The Octagon – April, 2023

Happy Spring everyone!

Welcome to the Spring Octagon, our newsletter for our beloved Fintry Estate! As the weather warms up and nature awakens, we are thrilled to be embarking on another exciting season as we showcase the Fintry Manor House and how it came to be.

The Manor House and Dun-Waters’ dream has always been a hub of inspiration and learning for people of all ages and backgrounds, and we continue to strive to bring you the best experiences possible. Whether you are a regular visitor or new to the area, we hope you enjoy reading about all the exciting things we have in store for you this season.

Opening Day is Sunday, May 14th when we begin our season with the Fintry Spring Fair. Already we have vendors signed up for this event and a full slate of musicians are booked to entertain throughout the day. We will then be open weekends until mid June when we will have our students onboard and be open five days a week.

If you know of any young person returning to school or university in the fall who is interested in history and heritage, please ask them to get in touch by email at [email protected].

We are also in need of an Education Outreach person for our school and senior’s presentations. This would be perfect for a retired teacher, but anyone who is interested in learning and sharing the Fintry history can contact me at ([email protected]) for more info. We have loads of portable info and artefacts for these presentations.

Our long-time Curator, Dan Bruce is semi-retiring from the Friends of Fintry, though with the title of Curator Emeritus, he will still be available for tours, providing historical material for the Octagon and for us to “pick his brains” as he has such extensive knowledge of the Fintry Estate. The Friends thank him immensely for taking an empty house (in 2001) and furnishing it with period pieces (some are Dun-Waters’ originals), so we can tell the story of James Cameron Dun-Waters and his life in the early 1900’s.

Now here a Dan has provided me with the following interesting facts from inside the Manor House:

Over the years many people have contributed to the creation and maintenance of the Fintry Estate.   There are the large and obvious participants, B C Parks, and the Central Okanagan Regional District, but it is never too late or inappropriate to acknowledge those individuals whose expertise and special skills have been called upon and willingly provided.  These pictures show some of the features that might be taken for granted.

The brass chandelier that hangs in the centre of the Red Room was re-wired and put in place by the late Ian Baker, at the same time that he re-organized the lighting in the basement.   Ian’s mother, Anita Baker was Treasurer for the Friends of Fintry for six years, and sad to relate, Ian passed away, from cancer, in 2022.

The terracotta tiles surrounding the fireplaces were damaged in several so John Kulzer, recently arrived from Montreal located suitable replacements. He re-tiled the fireplace in Mrs. Dun-Waters’ sitting room with the new ones, and used the unbroken originals to replace those needed in other rooms.  John now has his own tiling business in Kelowna.

When Art and Ingrid Bailey added the upstairs B & B rooms, the staircase giving access from the Living Room had no hand rail on either side.  Peter Kalis of Lake Country was the only craftsman in the valley who was able to make the curved hand rail that now lends confidence to those going up or down.

The fireplace in the Trophy Room now has a grate and fire-dogs that are almost exactly like the originals that were lost at some time in the past.   From photos taken by Margaret Dun-Waters, I was able to make a reasonably accurate drawing of what was required.   Steve Woodall, a blacksmith and farrier in Calgary worked from the drawing to produce the replacement that is now in use.

During the summer of 2003, while the Okanagan Mountain fire was raging towards Kelowna, Hazel Bruce made the curtains now to be seen in Mrs. Dun-Waters’ sitting room.     The fabric was donated by Patricia Wheelwright of West Kelowna.  The pattern was created by John Sylvester Wheelwright of London, in 1924, and is still in commercial production.    It was good to have access to this material, as it would have been ‘the latest’ when the Manor was re-built after the 1924 fire.

More recently, the ” Burnett Boxes ” were made by Don Burnett of Kelowna to hold the photographic catalogue of the items on exhibit in each of the Manor House rooms.   The wood that Don used for these is recycled antique oak that once was the sewing machine table used by Hazel Bruce to make the Wheelwright curtains.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of those whose help has been most gratefully received, and we will continue to point out other features that deserve appreciation.

When next you visit the Manor House you will now know a little bit more about some of the items you see on the tour.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

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