Category Archives: News

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!

Fall Fair Fun

Despite the ominous forecast, it turned out to be a fantastic day for the Fintry Fall Fair. We had sunshine, Vikings, the Kalamalka Highlanders and a varied selection of singers entertaining us from the verandah. The Manor House had a constant stream of visitors taking tours and learning a little about the history of Dun-Waters and I believe a lot of fun was had by everyone!  Guided tours of the Manor House are still available every Saturday and Sunday afternoon until Thanksgiving…….so bring your friends and family and learn about the early history of this little corner of the province.

The Octagon for September, 2018

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park
The Octagon – September, 2018
The arrival of September has brought some decidedly cooler temperatures and thankfully some clearer skies. Kids are back to school and college and routines are back to a sense of normalcy once again!
As is normal for the Friends of Fintry, we are once again preparing for our last Fair of the year…..our Fintry Fall Fair…… which will be taking place on Sunday, September 16th with a wonderful new line-up of great musicians, some new vendors and the return of the Vikings as well as the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band. Attached is the line-up of performers so you can gauge your visit according to what you want to see and hear! Of course Manor House tours will be running all day so if you haven’t visited lately this would be the day to come. Remember we now have a fantastic new ramp (thank you BC Parks) so the Manor House is wheelchair accessible.
In the middle of August we welcomed a group of seniors from a Kelowna Care Home. They were very grateful to have this ramp which enabled those with wheelchairs and walkers to come into the Manor House to view and learn the history of the Dun-Waters era. They enjoyed a picnic on the veranda before the tour and I know they enjoyed reminiscing over some of the artifacts from this bygone time, but which they remembered using as youngsters. We always enjoy hearing their stories!

As mentioned in the August Octagon, our very special guest from Fintry, Stirlingshire, Scotland came to “our” Fintry for a visit. He is a historian from the museum there and was very interested to make the connection and see what Dun-Waters had developed over here. Dun-Waters early years were spent in Fintry, Scotland and when he arrived here in 1909 and saw the delta and the surrounding hills it reminded him so much of his homeland that he called this place Fintry. It is wonderful to now have a contact in Scotland that we can share info with and ask questions of, to fill in the gaps of our Dun-Waters knowledge.

Following is an item of historical interest from our Curator, Dan Bruce:
Visitors to the Fall Fair on September 16th who take the tour of the Manor House will be able to see one of Fintry’s “hidden treasures”. This is a very good example of a Navajo blanket which was in fact a part of the original furnishing of the house. It came back to Fintry through the generosity of Rod and Karen Stuart, who have been diligent in assisting with the return of such Fintry items that they have inherited.
Travel brochures in the collection suggest that at some point, the Dun-Waters might have taken a trip to the south-western USA, where he could have purchased the blanket, but that is just a conjecture. Such things were available in a number of places, as they still are today. In any event, this blanket is in mint condition, and shows the deep red and purple colours that were used to dye the wool that the Navajo produced from their own breed of sheep. The blanket is normally kept in its own storage case, and will be exhibited for the first time on the day of the Fall Fair, in the bedroom beside Mrs. Dun-Waters’ sitting room.

We certainly hope you can come join us at the Fall Fair on Sunday, September 16th .
A special note…..if you renew your membership at the Fair it is valid until April 30, 2020!

Kathy Drew, President,
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

The Octagon – newsletter

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park
The Octagon – August 2018
I hope this finds you all enjoying this beautiful summer, albeit a bit too hot for some of us!
Our annual Fintry Fair, held on July 15th was very successful with some new participants (vendors and performers) and despite the heat of the day I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
Triskele, the Celtic singers from West Kelowna, were a new and welcome addition and the Vernon Scottish Country Dancers performed a few lively reels on the lawn of the Manor House to a most appreciative crowd and the Kalamalka Highlanders entertained in their full regalia. I think Dun-Waters would have been proud!
Our next and last Fair of the year is on Sunday, September 16th so mark your calendars and plan to attend. More info regarding entertainers and vendors will be available in the September Octagon.

At the July Summer Fair, our curator Dan Bruce, unveiled the portrait of Ben Lee, past Kelowna City Councillor who was instrumental in having Fintry named as a Provincial Park.

     Dan Bruce, Eain Lamont and John Lee

Our Education Outreach coordinator, Gwendy Lamont along with Dan Bruce were invited to Mission Creek Landing Senior’s facility on July 23rd and they gave an outstanding presentation on Fintry, as well as having a “hands-on” with artifacts from Fintry. By all accounts it was well received and they have been invited back next year.

On a similar topic we are looking forward to a visit from the Good Samaritan Mountainview Village in Kelowna on the 22nd August. They will be coming to the Fintry Manor House for a picnic followed by a tour. We always enjoy reminiscing with our seniors and seeing their reaction to some of the artifacts which they remember using in their earlier years.

We are also looking forward to a visit on August 24th from a gentleman from Fintry, Stirlingshire in Scotland. He is setting up a small museum in “his” Fintry and is interested in featuring how “our” Fintry was established. How exciting to be able to join hands across the water. Will update you on this visit in the September Octagon.

Now an item of historical interest from curator, Dan Bruce…….
Next time you’re in the Manor House, have a good look at the framed print hanging on the west wall of the living-room, just below the staircase. It is a scene in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, a once fashionable venue in London for outdoor entertainment of all kinds. Established in 1785, it was noted as a place for romantic meetings, and a variety of more public events, including a re-enactment of the battle of Waterloo, held in 1817 in which over a thousand soldiers took part.

The original drawing from which this early 19th Century print was made is by Thomas Rowlandson, a prolific and popular artist of his day. Vauxhall was closed down in 1859, but in very recent times it has been partially restored and re-opened as a park in 2012.

The print was donated to Fintry by the late Jennifer Hindle, who also presented the set of six hunting prints in the dining room, the work of Cecil Aldin. The Aldin prints used to hang in Kelowna’s El Dorado Hotel.

At this point I would like to invite you to give some consideration to joining the Friends of Fintry Board of Directors. As with any organization, there is always a core group of people who help out with our objectives and the running of events. As the years go by and life happens the load becomes rather onerous on this group. If you would like to have a say in the running of this heritage organization, and would like to apply, please contact either myself at 250-542-4139 or Dan Bruce at 250-766-2081.

Kathy Drew, President,
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

Fun at the Fair

The Fintry Summer Fair held on July 15th was another very successful event with dancers, singers, bagpipers and more. The Manor House was busy with a constant stream of visitors taking tours of the various rooms. The children’s activity area was very popular with all kinds of old-fashioned games and races keeping the youngsters entertained. It was hot, hot, hot……… but there was enough shade under the big trees to stay comfortable.

In the new video room (now known as the Ben Lee Room) Dan Bruce unveiled a portrait of Ben Lee, who was instrumental in having Fintry named as a Provincial Park. In attendance was his son, John Lee as well as Eain Lamont who was a City Councillor at the same time as Ben Lee.

Dan Bruce, Eain Lamont and John Lee

Pewter Plate for 25 cents?

Pewter Ware was in common use (for thousands of years) until the early 19th century.  In fact it wasn’t until the reign of Charles II that silver plates became fashionable.

About 25 years ago one of our board members, Rosemary, bought this pewter plate at a garage sale for 25 cents thinking it would be perfect to use under a house plant.  It served this purpose for quite a while before being replaced with a less ‘rough’ looking substitute.

In Rosemary’s words:

“I came across it (the plate) recently and decided to show it to Dan Bruce, our Curator for Fintry Manor House.  He asked if he could keep it and saying “Yes” he explained it’s history. The letters stamped on the rim identify the owner. The plate would be kept on a rack behind a Pub bar.  I understand this would be the same for a beer mug.  When the owner came in for lunch or a meal he had his own utensils.  This plate goes back to the ’17th’ Century.”

It makes you wonder about the owner and all those meals he enjoyed at his local pub.  It also makes you wonder what treasures might be found a garage sale near you!

 

Unlock Your Potential

Just over 20 years ago a group of people concerned with the preservation of the Fintry Heritage Site (including the Manor House, Octagonal Barn & Packing House) worked together to make their dream a reality.  Each person brought their own experience and strengths to the table.  Because of their dedication the province of BC in conjunction with the Central Okanagan regional District, purchased the 360 hectare Fintry Estate.

Since that time the Manor House has been repaired, restored and refurnished.  Today visitors are transported back in time to learn the unique history of the Laird of Fintry (Captain Dun-Waters).

Over the past year a new prep kitchen (to be used for weddings, family reunions etc.) has been built along with a caretaker’s suite & housing for two summer students.

The Friends of Fintry are looking for people who would like to continue that dream as a member of the board of directors.   If you  think you would like to be part of Fintry’s history going forward please send an email to [email protected]

All you need to bring to the table is a desire to preserve history for future generations.

Thank you for your consideration.

Email – [email protected]

 

Improvements to the Manor House

Took a quick trip to Fintry today to see how the renovations are progressing.  The Manor House isn’t open for tours during the winter months but there was certainly lots going on.  What a difference!

The kitchen, which was formerly part of a suite that had been rented out to caretakers, has been transformed.  The large space now has a prep kitchen (for big events such as weddings) as well as a seating area where visitors can enjoy a short movie about Fintry before beginning their tour of the house.

Prep. kitchen

The upstairs, probably only used for storage during Dun-Waters time, now has two bedrooms for summer students, a caretaker’s suite, an office for our Executive Director, storage area and a large room which will be used for Board meetings.

Caretaker’s kitchen
Caretaker’s living area
Meeting room

Part of the renovations include the Laird’s bedroom.  This once inaccessible room is almost ready to become part of the Manor House tours.

Before leaving Fintry we took a break to climb up the stairs by the falls.  The thundering sound of cascading water at Short’s Creek Falls is always so powerful this time of year.  The Spring thaw is beginning….

Short’s Creek Falls