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… 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  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 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.

The Octagon – July 2021

Greetings all….

As I write this we are in the midst of this crazy heat dome. What more is going to be thrown at us, first a pandemic, then extreme heat….. probably the next will be forest fires and the resulting smoke. I hope everyone is able to stay cool in this heat.

These past few weekends we have been open for tours of the Manor House, albeit on a limited basis, but as restrictions are lifted we will be able to take more people at a time giving them a glimpse of days gone by and even re-open some of the rooms that we have had to close off during Covid. We are excited to have our students onboard starting the first week of July; Morgan, a returning intern from last year as well as newcomer Holly who is quickly catching up with all the info required to showcase the Manor House. Starting on July 10th the Octagonal Barn will once again be open, so bring your visiting friends and family to see this unique structure and imagine the Ayrshires all standing in their stanchions waiting to get milked.

We have completed Dun-Waters’ bedroom and this is now available for viewing. Many thanks to Dave Richmond (BC Parks) for donating the magnificent 1930’s bedroom suite in this room.

Another new addition to our collection is in the Ben Lee Room and Dan Bruce our Curator, gives the history of this magnificent piece below:

“A new item of furniture in the Ben Lee Room will be very obvious to visitors . . . Bruce Hopkins of Vernon has just donated a bookshelf that now dominates the room.  It is an example of the Eastlake style of furniture, very popular in the USA and eastern Canada in the late 19th century.

Charles Locke Eastlake (1836 – 1906) was an artist and architect in England who envisioned a decorative style that could be largely machine made, and therefore affordable by customers of lesser means.   His publication, ” Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details ” was influential in Britain, but was even more popular in North America.  His angular, sharply defined decoration contrasted with the curves and swirls of an earlier age. Lending itself to machine work, many builders and manufacturers took to it with enthusiasm.

The ” Hopkins Shelf ” at Fintry was brought from a house in Ontario some time ago, where it had been since about 1895. In order to get it to BC and into the Vernon residence, the upper section had to be cut in half and rejoined once in place. This process had to be repeated when it came time to move it to Fintry.   With the assistance of Bruce Hopkins, the donor, our Board members, Roy Lysholt, Jason Satterthwaite and Jason’s son Aiden, we engineered the piece out of the Hopkins house and delivered it to Fintry. Shortly thereafter the team re-assembled it in its present position.

Being located in the part of the Ben Lee Room that was the original kitchen, the decision was to use it to exhibit cooking and food related items that would not fit well in other parts of the house.  This is in the experimental stage at the moment, but here one can see the two spice boxes, and the selection of Chinese ginger jars.   

While enlarging and upgrading the campsites 1 to 50 some years ago, BC Parks workers unearthed a few glass bottles that had been disposed of in a pit almost certainly during Dun-Waters’ time. One of these is now on the new shelf, and identifies itself as “Sharwood’s Chutney, Calcutta and London”. Still in production by Sharwood’s , one can sample one of the items on Fintry’s grocery list.

With the relaxing of Covid restrictions, we look forward to re-opening the Red Room, and being able to give visitors the much-desired look into the whisky cellar.   “Enjoy Responsibly”!”

At this time, I would like to inform everyone that The Friends of Fintry will be holding their AGM on Saturday, August 21st, 10 a.m. at the Manor House. Mark your calendars, come and meet the Board members and our students and stay for a tour!

‘Til next month….stay cool and stay safe,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

The Octagon – June, 2021

Greetings all….

Finally, we are seeing a glimmer of hope in these difficult days as more and more people get vaccinated; restrictions are gradually lifting and people are tentatively expanding their social circles.

We look forward to being able to start tours again at the Manor House (with Covid protocols same as last year) opening weekends starting 19th June and then four days a week in July and August when we have our students on board. This year we will have a new room for viewing (Dun-Waters’ master suite) as well as several new artefacts, one of which our Curator Dan Bruce will talk about (see below).

We would like to thank all our members who have renewed their membership for 2021/22. Your continued support of the Friends of Fintry is crucial at this time of reduced tour hours and bodies through the Manor House. There is of course still time to renew or become a member of the Friends of Fintry, just check out our web-site at for more information. On Saturday, June 12th we will be having our annual Spring clean-up at the Manor House starting at 11:00 a.m. so if any members want to come and join us, you will be more than welcome.

I would like to thank one of our newer members, Sue Cseh for her wonderful contributions, stories and photos that she has been adding to the Fintry Estate Facebook page. From bears to hummingbirds, as well as the flora and fauna of the area, she brings to life much of the interesting facets that the Estate and the Fintry Provincial Park offers our visitors.

Following is some very interesting information on a beautiful Turtle shell donated to Fintry by Jim Dawson.

When next you visit the Manor House be sure to look for this beautiful piece as well as some other treasures which have been added over these past months.

The Friends of Fintry members have been doing well in the way of awards recently. First our Curator Dan Bruce received the Heritage B.C. Honour Award in the Lifetime Achievement category and we just received word this past month our own historian and Director Paul Koroscil will be receiving a Certificate of Recognition from the B.C. Historical Federation for his life’s work promoting not only Fintry but numerous areas in BC. (Because of Covid regulations this presentation will be done virtually on Saturday evening.)  Congratulations to you both for all your accomplishments over the years and for promoting British Columbia’s diverse history.

Now for some very interesting information on our latest acquisition……the beautiful Green Turtle shell.

“The photo shows Jim Dawson and Curator Dan Bruce attending a small outdoor gathering of eight people, some of Gretchen’s close associates that was arranged in her memory in the gardens at Guisachan House in Kelowna.  Jim had just presented the turtle shell to Fintry that hung on Gretchen’s wall for many years, a souvenir of her early life in Trinidad.

Fossil sea turtles, contemporary with the dinosaurs grew to huge size, Archelon for example is estimated to have weighed around 6,000 pounds, (2,700 Kgs.)   Today, the sea turtles are represented by seven much smaller species, Fintry’s shell being that of the Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas.  This and the other species range throughout the world’s tropical seas, excepting the Flatback, which is restricted to the northern coasts of Australia. The largest living species is the Leatherback, which has been recorded on rare occasions off the coast of BC.

The Green Turtle has been exploited by humans for centuries, and together with the rest of the sea turtles, has now joined the list of endangered species. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the ships of the world’s navies collected these creatures as a source of fresh meat for the crews, as turtles could be kept alive on board for weeks.  Green Turtle was also the chief ingredient in the turtle soup traditionally on the banquet menu of the Lord Mayor and Corporation of the City of London.  The beautiful, mottled translucent material used to make combs, mirror-cases, snuff boxes etc. called ‘tortoise shell’ in fact comes from the Hawksbill Turtle, and not from the land-living tortoise.  (On land, Tortoise, in fresh water, Terrapin, and in the sea, Turtle).     Demand of this has caused the Hawksbill to be hunted wherever it could be found, but well-made plastic imitation is now available, and this seems to have reduced the threat to the Hawksbill’s survival.

Several scientists have specialized in the study of these marine reptiles, but still many aspects of their biology and behaviour remain mysterious.   Gretchen’s shell having just arrived does not yet have a certain location in the Manor House, but we will make sure that this season visitors will be able to see it.  Once very common, and now very rare, we are privileged to be able to show this to our guests.

In addition to the Chelonia shell, those visiting Fintry this season will be able to include the Main Bedroom in their tour. This has not been open before, but now is, and features a 1930’s bedroom suite, originally from the Hudson’s Bay Co. in Vancouver, the gift of Dave Richmond of BC Parks.”

‘Til next month….stay safe,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

The Octagon – May 2021

Greetings all….

Spring has sprung, the birds are singing and the hummingbirds have returned…..don’t you just  love Mother Nature when all her buds and blooms are unfurling. My garden is definitely my happy place, a place to recharge and just be….. midst the constant barrage of pandemic news and tragedies in the world.

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Gretchen Dawson this past weekend. Gretchen was a Board member for many years, looking after Memberships and even after she retired from the Board, she and her husband Jim continued their unwavering support of the Friends of Fintry.  Our condolences go to Jim and the family at this very sad time.

Gretchen Dawson

As more and more people get vaccinated, we are looking forward to some sort of normalcy in our little corner of the world. We hope to be able to open for tours of the Manor House and Barn mid-June with much the same Covid protocols as last year. Unfortunately, no Fintry Spring Fair this year, probably no July Fair but we are hoping that our September Fair will become a reality. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit our website and click on “virtual tours” for a look inside the Manor House hosted by our Curator Dan Bruce.            

It is Membership Renewal time again. Your membership with the Friends of Fintry runs from May 1st to April 30th each year. In normal times many people would renew at our Spring Fair in May but since this will not be happening (again, this year) we ask that you renew through our website at or send a cheque to Friends of Fintry, c/o 4320 Crystal Drive, Vernon, B.C. V1T 8V5. Our membership fees remain the same, $20 single, $35 couple. Your membership is important to the Friends as it supports the Society in our work; demonstrates to BC Parks and the Regional District of Central Okanagan and other funding agencies the broad-based support that our Society truly does enjoy.

We were delighted to hear that we will be receiving funding for two students through Canada Summer Jobs. Having students assist with tours of the Manor House and Barn certainly takes a load of our hard-working volunteers. It also gives those students hands-on experience in museum/heritage site work and research pertaining to the history of the Fintry Estate.

Our Curator Dan Bruce has been busy searching for and finally obtaining a beautiful orchid print which will hang in the Fintry Manor House in memory of one of our founding members, Ken Waldon, an orchid enthusiast. Following is more information about this print.

“As was mentioned in the last issue of The Octagon, the orchid print acquired to be a memorial to Ken Waldon has now arrived, and has been framed.  Visitors will be able to see it in the living room as and when we are able to open for tours this season.

Many people have shown their appreciation of Ken and the vision that he and his wife Jan had in establishing the Fintry Estate as a unique historic and cultural asset for the Okanagan valley, and all of British Columbia.  Firstly, we thank Elisabeth Burdon of Old Imprints Ltd, in Portland, Oregon for ensuring that the print required was available, and within our means. Her expert packaging meant that it survived an “oups” event while en route.  An anonymous donor covered the cost of framing, and our friends at Picture Perfect in Kelowna persuaded their materials supplier, Larson-Juhl of Vancouver to donate the framing molding. Linda and her team, Neil and Eileen put the whole thing together in a very short time, so that the final result could be shown to Jan before being taken to Fintry.

The print is from the Robert Warner and Benjamin Williams publication, ” Select Orchidaceous Plants ” essentially a very deluxe guide to the best of the orchids that were available to gardeners in the mid- 19th century, the peak of what could be called ‘orchid fever’. The famous Scottish botanical illustrator, Walter Hood Fitch was commissioned to produce the coloured lithographs for the book, which he did with his well renowned skill. The publication date was 1862 and the London firm of Vincent Brooks was responsible for the actual printing.   It should be pointed out that Old Imprints is not one of those dealers that cut plates from antique books to sell separately. Loose plates become only available if a book has been badly damaged beyond reasonable repair.

Jan Waldon holding the framed print

Ken Waldon would have had much to say about the cultivation of this particular orchid, Aerides nobile, now known as Aerides odorata  It is a giant among orchids, and a native of South-east Asia, including the forests of Myanmar, (where Ken and Jan did volunteer work some years ago).  Ken did not have this one, but those that he was growing are now being cared for by Don Burnett in his new greenhouse in Kelowna.

This print reminds us that Ken was an orchid enthusiast, but he was by no means limited in his interests. His life touched a great many, near and far.”

Stay safe everyone…the end of this challenging time is in sight.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – April, 2021

Happy Spring everyone!

The crocuses are blooming, the birds are singing and the earth is awakening after this long and difficult winter. Brighter days are ahead and soon this whole pandemic will be in our rear view mirror and we’ll be saying “remember when…..”!

The awakening of the Fintry Manor House in readiness for our 2021 season will soon be taking place once the weather warms up.  Our troupe of hardy volunteers armed with vacuums, buckets, mops and dusters will descend on the house and get everything spic and span for viewing once again. There will be some new additions this year, a whole new room, some new and interesting artefacts and of course the beautiful Walter Fitch print in memory of one of the Friends of Fintry founders, Ken Waldon.

We were delighted to hear from Heritage BC that our Curator Dan Bruce will be the recipient of an Honour award in the Lifetime Achievement category.  This year because of COVID the recipients will be featured in the BC Heritage virtual conference in May. Dan is well deserving of this award for his dedication and contributions to heritage not only at Fintry but nationally and internationally over the past fifty years.  Way to go Dan!

And now, here is Dan’s latest snippet of fascinating information…….

The Shaggy Dog story

There is a new dog at Fintry. His name might be ‘Willoughby’ but that is still open to question. He will be found wherever he was put and told to stay, because he is a cast iron doorstop. Made sometime around 1935, probably by the Hubley Company in the United States, Willoughby is a Fox Terrier, a breed that has a long history in Britain, and one that James Dun-Waters knew well.     The framed photograph of ‘Vic’ in the Manor House is a Fox Terrier that presumably was an esteemed pet in the Waters’ household.

Willoughby has been in my family since 1957 or 1958. He came as a gift from Francis Cary Willoughby, who was living in Jamaica at the time my parents moved to the island from the UK in 1954. Francis Cary Willoughby was a remittance man, and his remittance was adequate for him to enjoy a life of leisure in the West Indies.   He owned property on the north coast of Jamaica, not far from Ocho Rios where he built a large house which he named ‘Cary Island’. There was a small rocky islet just off-shore, and he built a bridge for access to it. No sandy beach, just limestone rocks straight into the sea. (An advantage, as erosion during hurricanes was minimal).

As a small child I remember him taking my family to see the place, at that time abandoned, for reasons that I cannot explain.  The gardens were overgrown, but still were home to a flock of peacocks, and a herd of local goats were using the main living room as an evening shelter. The large stone fireplace was their cool spot during the heat of the day. Stone swans with raised wings stood atop the gateposts beside the main road along the coast. Cary Island has survived. It is now a luxurious resort. . .see  The resort spells the name with an  ‘e’  but in fact Cary is the correct spelling, taken from his signature in two books, once his property and now in my library.  A look at the beautifully restored house will remind our members of the architectural style of the Gatehouse at Fintry.

The doorstop has done duty during our time in Jamaica, and after returning to England, came to Canada in 1985. It being exactly the kind of item that would have attracted James Dun-Waters’ attention, I had been on the lookout for a replacement so that I could hand Willoughby over to Fintry.    A very heavy lignum-vitae wood sculpture of Bob Marley took his place.”

End of Shaggy Dog Story

In preparing for a second set of lectures for the Society for Learning in Retirement (SLR),  Dan has chosen ‘Dogs’ as one of the topics.  It seems that the earliest instance of a non-human creature to be given a personal name was, not surprisingly, in Egypt. Just over 3,000 B.C. the Pharaoh Den of the First Dynasty had a much-loved dog named ‘Nub’, perhaps best translated as ‘Goldie’. He was provided with his own funerary monument on which his name was spelled out, thus in his owner’s belief, granting him eternal life.  The dogs that enjoyed life at Fintry continued a very ancient tradition indeed.

Stay safe everyone…the end of this challenging time is in sight.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – March, 2021

Greetings all,

As we March into Spring, we are looking forward to longer and brighter days ahead.  Snowdrops have emerged in my garden, various other bulbs are poking through the soil and the birds are increasing their chatter…… all the usual signs of a new beginning.  We humans are also looking forward to a new beginning. As we wait for that jab in the arm, (despite the fact that the goal posts keep moving), we must continue to do what we have been doing to stay safe! We will get there eventually.

All this uncertainty makes planning for our 2021 season very difficult, but we are hopeful we can open in a similar fashion to last year with Covid-19 protocols in place and with self-guided tours of the barn and Manor House. Unfortunately our Fairs will not be taking place again this year with perhaps the exception of the September one…..fingers crossed!

We were very sorry to hear of the sudden passing of one of the Friends of Fintry’s founding members, Ken Waldon, on February 6th. Ken was well-known throughout the valley serving on many Boards and had a Lifetime membership in the Friends of Fintry.  Together with his wife Jan, he was awarded the 2008 Central Okanagan Heritage Society Award. In 2011 he and Jan were named Vernon’s Citizens of the Year; they received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteerism in 2019 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2020.  A virtual service will be available live online on March 6th, at 2 p.m. from All Saints Anglican Church. In Ken’s memory, and acknowledging his interest in growing orchids, the Friends of Fintry plan to have a framed print of an orchid, by renowned artist Walter Hood Fitch, as a memorial plaque to hang in the Fintry Manor House. More on this later.

Our Curator and now lecturer Dan Bruce has been busy “Zooming” around bringing some interesting historical info to those wishing to expand their knowledge in retirement.

A few words from Dan:

The Society for Learning in Retirement, (SLR) was essentially brought to a complete standstill when the Covid virus arrived, but it is now recovering and functioning remotely. With the help of Dr. John Birch, we have been able to re-instate our lecture series to the SLR via Zoom. We decided to try this out and see if it could be expanded to a wider audience.  Prior to Covid, I had prepared a set of five illustrated lectures on the domestication of cattle, but for the Zoom trial, I cut this down to two sessions of two hours each. Things went very well once I had adjusted the lighting in the “lecture hall” and determined the best place to stand so as to be seen, and be able to show pictures and objects to the audience.   One big advantage to doing this with Zoom is that nobody has to get up and drive out through whatever the weather decides to do. Most people are definitely OK with this!

The two talks introduced the main types and breeds of cattle worldwide, and ended with a close look at the Ayrshire dairy operation as it was at Fintry.    The paintings in the cave at Lascaux in France made it clear that 20,000 years ago the wild cattle of Europe impressed our ancestors. Domestication led to food production, directly and indirectly, and social mobility as cattle integrated with, and in many cases controlled human cultures.

Another opportunity to keep Fintry available yet without physical contact is being provided by Don Burnett. He has made it possible for me to adapt the Scottish Botanists exhibit for presentation on the radio. Each Saturday the Garden Show airs between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on  AM 11.50, and I have about fifteen minutes to give some detailed and interesting facts about the various Scottish men and women who were involved in some form of Horticulture. So far, we have featured David Douglas, Archibald Menzies, Sir Ghillean Prance, Walter Fitch, (of whom more in a future Octagon) and Kelowna’s own Alastair Beddie.   Bob Kingsmill very kindly agreed to go on the air and celebrate Alastair’s considerable gardening achievement on El Dorado Road in Okanagan Mission.

We do appreciate the many ways in which Don Burnett has contributed to the Fintry operation over the years.”

For those intrepid campers out there, keep in mind that camping reservations at BC Parks opens up on March 8th.    For more details about the reservation system for this year go to:

Stay safe everyone…help is on the way,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park