Fintry Octagon – June 2019

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – June, 2019        

The first Fair of this year was held on Mother’s Day in May. It was a glorious day and was very well attended…….. also lots of vendors set up on the lawn, music all day long, Vikings and Bagpipes!  A big “thank you” to all our volunteers who stepped up to help with set up, take down, security and with tours of the Manor House. These events require a lot of planning and we would never be able to execute them without your assistance.

 Our next Fair is on Sunday, July 14th so mark your calendars, and bring all those summer visitors to visit this hidden gem of the Okanagan.

Our Education Outreach Committee has been on the road giving presentations at various Retirement Residences as well as hosting some senior and school groups at the Fintry Manor House. It is a great opportunity for reminiscing for the seniors…… and for the students, it fits right in with the current school curriculum showcasing “Pioneers and Explorers”.  

There is also a photography display at the Westbank Library (until the end of May) of old road building machinery, the Fintry Packing House and apple picking at Fintry.

Our regular tours are still happening every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm and at 2:30 pm.  Tours cost $5.00 per adult and $2.00 for children and students. Those under five are free and if you are a member of the Friends of Fintry there is no charge.

Our Curator Dan Bruce has been doing some research on a couple of interesting items which are on display in the Manor House.

During her declining years, Alice, the first Mrs. Dun-Waters needed a wheelchair.  The original one, or ones have not survived, but we do have an example of one that may have looked somewhat like hers. The one now to be seen in Alice’s sitting room was offered to us some time ago by Randy Smith of Blast from the Past Antiques in Vernon. It did indeed appear to be a 1920’s model, and after being expertly re-upholstered by our Volunteer, Tony Durante, it became part of the furniture.    Interestingly the chair has a maker’s plaque on the back, a small piece of French ivory inscribed  “By appointment to the late King George VI, invalid chair manufacturers, Carters (J. & A.) Ltd.  65 Wigmore Street London W I “     King George VI did not die until 1952, so the plaque implies that it was made after that date.  One wonders why such an “old fashioned” type of chair would have been made then.   We have discovered that the Science Museum in London has an apparently identical chair in their collection, and I have written to ask if theirs has the same plaque. In due course, they will answer, and we may be able to say more about this item in a future Octagon issue.

Prominent in the “Dressing Room”, just before entering the Trophy Room is a print of one of the most famous animal paintings ever done in England, Sir Edwin Landseer’s “ Monarch of the Glen”. It is probably safe to say that very few Scottish households are without a copy of this in some form or other.  The painting was completed in 1851, and intended for the Palace of Westminster. It has been pointed out (no word play intended) that the red deer stag depicted has 12 points, making it a “Royal Stag” as opposed to a “Monarch” which must show 16.   Art critics have been very scathing about this painting, along with other works by Sir Edwin, but then criticism is easy!  The painting has passed through several hands since it was created, one of the most recent being the Dewar’s Whisky manufacturers. They put it up for sale a year or so ago, and it was purchased by the National Gallery of Scotland, for some four million pounds, thus keeping this iconic highland image in the public eye.    Sir Edwin Landseer was a favourite artist with Queen Victoria, and another claim to fame is that he was responsible for the four massive bronze lions that sit at the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.

A big Thank You to BC Parks and Encan Construction who have now installed an entry door to the Octagonal Dairy Barn, enabling us to conduct barn tours once again. The barn has been out of commission for some time, due to excessive vandalism with the original doors.

A recent addition to the library at Fintry is a copy of the official souvenir programme for Vancouver’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1936 in almost mint condition. This is something that James Dun-Waters may well have attended.

A reminder to all our members that the Friends of Fintry Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, June 15th, 10 a.m. at the Fintry Manor House. All members are urged to attend …..there will be a draw and refreshments after the meeting.

Kathy Drew, President

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

Octagon for April

Greetings Friends and hello Spring!

Yes…..Spring  finally did arrive and already my garden crocuses are blooming and the bees are as busy as…well… bees!

We, at Fintry are also busy  bees and looking forward to another busy season with requests already coming in from various tour groups.  Seniors’ residences are keeping our Education Outreach Coordinator, Gwendy Lamont and Curator Dan Bruce on their toes with requests to bring their extensive knowledge and some Fintry  artefacts to their homes’ Activity Days.

I am going to put a shout out at this juncture for anyone willing to lend a hand with our Mother’s Day Fintry Fair (Sunday, May 12th) as several of our regular helpers are going to be away on holiday. No experience necessary, we will just slot you in for a few hours as a body in the Manor House for security or at one of the entry tables. (Call Kathy at 250-542-4139 or email [email protected])  It is always a fun day with a full roster of entertainment already signed up. 

Our Curator, Dan Bruce has once again been doing some research and has uncovered some interesting facts about one of our more popular specimens in the Trophy Room of the Manor House.

In a previous issue I wrote about the giraffe in the Trophy Room, a truly excellent example of local taxidermy.   A short while ago I was asked to give a “Brown Bag Lunch Special”,  a mid-day entertainment hosted by the Penticton Museum. It was great way to get re-connected to our colleagues at the south end of the Lake.  I used the title “Outpost of Empire” to introduce the Fintry Estate, its history and cultural origins. 

On that occasion, I was able to get some more detail about the taxidermist who worked on the giraffe.       Abraham “Abe” Braun was born in 1917, in the Ural Mountains of southern Russia, and immigrated to Canada in 1924 — that pivotal year at Fintry when, among other things the Trophy Room was added to the Manor House.   Settling first in Manitoba, he took a correspondence course in taxidermy.  After several years, the milder climate of the Okanagan lured him westward, where he almost certainly excelled his instructors and developed his taxidermy skills into a successful business.   Not a hunter himself, a number of his clients were, and he also mounted specimens that were killed on the highways. Specimens also came his way when animals died at the Okanagan Game Farm, as in the case of the giraffe.     Abe died in 1985, and we are fortunate that by means of his skill, we can still appreciate and learn about a variety of creatures that passed through his hands.

It is perhaps fitting that a recent acquisition in the Manor House re-affirms the Russian connection. Visitors will now see a porcelain Polar Bear, created by the Lomonosov  Porcelain Factory in St Petersburg. Founded in the 18th Century, under the regime of the Tsars, the factory has been kept in production by the Soviet government, and still operated today.

Mark Taylor, of Taylor’s Antiques in Kelowna has donated a photo showing Earl Grey, the Governor-General and friend of James Dun-Waters, taken by the Norwegian photographer, Erling Olav Ellingsen. It is inscribed “ Earl Grey and party at King Solomon Dome, August 18th 1909”.  This visit then took place some three months after the presentation to Dun-Waters of the autographed portraits of Grey, 10th May, 1909.  (King Solomon Dome is the supposed origin of the gold deposits of the Klondike).    I cannot be sure that Dun-Waters is present in the picture, but it’s possible he may have been involved.   The photo has had some water damage, but this is limited to stains in the upper part of the picture, looking as if a serious thunderstorm is about to break on His Excellency’s parade, however, the important lower half is crystal clear. Our photography wizard volunteer, Lynda Miller will be able to clear the skies with photo-shop.

In closing I would just like to remind everyone of the dates of our Fintry Fairs this year.

Sunday, May 12th (Mother’s Day)

Sunday, July 14th

Sunday, September, 8th

Mark them on your calendars and if you can help out at all, please give me a call.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

Octagon for March 2019

Greetings Friends,

I think everyone is wondering if this winter will ever quit. I have just returned from a couple of glorious weeks in Mexico fully expecting winter to have released its icy grip, but apparently we returned a week too soon!

Fintry is still in winter mode but now we are starting to see a glimmer of movement as we slide down the icy road towards spring and our opening in May. Tour inquiries are coming in and we are getting our brochures and stock ready for another busy year. Now that we have our wheelchair ramp installed we are looking forward to having lots of senior tours this season as well as school tours as Fintry fits right into the Pioneers and Explorers section of the school curriculum.

And this is a good segue to the rest of this Octagon compiled by our Curator, Dan Bruce…….

Ever get tired of the usual news headlines noting every disaster, mishap and trouble spot around the world?     Here are a few headlines that may have reached the residents of Fintry during the years that James Dun-Waters was in residence………

1909   Charles Walcott discovers the Burgess Shale fossil site.

1910   Earl Grey sponsors the Grey Cup

           Jim Corbett kills the Panar leopard in India which had killed 400 human lives.

1911   Hiram Bingham reports his first visit to Machu Picchu

1912   Beatrix Potter publishes “The Tale of Mr. Tod”

1914   Maiden voyage of the Sicamous

           “Martha”, the last passenger pigeon dies

1915   “Lusitania” torpedoed

1916   Pancho Villa raids into New Mexico

1917   Prohibition starts in the Okanagan

1919   Nicola Ranch founded in Merritt by Charles Sydney Goldman

1922   Joseph B. Weeks made Captain of the Sicamous

           Tutankhamun’s tomb discovered

1923   Albert Einstein gives the inaugural address at the Hebrew University

1924   Alice Dun-Waters dies at Fintry

           Octagonal barn built at Fintry, and Trophy Room added to the Manor House

           George Mallory and Andrew Irvine lost on Mount Everest

           Noel Coward writes “The Vortex”

1925   Col. Percy Fawcett disappears in the Amazon forest   

1926   “Podunk” Davis rescues Nurse Warburton in Princeton

1927    Davidson Black, a Canadian doctor announces the discovery of the Peking Man fossils

1928    Kelowna Rotary Club founded. Dr. Knox a charter member

1930    Edward, Prince of Wales meets Mrs. Wallis Simpson

            William Beebe and Otis Barton descend half a mile under the sea in the bathysphere

1932    Calona Wines established by “Cap” Capozzi

1935    John Buchan becomes Governor-General of Canada, and his novel “The 39 Steps”

            adapted for cinema

1936   Emily Carr paints “ Above the Gravel Pit”

1938   First Superman comic published

1939   James Dun-Waters dies at Fintry

In closing I would just like to remind everyone of the dates for our Fintry Fairs this year.

Sunday, May 12th (Mother’s Day)

Sunday, July 14th

Sunday, September, 8th

Looking forward to spring…….

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

Octagon for February

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – February, 2019  

Greetings Friends,

Just when we thought we were having an “easy” winter and spring was in our sights, along comes the dreaded Arctic air! Hopefully it won’t last more than a week and we can get back on track with watching for those first bulbs poking through the soil.

The Friends of Fintry Board held a planning meeting in January as we step out into another year with a few unknowns. We have started the process of getting all our old photographs, letters etc. of Dun-Waters’ time at Fintry digitized so they will be available online. This is a huge job but will be a wonderful addition to our archives when complete.

We are still sorting through the many, many applications we received for a Caretaker and a decision regarding which way to go with this will be made within the next month. Student grants have been applied for, so now it is a waiting  game (until April) to find out if we have been successful. Having students give tours during the summer months will certainly take a load off our volunteers, so fingers crossed there!

Here is a rather interesting segment from our Curator, Dan Bruce on one of the most talked about creatures in the Fintry Trophy Room……..

“Giraffes are impressive animals, and the specimen in the Trophy Room at Fintry is no exception.   Visitors coming into the room for the first time usually stop at the entry step and gasp. Some are enthralled by the unexpected, and others are resistant, and unwilling to accept the presence of such a creature.

Fintry’s  giraffe was actually born and lived in the Penticton “Game Farm” and was not at any time the object of a hunt.  The taxidermy was done by Abe Braun of Okanagan Falls, and a very skilled job he did too.

Native only in Africa, the giraffe has found its way into many other parts of the world, and has gained a significance of its own in diverse cultures around the world. In 1415, not one, but two giraffes were presented to Yongle, the emperor of China, one of which was shipped direct from Malindi in East Africa direct to China.   At a later date, 1827, a young giraffe was presented to King George IV by Mehemet Ali, the pasha of Egypt. This animal was brought from the Sudan to Cairo, strapped to the back of a camel. It was then shipped, via Malta to England, and arrived safely at Windsor Castle. King George was delighted with the gift, and commissioned the Swiss artist, Jacques-Laurent Agasse to paint the giraffe, together with the Egyptian attendants who were sent to look after it on the journey.  The painting is currently on loan from the Royal Collection to the Zoological Society of London.

Many of Fintry’s visitors accept the idea of the giraffe’s long neck, but then have to reject that notion in view of the fact that almost every four footed creature can easily reach the ground by lowering the head while standing normally. The giraffe cannot, and must spread the front legs to allow the animal to get a drink at ground level. (Elephants cannot reach the ground either, but they have solved the problem with unique equipment of their own)

Anyone wishing to delve into the details of the life of the giraffe may refer to several books on the subject, the best of which is “The Giraffe, its Biology, Behaviour and Ecology” by Anne Innis Dagg and J. Bristol Foster, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company,  1976. It is pleasing to note that both the authors of this work are Canadian scientists.”

The Octagon

The Octagon – January, 2019  

Happy New Year to you and yours!

As we embark on this new year, we look forward to a year filled with infinite possibilities and exciting new ideas for Fintry. It is a busy time for our Board members as we sort through the many applications for permanent Caretakers for this wonderful old house, and are also in the midst of applying for grants for summer students. Having students will definitely take a load off our volunteers who tirelessly travel to Fintry and give Manor House tours throughout the summer. We will also be able to be open more days of the week and for longer hours each day.

We will keep you updated as and when these new changes take place.

This month’s notes from our Curator, Dan Bruce:

Anyone looking through the china-ware in an English household would be almost certain to find at least one example of “Willow Pattern”crockery.   This is a perfect example of “chinoiserie”, the flattering imitation of Chinese decorative motifs that was common over much of Europe from the seventeenth century onwards.   

   The Manor House dining room has a fine specimen of a nineteenth century Staffordshire platter, decorated with the “authorised version” of this famous design.  It is thought that the pattern was invented and first used by Thomas Minton, working for Thomas Turner at Caughley, (pronounced ‘ calflee’) in 1780. The pattern was done in blue on a white background, this being in itself a copy of Chinese porcelain colour choice.

The design uses a combination of Chinese motifs that were taken from original pieces brought from China, and which were prized collectors’ items in the West.  Over the years it has been copied by a huge number of manufacturers, and not necessarily limited to ceramic items. ( I have seen Willow Pattern Kleenex boxes).  The essential details remain the same, namely the bridge with three figures crossing, the pair of birds, the temple building with its fenced garden, and of course, the willow tree itself.    Variations exist not only in content, but in colours as well. The collection at Fintry has a number of examples of the original version, and also a few of the “look-alikes”.

 There are many publications devoted to this subject, not all of which are in agreement, but it is safe to say that “Willow Pattern” is the most popular design ever created to decorate household crockery.

So far we really don’t have much to complain about this winter……the snow shovel has hardly seen any use at all.  Now if we can just get through January, we’ll be almost home free and can start browsing through those seed catalogues in anticipation of Spring!

Good health and every happiness to you all.

Kathy Drew, President,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

Octagon for December

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – December, 2018

This is the time of year that we look back on all that we have accomplished in the past months, our successes,  things that need to be improved upon and the setting of new goals for the coming year.  Even although the Manor House has gone into “hibernation” The Friends of Fintry Board continues to plan for the coming year and to make this little gem in the history of the Okanagan, a destination not to be missed. We are excited that BC Parks is extending the campground, thus enabling more visitors to the area, as quite often in the summer months the campground would be completely full.

We held our Volunteer Appreciation night last month at Okanagan Spirits and it was wonderful to see so many Friends, old and new and discuss all things Fintry. We thank Kim Stinson from Stinson Events Catering for putting on an amazing spread of appies and also Okanagan Spirits for supplying the venue. I think a good time was had by all.

And now, some notes from our Curator, Dan Bruce:

Taylor’s Antiques on  Powick Road in Kelowna continues to be a source of interesting additions to our collections at Fintry.  Over the last few years, some thirty items have been installed in the Manor House, the latest being an entertaining print by Cecil Aldin.  The picture is a hunt scene, perhaps best described as “confusion in the kale patch” where a pack of hounds have become somewhat scattered in a lush field of kale. Dogs and riders everywhere, while a hare, (not a fox), exits stage right.

 Cecil Aldin, 1870 – 1935, was a very well-known artist with an interest in dogs, horses and wildlife in general.  He was much involved in the fox-hunting scene, and in 1910, was Master of the South Berkshire Hunt.  Interestingly, at Fintry we have two of his prints that are autographed. These are a part of the small percentage of original furnishings, and it is possible that James Dun-Waters acquired these from Aldin himself, it being a safe bet that they would have known each other.    

Aldin’s work was not limited to animals however. His art was frequently published in “The Graphic” and “The Illustrated London News”    He was much applauded for his depictions of women involved in agriculture as a vital part of the war effort in Britain.

 The Manor House has been the focus of a very extensive programme of repair, upgrades and renovations, carried out by BC Parks.  We are in process of installing a bronze plaque recording our appreciation of the work done, the commitment to preserving Fintry’s history, and the ongoing partnership between BC Parks and The Friends of Fintry.

 Those visiting Fintry recently will have seen a long bank of topsoil in the hay-field just to the east of the entry drive.  I have been asked about this, and I explained to one inquirer that a young Ogopogo had died, and the family wanted a “straight-out” burial, so what you see is the mound over the grave.  This was met with some disbelief, so I made another suggestion, that BC Parks are extending the campsite facilities in that area, and when all is complete, the long mound will be smoothed over.  (Could be some truth to that one).

We are also investigating ways to improve the road signage situation at the bottom of Fintry Delta Road, where the entry to the Park is. This signage muddle has been a problem for visitors and residents of the delta for some considerable time. Hopefully we can get something less confusing and more welcoming in place.

In closing, I would like to wish you the very best of the season and hope that you manage to visit Fintry sometime during the coming year.



Octagon for November

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – November 2018

The pumpkin colours of fall are disappearing, the deer are rutting and many animals are starting to grow their winter coats. We humans start to winterize as well, by digging out those warm winter coats and sweaters, change-over to winter tires and make sure our furnaces are in good running condition. Closing up the  Fintry Manor House is always a sad time of year as we shut the doors on Alice’s bedroom, the dining room, J.C. Dunwaters’ trophy room and all the wonderful stories that are part of this historical site.  The bats have gone into hibernation, the campground is closed, and the Manor House is all winterized and secure.  The Friends of Fintry Board members however, are still working hard in the background planning and organizing for next year.

The first thing on our agenda is to hire Caretakers to live on-site at the Manor House. We are in the midst of constructing a contract and will be advertising this position in the coming months. We will also be applying for a student grant and hope to be successful in obtaining two students to conduct tours of the Manor House next summer.

Notes from our Curator, Dan Bruce:   Among the many items of Natural History interest in the Trophy Room is our Narwhal tusk, and a fine specimen it is.     It was passed on to us from the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, who felt that they could not exhibit it as it is not from British Columbia, but from Greenland.  The Narwhal is of course a famous denizen of Canada’s Arctic waters. The name derives from the Old Norse, and means “corpse whale” because of the mottled colour of the animal’s skin. The tusks of these whales have a very long history in European culture and lore. Believed to be the horns of unicorns, they were thought to be an indicator and an antidote for poison in medieval times, and were accordingly highly valued. Most of the specimens that were available in medieval Europe passed through the hands of the Danish royal family. They were also a highly prized trade item that the Vikings carried southwards, some even reaching Bhagdad and Cairo. Visitors to Copenhagen’s Rosenborg Palace can see the famous “Unicorn Throne”, part of the regalia of the Danish kings. This was made of Narwhal tusk and gold, for the coronation of King Christian V in 1671.     We have added an Inuit stone sculpture of a Narwhal to the Trophy Room collection, as so many of our visitors seem to be unfamiliar with the appearance of this species of whale.

 Our  Library has now received our copy of the just published “Okanagan Lake, an Illustrated Exploration Above and Below the Waters” by Raphael Nowak.    This is a very thorough and well researched volume, and we are especially pleased that The Fintry Estate was one of the sponsoring subscribers for this book.  This is in fact the third book that Fintry has been instrumental in publishing, the others being “The Armorial of Haiti” and “The History of Wellington College”   Copies of “Okanagan Lake” are available at Mosaic Books, Kelowna.

 We have just received from Sharron Simpson a varied collection of bells that was put together by Sharron’s mother over a number of years. Some of these will be added to the Fintry collection, and others will be shared with the Lake Country Museum. Thank you, Sharron!

So as you can see, we have not gone into hibernation despite the now gloomy weather. The Board continues to meet every month and we are planning for some exciting changes for the coming year.

Kathy Drew, President,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon for October

The Octagon – October, 2018

Fall has arrived and as the colours change so do we. This coming weekend (Thanksgiving) sees the last of this year’s Manor House tours. We will be offering guided tours on both Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 and 2:30 pm. So if you are looking for something to do while the turkey is cooking, take the family for a scenic drive along Westside Road and visit the Manor House.

As we reflect back on this past season we think of all the visitors from around the world who visited and toured the Manor House; all the school tours with the excited children who gazed  in wonderment at the artifacts  from a bygone era; all the seniors who came by bus for a day’s outing and reminisced as they explored the objets d’art of their childhood. We are delighted to see the figures for this past season show an increase in revenue from tours and gift shop sales despite the fact that due to a lack of volunteers, we were only able to offer guided tours on weekends.

September 16th saw another wonderful Fintry Fair take place in front of the Manor House and despite the ominous weather which was forecast, the day turned out to be warm and sunny! I am sure the forecast kept many people away as attendance was down but those who did come out certainly seemed to enjoy themselves. The Vikings put on another of their crowd-pleasing shows, the Kalamalka Highlanders strutted their stuff on the front lawn; the Triskele Celtic singers and other musicians entertained us beautifully all day long.  For those of you who missed the Fairs this year, we will be holding these events again next year with the first being held on Mother’s Day 2019.

Notes from our Curator, Dan Bruce:      Just in time for the Fall Fair, we were able to arrange for the return of an interesting piece of Fintry’s past. The granite and concrete block that was used as a mounting aide for tall horses is now back at the Manor House. This was originally somewhere out to the west of the building, but that area is now part of the campsite section of the Park, so we have re-located it on the patio outside the Trophy Room. When the Baileys moved from the Manor House to Burnside, they took the block with them, (along with the sundial).  The sundial was brought back to its original site several years ago, but the mounting block was a bit more of a challenge. One of our neighbours on the Delta, Conrad Moskal was able to make this move happen for us with his heavy equipment.  The block is no lightweight, and was clearly never meant to be moved at all.   Conrad set it down carefully on the corner of the patio, inset somewhat to allow the lawn mower to work around it.   When we have our Fairs in the future, the Fintry merchandise booth canopy can be secured to the block, no wind could ever move it!

Still in the spirit of the season, I would like to thank all the hard working members of the Friends of Fintry who make the three Fairs which we hold in May, July and September happen.

I am truly grateful to those of you who take time out of your already busy lives, step up and take on whatever role is needing filled……. and it all just comes together.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!