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The Octagon – November, 2022

Greetings Friends,

Another season has come and gone and as we look back on all that we accomplished this year, I feel we did quite well despite having no students to assist with summer tours. Our team of volunteers went above and beyond to ensure that the Manor House was open every weekend for tours and in addition to our Fairs, we were able to hold a couple of extra musical events thanks to federal funding that we were able to secure. Our only regret was not being able to open the barns for tours this year as we were so short staffed. Unfortunately, in the past month vandals have destroyed several of the windows in the Octagonal barn and gained access to both barns. A police report has been filed and we are in discussions with BC Parks as to next steps.  It would be devastating to lose these historic structures.

The Park is now closed for the season and the Manor House winterized. We also have caretakers living upstairs which gives us a sense of security during these long winter months.

As many of you know I was in the UK from mid to September to mid October and while there I arranged to meet with various members of the Fintry Museum Society in Fintry, Scotland. Following is a brief outline of my visit to this historic place where Dun-Waters grew up before moving to England and ultimately to Canada.

Fintry, Scotland is nestled between the Campsie Fells and the Fintry Hills in the heart of Scotland, about an hour’s drive from Glasgow. As we approached the village, (population 600) the views of the rolling hills, where sheep were grazing peacefully, were serene and beautiful. The village itself consists mostly of one main street with many very old buildings (including a pub) that has stood there since 1750. People have lived in Fintry for over 4000 years.

I had arranged to meet at the Fintry Museum with David Smith, who has visited our Fintry. Along with David were local historians Hugh Edmond and Meg Duckworth. Hugh Edmond is a founding member and Treasurer of the Fintry Museum Society, and the Fintry Museum is also named the “Edmond Gallery” as a tribute to him. Hugh has been a Fintry lad all his days and is the last in his family still living here after over 500 years of a continuous Fintry family line.  There is no other known Fintronian, present nor ever in the past, who can make the same claim.

Historian Hugh Edmond MBE, beside present day Fintry pic.

The museum just opened last November after the Sports Club offered ground space for the historical society to build the interpretation centre, (adjoining the Sports Club.)  The community rallied around and in no time £100,000 was raised and the building erected. Their museum contains information boards explaining the history of Fintry, including one board which has our Fintry Manor House, showing the connection with Canada. There are no artifacts yet but this could change as archaeological digs take place and discoveries are made.  The Sports Club has a huge indoor area (the size of a football pitch), where various sports including squash and lawn bowling all take place. For weddings and ceilidhs, a wooden floor is put down over the artificial turf. It is the heart of the community as it also has a small store and restaurant with some of the seating within the museum area.

One of the information boards at the Museum. Fintry Manor House bottom left.

As the weather was changing and rain forecast, (this was Scotland after all), it was decided that we go first to the Mausoleum hidden up in a woody hillside on an estate owned by a rather eccentric gentleman!  This estate was owned in the 18th century by William Dun, J.C. Dun-waters’ father. He built a castle (Craigton House) see above information board…….. with extensive stables but never lived in it, preferring to live closer to the village in a smaller house. The castle has since been demolished and the stables now converted into a beautiful house in which this eccentric gentleman lives with his five cocker spaniels. (He is a hunting and fishing guide and the dogs are all trained to the gun).

 Converted stables

After donning welly boots we trudged along a track, jumped across a ditch and climbed up a wooded and muddy hill (with this eccentric gentleman and his five cocker spaniels)! We eventually came to this surreal little building, and after shouldering open the door were led into the mausoleum where William Dun lies in this massive stone and iron above-ground crypt. We were in almost total darkness as the two tiny windows did not let in much light. There were other small crypts below the floor on either side of his (one with the lid partially moved off). Nothing inside was visible!

The Mausoleum hidden away in the woods

In order to take photos we all had to turn on the flashlights on our phones!

After we trudged down the hill and returned to the Museum, we had lunch. Unfortunately, another member of the Society (who is coming to our Fintry next year) came while we are at the Mausoleum, could not stay and we missed seeing her. After lunch and a photo shoot, Hugh took us to the 800-year-old Fintry Kirk and gravesite. Hugh (83 years old, rings the church bell every Sunday)!

Hugh and David were delighted with the bottle of Okanagan Spirits’ the Laird of Fintry whisky that I presented to them and said once emptied it would be filled with tea and put on display in the Museum!

Inside the church

                                                     

Note: Bottom says window erected by William Dun’s sisters

In the graveyard outside the church…

I hope you enjoyed this little journey back in time which gives a glimpse into Dun-Waters’ life before he emigrated to Canada.

‘Til next month,

Stay warm, stay safe,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

The Octagon – October, 2022

Greetings to all !!  As you can see, we have photographic evidence that our esteemed President is on a well-deserved leave in Scotland, having arrived in the UK in time to lay a wreath in Hyde Park on Monday the 19th of September.

When the Kath’s away, the mith will play

On Saturday, September 3rd. we hosted the second part of the Musical Entertainment program, compliments of the Federal Government.  This was a performance by the brother and sister duo, Alex and Emily MacArthur.

The Fintry Fall Fair took place on September 11th, as usual, on the Manor lawn, and once again we were treated to the performances of the Kalamalka Highlanders and the Vernon Girls Trumpet Band. The Fair had considerable competition this year, as it was close to the end of the IPE in Armstrong, and on the same week-end there was a two day fair in Salmon Arm.  In the coming year we will be adjusting our dates so that our last fair of the year will take place before the Labour Day week-end, when a significant change in visitor attendance takes place.

Kudos to BC Parks for the much- improved parking arrangement close to the Barn Complex. Here the big introductory sign created by Jan Waldon has stood for twenty years, and has now been re-located, cleaned and fitted with a new piece of Plexiglas.  Thanks to the assistance of BC Parks Ranger, Isaac Gilbert and Chris Thorsteinsson of Kelowna, the removal and re-installation of the sign was  a smooth move. Thanks also to Jason Satterthwaite and son Aiden for repairing the removable railing section at the Manor that enables part of the veranda to become a stage for music etc. during the Fairs.

On September 20th, our Curator gave the first of the season’s Brown Bag Lecture Series at the Penticton Museum.   ” Queen Nefertiti: Egypt’s Beautiful Enigma”  was illustrated by slides and Fintry’s own Berlin Museum replica of the famous portrait.

Now, a quick peek into the animal world of the Trophy Room.

In the southwest corner of the Trophy Room is the mounted head of a male Muntjac deer, a specimen that always gets attention, particularly of children. They ask about the “deer with fangs”, correctly noticing the apparent contradiction of an herbivore with teeth more often associated with a carnivore.  There are perhaps 121 species of Muntjac deer, all natives of Southeast Asia.  Two of these have only relatively recently been discovered in the forests of Vietnam (1984 and 1997).

Muntjac deer, Fintry collections


The specimen at Fintry is Reeve’s Muntjac, from southern China and Taiwan.  Also known as the “Barking Deer” from the fact that they make loud barking noises when alarmed or when they need to communicate with each other in dark and thickly-forested areas.

There are several other species of deer in the same geographical area that share the unusual feature of very visible fangs.  Biologists are not always forthcoming with confidence when asked to explain the development of these teeth, but there is agreement that the males of these species are aggressively territorial, and use their teeth in battles with rivals.  They have also been seen to use the teeth to strip the bark off small trees to get access to the sap.  Reeve’s Muntjac has been introduced to England and parts of Ireland, where they have become somewhat of a pest.  Adept at fence-crawling, these small deer can penetrate a well-guarded vegetable garden after dark, leaving a shambles to greet the gardener in the morning. 

The Musk Deer is another of the “fanged deer” of Southeast Asia.  The males of that species have a gland that secretes a waxy substance that is used in the making of high quality perfumes and soap, as well as playing a leading role in traditional Chinese medicine.  It is said to be the most expensive animal product in the world, with a quoted price in 1985 of $45,000 per Kg.  It is surprising that the Musk Deer is still not extinct. 

Dan Bruce, Curator

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – September, 2022

Greetings all….

As we cruise through the last vestiges of summer we have been fortunate that despite the ongoing heat, forest fires have not disrupted our lives this year. However, with not having received our usual grant for summer students we regrettably have only been able to be open weekends with our volunteers taking turns giving the Manor House tours.

I hope many of you were able to enjoy the Okanagan Symphony Pocket Orchestra when they played on the Manor House deck at the beginning of August. Over 200 people came out and enjoyed two hours of incredible music. Lawn chairs and blankets were spread out all around the perimeter of the lawn as people grabbed every little piece of shade available.  We are delighted to be able to hold a second musical afternoon at Fintry to be held on the lawn of the Manor House on Saturday, September 3rd between 4 and 6 pm. This free event features the beautiful voice of Emily MacArthur with her brother Alex, on keyboard. This duo entertained us during our Fintry Fusion Art Show in June and their renditions of “Hallelujah” and “Cabaret” were an absolute delight. They play everything from Beethoven to Broadway. So, come on down, bring a blanket or a lawn-chair and a picnic and prepare to be transported to another world with their delightful melodies. Both these events courtesy of the Government of Canada.

On Sunday September 11th we will be holding our Fintry Fall Fair on the grounds of the Manor House. Once again, lots of vendors, the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band and the Vernon Girls Trumpet Band are in the lineup to entertain you. Food trucks, Ice cream, face painting, 50/50 draws and kids’ activities all ensure a jam-packed day of entertainment.

At the beginning of August, the Lee family through the Ben Lee Legacy Fund (Central Okanagan Foundation) donated $5000 to the Friends of Fintry. For those who have visited the Manor House you will be familiar with the room where we show our introductory video and that has Ben Lee’s picture on the wall. Ben Lee was an incredible man, committed to preserving culture and instrumental in Fintry becoming a Provincial Park. We are very grateful for this donation. With us not obtaining student grants etc. it will certainly be put to good use.

Lee family with Dan and Kathy

Following is another little piece of history which Dan Bruce has unearthed (courtesy of Rod Stuart) and is rather interesting…….

“Last month I made a passing reference to the postal service that kept Fintry in touch with the world before the days of hand-held ‘reality’ and the internet. We have an empty envelope in the collection that came through that system.

The heavy brown paper envelope has an embossed stamp on the back flap, indicating that it was from the stationery supplies of the Royal Bank of Scotland.   The letter, addressed to Miss M. C. Stuart, Fintry, Okanagan Landing, British Columbia, Canada was sent by registered mail from London.  The registration stamp is intact, and the blue crayon cross-lines on front and back emphasize the point.    The actual postage stamp(s) have been removed long ago, taking the postmark date of mailing with them.   The back bears two additional and identical registration postmarks, dated 28th May, 1940, but the location at which those were applied is illegible in both cases.     Other postmarks are clear however, and we can backtrack this item to Winnipeg, on June 12th, 1940, then to Vernon on June 14th, where it was stamped as Duty Free by Vernon Customs.    The “KEL & SIC RPO mark was presumably added upon its arrival in Vernon, in care of the CPR.

The Royal Bank of Scotland sealed the envelope with three applications of the traditional red sealing wax, each one bearing the seal impression of the Bank’s London office.    At that time, the RBS was at number 3 Bishopsgate, London EC2, a site now occupied, it seems, by a branch of the HSBC.

(Also, on Bishopsgate is the church of St. Helen, where one can see the tomb brass set up in 1535 of which we have a rubbing, on the east wall in the Trophy Room. Sadly, the lady’s name has been lost.)

At this point, one can only speculate on what the contents of the envelope were, but given the 1940 date, perhaps something connected with James Dun-Waters will might be a reasonable guess.   The envelope survives thanks to the care that Rod and Karen Stuart took to keep family papers together, and bring them back to add to the Fintry collections.”

Don’t forget two important dates coming up, Saturday, September 3rd from 4-6 on the Manor House grounds….The MacArthur Duo and on Sunday, September 11th  10-4pm……the Fintry Fall Fair.

Hope to see you all there!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

The Octagon – August, 2022

Greetings all….

July has been a very busy month! We held our Fintry Summer Fair on July 10th, where we had a record 26 vendors, wonderful musicians entertaining us all day long, and although attendance was down due to so many other events that same weekend, everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. Our next event is this Saturday, August 6th from 4-6 pm, when the Okanagan Symphony Pocket Orchestra will be playing on the Manor House deck. The audience is invited to bring a lawn chair and picnic and listen to some wonderful music. Funding for this event courtesy of the Government of Canada.

On Sunday, September 11th we will be holding our Fintry Fall Fair on the grounds of the Manor House so mark your calendars. It is promising to be another great day with vendors, the Vernon Girls Trumpet Band and so much more!

This past week we were privileged to be a stopping place for the Military Police National Motorcycle Relay. They travel every year from coast to coast, travelling over 10,000 kms with stops along the way raising money for blind children. The group was delighted to have a tour of the Manor House and a swim in the lake….. because as you can imagine with all their gear in this heat, they were rather warm!

Also last week we were honoured to have a lady and her husband visit the Manor House on a trip down memory lane. Now living in California, this couple spent part of their honeymoon at the Manor House in 1955 and had the pictures to prove it! It was a lovely visit and we were delighted to give them a special tour while they reminisced about some of the features of the house which brought back many happy memories.

Curator Dan has been delving into some interesting history….

“Many of our visitors have had the impression that Fintry was a very remote and isolated place when the Dun-Waters lived here. From the Manor House, the lake is visible, but only from the dining room bay window, and almost all our guests arrive by road, so the isolation idea is not surprising.   However, the fact is that the lake was essentially the highway of the Valley in earlier times, the sternwheeler ships providing efficient and even luxurious transport.    The interconnection with the railway system opened easy access to and from Fintry for goods and passengers.

              The outside world doubtless was of continuing interest to the Dun-Waters and other residents of the Estate.  Newspapers were available, and we know that the ” Illustrated London News”. “Punch”, and the “National Geographic” were subscribed to, and these, over and above personal correspondence would have kept the Estate abreast of the times.

               The world went on beyond the Valley, and it is interesting to consider what was happening elsewhere while the daily chores of the Fintry Estate were being attended to.     In a previous Octagon issue, we gave a list of events with dates that were contemporary with the Dun-Waters era at Fintry.     

Recently I came across a biography of a very remarkable man who was a contemporary of James Dun-Waters (1864 – 1939).

              Rufus Daniel Isaacs (1860-1935) was born to Jewish parents in the east end of London. His father was a fruit merchant, and a successful one at that.    Of his two sons, Rufus was the one less easily managed, one might even say a young hooligan.    He left school at fourteen, and tried several avenues for a career, but found difficulty in staying with any one of them.   He had an episode of life at sea, and endured the harsh treatment of those junior members of merchant crews.  His ship left Calcutta to return to England after an extensive voyage, but nobody in India paid any attention to the departure of the lowly Rufus in 1877.    On his return however, in 1921, all eyes and ears turned towards Rufus as thirty-one guns fired a salute to him as the newly arriving Viceroy. In 1904 he became a Liberal Member of Parliament for Reading, (rhymes with ‘wedding’).    In 1910 he was knighted, and made Solicitor General. 

Rufus Isaac dressed in his Vice-regal robes in India
Rufus Isaac and second wife Stella

Six months later he was promoted as Attorney General.  He had taken his law studies seriously, and he presided at the trial of the murderer, Frederick Seddon, and the suffragette, Emily Pankhurst. He also sat on the Board of Inquiry into the “Titanic” disaster.

He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1911, yet his involvement with the Marconi Company shares scandal did not derail his career, though he did suffer some adverse publicity over what some accused him of, insider trading, but another promotion came his way: Lord Chief Justice of England.

1918 saw him in the United States as Special Envoy and British Ambassador, charged with gaining the financial support of the United States for the Allies, and this while still in office as Lord Chief Justice.     In 1921, perhaps while our James Dun-Waters was looking at hunting prospects in Alaska, Rufus Isaacs became Viceroy of India, a post also once held by Lord Willingdon, (portrait in the Manor House).      On his return to England in 1926 he became the only commoner since the Duke of Wellington to be elevated to a Marquisate, and the only Jew ever to have held such a position.

            From an unruly childhood with little formal education, Rufus Isaacs did well:  First Marquess of Reading, GCB, GCSI, GCVO, PC, with five peerages, five knighthoods, the Belgian Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and recipient of Honorary Degrees from the Universities of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Toronto, Calcutta, Cambridge and Oxford.

            Readers who recall the Octagon issue for March 2020, will be aware of the photograph in the Red Room of the John Hoppner painting of Richard Humphreys, the bare-knuckle boxer. The painting is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, but at one time belonged to Dun-Waters, and hung at Fintry.   It was the Jewish boxer, Daniel Mendoza that defeated Humphreys so decisively that it ended Humphreys’ career.   Rufus Daniel Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading Etc. Etc.  was Daniel Mendoza’s great nephew.

Simon Rufus Isaacs is the 4th Marquess of Reading, and is very much alive.

Don’t forget to come listen to some wonderful music from the Okanagan Symphony Pocket Orchestra this coming Saturday (August 6, from 4-6pm) on the front lawn of the Manor House.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – July, 2022

Greetings,

Summer has finally come to the Okanagan, and with it an influx of visitors to the area, many campers to the Fintry Provincial Park and loads of people touring the Manor House. Unfortunately, because we did not receive any funding from the Federal government through Canada Summer Jobs, we are unable to hire students to assist with tours and programming. We are therefore reaching out to anyone who would like to learn the history of the Fintry Estate and assist with giving tours throughout the summer. Our meagre supply of volunteers is struggling to keep the doors open on weekends, but come July we need to be open during the week as well. If anyone is interested helping out even one day a week, please contact me for more information at 250-309-7868.

On June 18/19 we held our first annual Fintry Fusion Art Show and what a resounding success it was! Ten local artists displayed their work throughout the Manor House; incredible musicians played their renditions on the deck and, judging by the amount of scones we baked, everyone seemed to love their Strawberry Cream Tea! The artists loved the location and have asked for this to become an annual event.

Our next big event is on Sunday July 10th, when we hold our Fintry Summer Fair on the front lawn of the Manor House. The Vernon Girls Trumpet Band will be strutting their stuff and 11 a.m. and the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band at noon, with other musicians playing throughout the day. Many vendors have already booked their space so bring your lawn chairs and plan for another fun day at Fintry. 

Saturday, July 16th at 10 a.m. we will be holding our Annual General Meeting at the Manor House. We invite all members to attend this very important meeting. If your membership has lapsed, renewals are available at the front desk as you come in. We still have room on the Board for new members, so do give this some consideration if you would like to join. Most of our meetings are now by Zoom making them so much easier for everyone to attend.

Dan Bruce now has a few words to say about a recent addition to the Manor House collection……

 Almost a year ago, our August 2021 Octagon had a feature about the Bighorn Sheep now frequently seen by travelers along Westside Road.    We had borrowed the bronze sculpture of two rams, by Werner Plangg from the Kelowna Museum, and brought the “Chris Oakes’ ram” skull out of the Trophy Room to draw visitors’ attention to the presence of the sheep and their history in this area.

 After their re-introduction and several years residence on the west side of the lake, it is gratifying to say that (as far as I know) there have been no bad experiences on the Westside Road, either for the sheep or motorists. A few sharp intakes of breath perhaps, but no worse.    These sheep also seem to have been spared the outbreaks of any of the diseases that have taken a toll of wild sheep populations in other parts of the province.

In June 2022, the Fintry Estate hosted what might well become the first annual art show and sale.   Very well attended in spite of the weather, ten local artists and their works, combined with Kathy Drew’s cream scones brought out the crowds.   Wendy Hart Penner exhibited a charcoal drawing of a Bighorn Ram, which was purchased by the Fintry Estate, as part of the permanent collection. This not only gave us the opportunity to act as the patron of local artistic talent, but celebrates the return of our faunal neighbors as the artist’s own words explain.     ” I encountered a herd of Mountain Sheep on Westside Road and quickly grabbed my camera to photograph them. The herd was peacefully resting on a slope just above Westside Road about 700 metres southwest of the Fintry Estate. They were very photogenic, so I crept up to them, and when I got too close for his comfort, the Ram of the herd struck the best ‘get-back stare’ pose ”     Wendy Hart Penner.

Ram Study 2018-10-30 ©WMHartPenner

The newly acquired drawing now hangs in the Ben Lee Room, I am sure, with the complete approval of James Dun-Waters.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – June, 2022

Greetings,

It is hard to believe that we are almost half-way through this year already and we are holding our collective breath that we have a more “normal” season with no heat domes, evacuations, or pandemics.

We were very disappointed to hear that we will not be getting any funding this year from the Federal government through Canada Summer Jobs, and consequently are unable to hire students to assist with tours and programming. We are therefore reaching out to anyone who would like to learn the history of the Fintry Estate and assist with giving tours throughout the summer. Our meagre supply of volunteers is struggling to keep the doors open on weekends, but come July we need to be open during the week as well. If anyone is interested helping out even one day a week, please contact me for more information at 250-309-7868.

On May 8th we held our annual Spring Fintry Fair and were delighted with the attendance. A big thank you to all our volunteers and Board Members who made the day a huge success. We had a great variety of vendors and musicians, also the Kalamalka Pipe Band and Kilt 45 who entertained us with some resounding renditions.

Our next event is the Fintry Fusion Art Show to be held on June 18/19 (10:00 a.m. – 4 :00 pm both days) with art from about 10 local artists displayed (and for sale) throughout the Manor House. The artists will be on hand and there will be demonstrations as well as live music……..and a strawberry cream tea available!

Another couple of important dates to mark on your calendars is Sunday, July 10th when we will be holding our Summer Fair on the lawn of the Manor House and Saturday, July 16th when we will be holding our Annual General Meeting at the Manor House.

Our Curator, Dan Bruce has an interesting and unusual addition to our collection that he would like to talk about….

The nights are cool, and I’m a fool, 

Each star’s a pool of water . . .

Iced water seldom makes an appearance in English households.  However, after the Dun-Waters had settled and experienced an Okanagan summer, the North American penchant for cool water would most likely have been accepted readily.

Bob Nolan was a Canadian songwriter who essentially became an American actor, singer and author. A founding member of The Sons of The Pioneers, he was born in Winnipeg, in 1908.   Of the dozens of songs he wrote, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Cool Water” were certainly the best known.  “Cool Water”, written in 1936 was made world famous by Marty Robbins, and earned Nolan a posthumous award in the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2005.  Nolan died in California in 1980.

Cool water may well have been available at Fintry, as running water was laid on to all the houses and barns. An ice-house and a root-cellar were created in the barn area for a summertime supply.

The silver plated, porcelain lined tilting water jug with matching cup is a very recent acquisition, and another reason for our gratitude to Mark Taylor, of Taylor’s Antiques, Kelowna.   A product of the Reed and Barton Company of Taunton, Massachusetts, this was made around 1877. It is in fine condition, complete with the removable porcelain liner.     Certainly nothing like it would have been found in any of the English or Scottish houses in the Dun-Waters’ experience, so one can imagine some initial novelty in adding a little water to a glass of “Laird of Fintry”.  Toward the end of an evening, did any guest feel perky enough to call out, from the empty water jug ” Hey, Jamie, the waters done?”

We look forward to seeing you at the Fintry Fusion Art Show on June 18 and 19th. Come and see what talented artists we have right here in the Okanagan!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – May, 2022

Greetings,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – April, 2022

Greetings Friends and Hello Spring!

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

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

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

Noon, Sunday May 1

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

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

RSVP to [email protected]

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

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

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

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

July 10th   Fintry Summer Fair

September 11th Fintry Fall Fair

Now for some interesting history from our Curator Dan Bruce.

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

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

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

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

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

A well-organized proceeding.”

All for this month,

Kathy Drew

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – March, 2022

Greetings all,

As we March into Spring we look forward to longer and brighter days ahead. Snowdrops have emerged, various other bulbs are poking through the soil and the birds are increasing their chatter…… all the usual signs of a new beginning.  We humans are also looking forward to a new beginning as mandates lift and we get back to doing all the things we used to do……but with a good dose of caution thrown in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Anti-Vaccers” are not a new species!

On that note, I wish you all good health!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – February, 2022

Greetings all,

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

One of our grant applications was to Canada Summer Jobs for two students, so we are hopeful that (a) we will be able to have tours, and (b) that we get this funding. Last summer’s students were an incredible asset and certainly took a load off our volunteers.

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

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

” Presumption now hath made his masterpiece . . .”

                                                                            with apologies to The Bard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe everyone….

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park