The Octagon for August 2019

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – August, 2019 

Greetings Friends,

The month of July has been very busy at Fintry. The weekend tours have been full to capacity with people and campers from all over the world coming to hear the Dun-Waters’ story. The Fintry Summer Fair held on July 14th was one of our best ever with a constant stream of visitors touring the Manor House, checking out the vendors and enjoying the music. The weather co-operated and from the comments we received it seemed that everyone had a good time.

We now are in the planning stages for the Fintry Fall Fair to be held on Sunday, September 15th.These Fairs are an important source of revenue for the Friends of Fintry and we are very grateful for your support, so mark the date on your calendars and bring your friends and family for a fun day at Fintry.

Earlier this year we applied for a grant through BC Parks “Parks Enhancement Fund” for the printing of a walking tour brochure. We wish to announce that we were successful in obtaining funding for this endeavour (which is now at the printers) and we would like to thank BC Parks for assisting us with this. This walking tour brochure will give informed access to the various historic and natural features of the Fintry Provincial Park.

We have also been successful in obtaining a grant through the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF) which will enable us to hire a Business Manager. We are extremely grateful for this grant, as this will lighten the load for us volunteers  as we expand our special events programming.

And now some musings from our Curator Dan Bruce:

“Take the time to smell the roses on your next visit to Fintry!   We know that when the Dun-Waters were in residence, the Manor House was surrounded by about five acres of ornamental gardens. The present extent of the lawn, mostly on the east side of the house is essentially the same as it was at that time. Over the years, several changes took place, which is to be expected, gardens being living entities.    The pathway from the front steps leads straight towards a gravel circle, in the centre of which stands the sundial.

                                                           Serene he stands among the flowers

                                                           And only counts the sunny hours

                                                           For him dark days do not exist,

                                                           That brazen faced old optimist.

The sundial was returned to Fintry and replaced in its original position in honour of Arthur Bailey, Baron d’Avray,  Chevalier de St. Louis, who lived for many years at Fintry and was the last owner of the property before it became a BC Park.   At one time, the stone pathway was lined with small flowering trees.    Just to the south-west of the sundial, there stands a gigantic Douglas Fir.  This tree has survived a traumatic experience, having lost the greater part of its height in some unknown mishap. Lateral branches continued to grow, somewhat unusually for a Douglas Fir. These branches increasing in size became unwieldy, and some of them broke off in a wind storm.  Rather than see the tree cut down and removed, the Friends of Fintry asked the assistance of Cody Tree Services of Kelowna to see if this veteran could be saved. Simon Carrol, Cody’s top arborist came and assessed the situation, installing a series of steel cables that hold the surviving branches safely together, thus giving the tree anew lease on life.

Two specimens of the climbing rose “Bobbie James”have been planted to go up the tree. This rose variety was discovered as a seedling growing in Lady Serena James’ garden in Yorkshire, UK in 1961. It is named after her late husband, the Hon. Robert James.  In a good location, “Bobbie James” will reach a height of at least 25 feet.

The roses along the front of the Manor House are for the most part David Austin’s English roses, raised at his famous nursery in Shropshire.  At the north-east corner of the veranda is “Pat Austin” a coppery coloured rose raised in 1995 and named in honour of David Austin’s wife.  Next comes “Miss Alice”, a pink one chosen for Fintry because the first Mrs. Dun-Waters name was Alice. Then follows “Charles Rennie Mackintosh” raised in 1988 and named after the Scottish architect and designer who, among many other things, created the tower on the office of the Glasgow Herald newspaper, of which James Dun-Waters was the major shareholder.   The very dark crimson rose next to the front steps is “Tradescant”,  introduced in 1993.   On the south side of the veranda, you will find the white flowered Madame Hardy, raised in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris in 1832, which shares the space with the strawberry pink Madame Isaac Pereire, also raised in France, but a bit later, in 1881.”

Who knew that we had such an abundance of famous roses surrounding the Manor House. So as Dan says, take the time to “smell the roses” on your next visit as they do have absolutely beautiful aromas unlike many of the roses of today.

Enjoy your summer,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

Octagon for July 2019

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – July, 2019        

Greetings Friends,

It has hard to believe that half the year is now gone and (dare I say it) the days are getting shorter!

The Friends of Fintry held their Annual General Meeting on the 15th June at the Manor House and it was great to see so many of our wonderful members in attendance.  Our guest speaker, Steve Fleck, Executive Director from the Vernon Museum and Archives, regaled us with ways that we (all heritage institutions) can work together for better promotion. He suggested ways that we could partner together for some exciting new programs…….so stay tuned!

Just a reminder that we rely heavily on our membership base for grants, etc  so if you haven’t yet renewed for this year we encourage you to do so either on-line through our website ( or at the Fair on July 14th.  Memberships expire on April 30th of each year and entitle you to free tours throughout the year!

Our regular tours are still happening every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm and at 2:30 pm. and are being very well attended, many at capacity. 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.  We would love to extend these tour days into weekdays as well but unfortunately we have a dearth of tour guides so are very limited in the days we can be open, not to mention the distance we have to travel to host these tours.

Our next event is the Fintry Summer Fair to be held on Sunday, July 14th from 10-4 pm on the grounds of the Manor House. We will have live music, lots of vendors, children’s activities and tours of the Manor House, so bring those summer visitors and spend a fun day at Fintry.

We are very grateful for the donation of 39 perennials (plus a flat of geraniums) from Nicholas Alexander Landscaping in Vernon which have been planted around Alice Dun-Waters’ gravesite – a wonderful addition to the heritage roses which are blooming profusely just now.

Now here are some more exciting updates and insights from our Curator Dan Bruce:

Good news for those who have been waiting to have tours of the octagonal dairy barn. This has been closed for some time due to the fact that vandals had forced the original sliding doors open, which destroyed the bearing wheels and the track on which they ran. After repeated break-ins we had sealed the doors to prevent any access at all, fire risk being the chief concern.

BC Parks have now made a temporary access doorway so that we can resume barn tours. While closed to human entry, smaller wildlife had an easy time of it in the undisturbed barn, and a thorough clean-up was required.   The Ulfhethnar Viking Re-enactors came out and spent an afternoon inside, exchanging brooms and shovels for their swords and axes. They made short work of the clean-up, and with the direction and assistance of Rod Stuart who came up from Okanagan Falls, the barn is now presentable again.

Our caterer’s kitchen, just off the Ben Lee Room has now been inspected by Interior Health and given the approval for use.

Wire has been added to the steel frame around Alice Dun-Waters’ grave so that the roses can be encouraged to climb up and cover it. This was intended from the start, but the very poor soil in that part of the garden has been a problem.  Board members Kathy and Keith have added plant material to the grave site, generously donated by Nicholas Alexander of Vernon.    We are also trying to get the “Bobby James” roses to climb up the venerable Douglas Fir on the main lawn.  So far, they have not shown much enthusiasm for the climb.

Those who have read the Sherlock Holmes tale “The Hound of the Baskervilles” may remember a line right at the end where, having cleared up the matter of the Hound, Sherlock suggests that he and Dr. Watson have a relaxing evening.  He says “Have you heard the DeReszkes?”    This is a reference to the then very popular DeReszke brothers and their sister, Polish opera singers working in London.  A Russian cigarette maker created a blend of tobacco that would not damage Jean DeReszke’s voice (or so they thought). He was allowed to market his cigarettes as “DeReszke, the Aristocrat of Tobacco”.  James Dun-Waters smoked DeReszkes as well as a pipe.  We have one of the original cigarette tins that was used at Fintry.    It is just possible that like Sherlock Holmes, James Dun-Waters may have heard the DeReszkes on stage.

In closing I would just like to remind everyone of the Fintry Summer Fair to be held on Sunday, July 14th from 10-4 pm on the grounds of the Manor House. We are always in need of volunteers to assist in various areas that day, so if you would like to lend a hand, please contact either myself (Kathy Drew) at 250-542-4139 or Dan Bruce at 250-766-2081. We can assign an area of interest to you,  for all or part of the day… experience necessary!

Hope to see you at the Fair……..

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

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.