and we were still able to tell the Dun-Waters’ story to the visiting public. Hopefully next year this pandemic will be in the rear- view mirror and we can get back to holding Fairs as well as regular programming.

‘Til next month – stay safe out there,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

The Octagon – September, 2021

 Greetings all,

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.

Stay safe everyone,

Kathy Drew, Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – August, 2021

Greetings all….

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 the descendants 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.”

‘Til next month – stay safe out there,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.