Category Archives: News

The Octagon – September 2023

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – September, 2023

Greetings Friends,

As I write this, and as if to declare the end of the school summer holidays, the rains have arrived. The parched earth, the tinder dry forests and our overworked firefighters must be doing a happy dance. However, although this helps, it will take a much more prolonged rain to really get everything thoroughly soaked and people can breathe easily again.

We are devastated that so many families along Westside Road, West Kelowna and Lake Country have lost their homes and our thoughts and prayers go out to them as they now try to come to grips with their loss and try to get their lives back together.

The Friends of Fintry are so disappointed that our much-anticipated Highland Fair had to be cancelled because of the wildfire “Order” that came down just two days before the Fair was to happen. With our events, musicians, competitions and lots of new vendors all signed up for what promised to be an exciting day, we now have to postpone it totally until next year. Fintry Provincial Park and consequently the Manor House are both closed until further notice. Not the way we wanted to end this season. We are however, still hopeful that we may be able to open at some point in September so check our website for updates.

Some new additions to the Fintry collection are now mounted in the Ben Lee Room and a very interesting story now follows courtesy of Dan Bruce and our donor, Dusty Cooper.

. “Dusty ” and “Rusty”, our new Dall sheep mounts, can now be seen flanking the video screen in the Ben Lee Room.    These are the gifts of Dusty and Janelle Cooper, of Lake Country, and our Board Member, Roy Lysholt is seen here in the process of installing the heads in their place.

Dall’s sheep, of which there are three sub-species, appear to be more closely related to the Asiatic species of wild sheep than to the American one so frequently met with on Westside Road.  Our new specimens are examples of Ovis dalli dalli, as opposed to the Peninsular Dall, Ovis dalli kenaiensis or Ovis dallistonei, the Stone or Black Sheep.

Dusty Cooper has kindly given this account (below) of the hunt for the one-horned ram. For a wild sheep to lose a horn, and expose the horn-core, there could have been an unusually serious battle with a rival ram, or even a bad fall.  Whatever happened, it is very likely that the animal would not have survived much longer in the wild.


By Dusty Cooper

I was guiding for Dall Sheep in the Northwest Territory (NWT) in the early 1980s. I had been guiding in the Mackenzie Mountains since 1975. During a hunt on the upper Fritz River and based out of a spike camp our crew was setup on the river and at the base of a mountain where we had seen sheep the day before. The small crew consisted of my wife, who was camp cook, another assistant guide, and a horse wrangler. We had two hunters in our camp at this time, which both were looking for Dall Sheep and Caribou. Above our spike camp we saw a good bunch of “Dall Sheep Rams” on a large rock outcrop feeding in a grassy area. While I was looking at the sheep through a spotting scope, I noticed some exceptional rams in the group. So, I took my hunter, and we started climbing up the side of the mountain to make our way toward the sheep. While climbing we had to keep concealed from the sheep to ensure they do not notice us coming their direction, this meant moving through rock crevasses and small creek drainages. 

Once we thought we were in the area we had last seen them we made our way to a large rock overhang to hide behind and start glassing (binoculars) for the sheep.  Even after our 5-hour climb, to our delight the sheep were still in the same area, where some were feeding and others laying down. They were now approximately 150 yards away from us at this time. One thing that was very different then I had ever seen before, one large adult ram was missing a horn. Was it that he fell off a cliff earlier on and broke it off, or fighting with another ram? Many questions came through our mind, but one thing for sure he was a “One Horn Ram”. 

 After a bit of a discussion with my hunter he said that he preferred one of the other large adult rams and did not want to take the one horned ram. So, I said to him, if you don’t mind after you shoot your ram successfully would you hand me your rifle so I can take the one horned ram. Providing they stay close by, and all do not run off in a scurry. So, once we decided and got situated, my hunter shot the ram he wanted and handed me the rifle so I could take the one horn ram. We hiked over to where the rams were laying and noticed that the one horn ram was bleeding from the missing horn core on his head. We assumed that it had not been long before this that he must have lost his horn. I was glad that I took this ram as he was likely having difficulty and very well could have gotten infected and died from this earlier injury.

 After we cleaned up the rams and packed the meat, cape, and horns on our packs we started to head down the mountain toward spike camp. We took a break and sat down for a moment and had a drink of water by one of the small creeks running down the mountain. I decided to take my binoculars out and have a look at camp in the valley bottom next to the river. To my disbelief I became in panic mode as I saw a grizzly bear not far from our camp heading that direction. Noting that my wife was alone in camp preparing a dinner for that night and did not know what was about to approach her!

Dusty Cooper

NWT Big Game Guide

On an entirely different topic, those of our readers who are members of the Okanagan Historical Society will notice an article in the latest (87th) report of the OHS, “James Teit and Coiled Basketry “.  One of the illustrations shows the very large basket now atop the bookcase in the Dressing Room at Fintry.

We certainly hope that we can resume our tours later in September so that you can come and see Dusty and Rusty and some other new additions in the Manor House!

Looking forward to better days ahead…..

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

August 2023 – The Octagon

Greetings Friends,

Now that we are into the dog days of summer, this constant heat is getting old. Gardens are struggling and gardeners are finding it difficult to keep up with maintenance. However, we should be thankful that we have not had much in the way of fires here in the north Okanagan, although as I write this…smoke is now billowing in.

We have decided to change up our next Fair, and in keeping with Dun-Waters’ Scottish heritage we have put a different spin on it. The Fintry Highland Fair will be held on Sunday, August 20th, on the grounds of the Manor House, with vendors, the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band, Kilt 45, Silent Auction, Steve Smith, Manor House tours etc. This Fair will have the added attraction of some Highland Games events such as Haggis Hurling, a Wife Carrying competition, Welly-boot toss and a Tug o’War.  There will even be a Shortbread judging competition, so dig out Granny’s old recipe and get baking! Bring your shortbread to the Fair in the morning as judging takes place at 1 pm. Check out our website for the shortbread entry form or you can enter on the day. There will be prizes and fun for everyone!

The Fair runs from 10-4pm so bring the whole family and have a fun day at Fintry!  We have two food trucks guaranteed and the Firemen will be dishing out ice cream to keep you cool.

Our volunteers work so hard on these Fairs to make them a success as they are the major fundraisers that help to keep the lights on in the Manor House as well as the general upkeep of this historic site so we really value your support when we organize these events.

With the help of our volunteers and Cole (our summer student) we have been able to open for tours Wednesdays thru Sundays (afternoons) with barn tours Wednesdays through Saturdays in the mornings. We are also very grateful to Ron Chandler, our new Caretaker who has moved into the suite in the Manor House and who has been assisting with tours weekdays, as well as tidying up the grounds and gardens. Living onsite, he is able to do all these tasks that nobody else has the time to do! Thankyou Ron!

Now that we are able to open the Octagonal Barn for tours there has been a steady flow of traffic through this heritage building. Cole does an amazing job sharing the history with our visitors. Next year this barn will be 100 years old!

Our Curator Dan Bruce would like to draw your attention to another item of historical interest within the Manor House.

“Just beside the door that opens from the Trophy Room to the patio outside, visitors will see the figure of Sir George Felbrigg.   This is actually a very well-crafted reproduction of Sir George’s “Monumental Brass” that is in St. Mary’s church, Playford, Suffolk.   Brass plates depicting the deceased were placed either over the grave itself inside the church, or on the wall nearby.   This practice started on the Continent, and subsequently spread to England, where the earliest known example dates from 1276.  The custom declined and came to an end in the seventeenth century.      

It became a popular pastime to travel around to the various churches where these brass plaques were to be found and make wax-paper rubbings.  This involved laying a sheet of heavy-duty paper over the brass and then getting an impression by rubbing black wax over the image.    So many people were keen to do this and make collections of the images, that in several churches restrictions had to be put in place to prevent the brasses from being completely erased.      Here at Fintry, we have an example of such a rubbing, and it hangs on the east wall of the Trophy Room.   It is the monument of a lady, unfortunately of unknown name, that is to be seen in the church of St Helen, Bishopsgate, London, and dates from 1535.

The image of Sir George Felbrigg however, is a Fibreglass replica of the actual stone slab over his tomb with the brass ‘portrait’ in place.  The brasses were held in place by cutting into the stone, so that the brass could be set down, embedded in a layer of bitumen, sometimes with added lead clamps.  His is one of the best known of these monuments, and has been illustrated many times in the literature.   Sir George died in 1400 after a varied career in and around the English royal household.  He was an Esquire of the Household in the last years of the reign of Edward III, when he was involved in some questionable financial and real estate dealings.  Later, during the reign of Richard II he took care to be on better behaviour, and became a trusted and accomplished diplomat.  He was, together with two colleagues, sent to Bohemia in 1380 to negotiate with the Holy Roman Emperor for the hand of his daughter Anne in marriage to Richard II.   This was a successful mission, and Anne indeed became Richard’s wife, and Queen of England.

The image of Sir George shows him in a typical knight’s outfit of the time, notably the ‘aventail ‘ –  the chain mail protection for the neck and shoulders.     Practical experience of such a thing was witnessed at Fintry when the Viking re-enactors were performing at our fairs, every effort had to be made not to get a beard entangled in chain mail. Removal was extremely painful!”

Next time you are in the Manor House be sure to search out Sir George now that you know a little bit more of his history!

Enjoy these dog days because pretty soon the children will be back in school, the hummingbirds will head south and we will be staring fall and winter in the face!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – July 2023

Greetings Friends,

We are gearing up for our Fintry Summer Fair this coming Sunday, July 9th. With vendors, the Kalamalka Pipe Band, musicians, 50/50 draw, Manor House tours and fun for all. The Fair runs from 10-4pm so bring the whole family and have a fun day at Fintry!  Our volunteers work so hard on these Fairs to make them a success as they are the major fundraisers that help to keep the lights on in the Manor House as well as the general upkeep of this historic site.

On June 24/25, we had a delightful weekend with local artists displaying and selling their beautiful work throughout the Manor House. Fritz played for attendees on the veranda and the commercial kitchen was baking and making strawberry cream teas as fast as humanly possible. The artists are already making plans for next year’s event to be held in June,2024.

The Friends of Fintry will be hold their Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 15th July, 10 a.m. in the Manor House. If your membership has lapsed it can be renewed at the door. Our guest speaker is Lorna Fandrich who comes from the Lytton Museum which burned down in the fire. She will be discussing the importance of have museum collections digitized and stored in “the Cloud”.

We were lucky enough to be able to hire a summer student this year (welcome Cole) with help from funding through Canada Summer Jobs. Cole has quickly learned the Fintry history and how to give tours of both the Manor House and the Octagonal barn and will be with us until the end of August.

At the beginning of June, we supplied the venue for a wedding ceremony at the Labyrinth, just north of the Manor House. This was the first ceremony held here since Covid, so delighted that people are considering Fintry as a venue for their wedding ceremony once again.

With the help of our volunteers and Cole we are now able to open for tours Wednesdays to Sundays with barn tours on some of those mornings. We are quite distressed that the Octagonal barn keeps getting broken into, windows smashed etc. and we are hoping that together with BC Parks we can find a solution before something serious happens there.

Our Curator, Dan Bruce has been working diligently on getting this huge egg collection ready for display and it really is quite fascinating to see such a variety of eggs all in one place. Here is the story of how this came into our collection.

“For many years, the late Gordon Peacock and his wife Pat operated an antique dealership and furniture restoration business in Vernon.  Gordon was also adept at antique clock repair.

After moving to Armstrong, Gordon decided to offer some mounted bird specimens and an extensive collection of eggs to Fintry.  These were accepted, and transported from Armstrong to Fintry with the kind assistance of Grant Robertson  (Robertson’s Clothing and Shoes) of Kelowna.

The golden eagle now diving over the doorway in the Trophy Room is the star attraction of Gordon’s bird mounts, and a previous issue of The Octagon gave details of the cleaning and setting up of that specimen.

I have now taken the egg collection and unpacked it from the cardboard and newspaper packaging that it arrived in and have re-housed it, more suitably and securely in a series of plastic ‘snap-lid’ containers with quilting material as packing.  There is a total of 22 containers, holding almost 500 individual eggs.

The specimens are mostly from Northwestern Europe, England, Scotland and Iceland.  A bit of a surprise was two Noddy eggs from the Pedro Keys, tiny islets well off the South coast of Jamaica.  These are dated 1900. Many of the eggs are identified as to species, and there are a few dated examples, the earliest of which appears to be 1871, with others ranging up to 1907.   Some of the larger heavily mottled eggs are probably those of sea-birds, and will require some study to identify.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, egg collecting was a common practice, somewhat on a par with stamp collecting.  It was dignified as a science by the term ‘oology’ but all too often the collections were of a very amateurish nature and resulted in damage to bird populations in many areas.  Fortunately, this has now largely ceased.   In order to preserve the egg specimens, the contents had to be removed, and a technique referred to as ‘blowing’ was used. A small hole was made in the shell — a special tool was developed for doing it, then the contents could be removed using a straw.

We do not know who the original owner of the collection was, although it is remotely possible that that could be discovered, as several of the specimens have printed identification labels, which may be traceable.  In any event, the collection now at Fintry is well housed and could be unique, or almost so.”

Saturday, July 15th, 10 a.m. Friends of Fintry Annual General Meeting, at the Manor House.

Hope to see you there!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – June, 2023

Greetings Friends,

Although summer is not officially here, it certainly feels like it and we must enjoy these glorious days while we can still see the smoke-free sky and the green hills.

It feels like summer at the Fintry Provincial Park as well with loads of campers out and about with Saturdays being really busy for Manor House tours. Our Mother’s Day Fair went extremely well, the weather cooperated; we had a wonderful variety of vendors and a great selection of musicians who entertained us throughout the day.

Next on our agenda is the Fintry Fusion Art Show to be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 24th and 25th. Artists from around the Okanagan will be displaying and selling their work which will be displayed throughout the Manor House; our good friend Fritz will be playing some background music and the Friends of Fintry will be providing a Strawberry Cream Tea. This event proved very popular last year so mark your calendars and come check it out. The show runs from 10-4pm both days.

With funding from RDCO we have now been able to hire a much-needed Business Manager (Kaitlyn Richards). We are delighted to have her onboard to keep us all in line, do all the necessary paperwork, set up projects etc. that seems to take up so much of our time.

We also have hired one summer student to assist with tours during the busy summer months but are still searching for another as we were successful in getting a Canada Summer Jobs grant for two students.

We are looking forward to June 14th when we will be giving a private tour of the Manor House to some guests from the Fintry museum in Scotland. I visited there last year so this is a reciprocal visit so they can see how we have tied in James Dun-Waters early days in Fintry, Scotland with what became his home in Fintry right here.

Another important event is our Annual General Meeting which will be held this year on Saturday, July 15th,  10 a.m. at the Manor House. We will have a guest speaker, door prizes and refreshments. This is an important meeting and we urge all our members to attend. If your membership has lapsed one can be renewed at the door that day.

Following is a rather interesting story about a banner that we have in our collection…..Dan Bruce has done some research, discovered some interesting facts and somehow is always able to tie them back into Fintry!

The picture shows James Dawson, one of our Board members, holding the banner of Jesus College, Cambridge. This was specially obtained for us by our whilom Board member, Michael Clegg, a former student at Jesus.    As you will remember, James Dun-Waters also attended Jesus College, where he excelled at sports, but was a little more relaxed when it came to the academic life.

James Dawson

Jesus College was founded in 1496, by John Alcock, bishop of Ely, who at that time asked and was given permission by Henry VI to utilize the derelict buildings of a nunnery as a college for prospective members of the clergy.

The rooster, cockerel or cock derived from the bishop’s surname, became the heraldic emblem of the college, therefore prominent on the coat-of-arms and the flag.   The college maintains a collection of representations of the bird, one of which, a life-sized bronze image was recently returned to His Majesty the Oba of Benin from whose city it was taken by British troops in the 19th century.

Bishop Alcock was an active and well-respected churchman, and had a number of other interests that kept him busy in the secular world as well as the church.  He was known however for lengthy sermons, and was the first clergyman to have his sermons printed and available for circulation in 1488.     It was Wynkyn de Worde who printed for him in the late 1400’s when the printing trade was just becoming established in England.   

There is a long list of well-known people who attended Jesus College over the years, among them, Thomas Cranmer, (1489 -1556), Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (1772 -1834), James Dun-Waters, and more recently, Michael Clegg.      Some of us remember a board meeting where a quorum was required.    Although still on the Fintry board, Michael was in Baghdad, setting up the democratic election process after the fall of Saddam Hussein.  We had him join the meeting on speaker phone, with his SAS guards in the background!

Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, being responsible for the creation of the English Prayer Book.  He ended up being burned at the stake in 1556 by ‘Bloody’ Mary in her attempt to return England to the Roman Church.  (In 1555, she also burned Bishop John Hooper, whose direct descendant, John Sugars, was a former president of the Friends of Fintry.)

We understand that it was on Mike Clegg’s insistence that Jesus College had these new banners made, replicating the founder’s badge, and we are so pleased to have this one to add to our collection of items that relate to English and Scottish heraldry.

Hope to see you at some of our upcoming events,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – May, 2023

Greetings Friends,

The warm and sunny days are upon us and with them come the threats of floods and fires. Our thoughts and prayers are with those at Parker Cove during this difficult time while they deal with Mother Nature.

Down at Fintry we are in the throes of planning for our upcoming season. Our first major event is our Fintry Fair being held on Sunday, May 14th, with all hands on deck on Saturday, May 13th for Spring cleaning the Manor House. Anyone wishing to join in the cleaning brigade will be more than welcome!

We were delighted to hear that we were successful in our Canada Summer Jobs grant application and will be hiring two students to assist our volunteers with guiding tours this summer. We will now be able to be open for more days during the summer at both the Manor House and the barns.

We had an exciting, although chilly day at the Manor House in April, as Dan Bruce describes the day below…..

Saturday, April 22nd was a special day at Fintry, as it was the occasion for the making of a short amateur film production, I believe the first such event at the Manor House.

The Trophy Room was the scene of “Bloody Vintage” co-directed and produced by Chelsea McEvoy and Kelly Veltri, volunteer members of the Okanagan Society of Independent Filmmakers. The OSIF has members from all parts of the valley, including the Fintry delta itself!  They are dedicated to their art, and put a great effort into the creation of film and video, that while being an amateur, non-profit organization, deliver a very professional looking result.

Filming events have a dubious reputation for overrunning their venues, and taking untoward liberties with the location. This was certainly not the case on that Saturday, and it gave us all great satisfaction that the Fintry Estate was available as a venue, and having Fintry function as a cultural asset in the region. It was a great pleasure to see the OSIF making full use of the available amenities.  Lunch for the crew, largely self-catered, made good use of the kitchen, just off the Ben Lee Room, which also became the ‘green room’ for the day. 

Two participants were in wheelchairs and were able to have access to the whole proceeding via the ramp recently installed by BC Parks. The ramp incidentally, was designed and installed in such a way as to provide easy access but with minimal disruption to the heritage aspect of the site.

It was a full day and attended by several of our Board of Directors. Our compliments to the OSIF members on their care of the furnishings etc. in and around the Manor House. Thanks are also due to BC Parks who oversee all activities in our Provincial Parks.   Keeping within the strictures of the Parks Act, we look forward to more opportunities to have Fintry act as an encouragement to education and culture in the region.

Remember, mark your calendars for the Fintry Fair on Sunday, May 14th. We have a full slate of vendors, musicians Manor House tours and kid’s activities!

Hope to see you there….

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

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

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 ( 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

The Octagon – March, 2023

Greetings all,

As we March into Spring we look forward to another exciting season at the Fintry Estate. Surely winter is done with us now and we are looking ahead to brighter (and longer) days.

We are still hopeful that the Regional District of Central Okanagan will assist us with some funding for this coming year but as of now have not officially heard if or when this might happen. As always at this time of year, we continue to search out any grants that we may be eligible for both federally and provincially as we continue to plan our many fund-raising events to be held throughout the year with some new twists and new activities to keep things interesting!

Some of our Board members attended the Heritage Week kick-off at the Kelowna Community Theatre on February 19th and it was great to see so many booths representing the historical associations in the region.

Our latest project through Digital Museums Canada has now launched. It is called “The Fintry Ayrshires: Scottish Cattle in the Far West” and is dedicated to one of our long-time Board members and historian Paul Koroscil, who passed away in 2021. If you go to our website you can access this incredible story through the link on the home page. Many thanks to Shannon Jorgenson and Dan Bruce for all their work putting this together.

While touring the Fintry Manor House your attention will be drawn to these interesting tea caddies we have in the Dining Room, and now Dan Bruce explains how important these were in large stately homes.

This eighteenth century tea caddy is almost identical to one that can be seen in the Dining Room. Made in England of walnut wood, the favoured material for fine cabinetry and furniture, and which was expensive, so that in many cases, a base of another wood was overlaid with a walnut veneer.

As was typical, there are three compartments, two rectangular ones with lids, and a central open circular one in which sits a glass bowl.  The knob handles and the key-hole surround are made from bone in this caddy, but sometimes were of ivory or cut glass.   Black and green teas were kept separately on each side, and mixed in the centre bowl just prior to being used.     

Tea at this time was a valuable commodity, brought from the warehouses of the Chinese merchants by sea via the Cape of Good Hope. It had to be kept perfectly dry, and in containers as air-tight as possible. Once in the hands of the consumer it would have been under lock and key. The lady of the house would have the only key, kept with all the other household keys on her chatelaine. In larger establishments, the responsibility would very likely rest with the Butler.

It would seem that the term ” caddy ” here referring to the small box, is derived from a Malay word, “katy” which was a measure of weight, probably used in the early days of the tea trade in the Orient.

The commercial production of tea today is of course spread worldwide, wherever conditions allow the plant, Camellia sinensis to flourish.   A mild climate with high humidity and an acidic soil is required, so we can be fairly sure that Canada will not be in the tea production business for the foreseeable future.

The Hudson’s Bay Company supplied consumer goods to the traders and settlers across the North. They provided tea in much larger quantities than coffee, which may explain the preference for it in the Bay’s territory, while coffee was more readily available in the American trading area to the south.

                                                 “If Hampton Court these eyes had never seen!  . . .

                                                                Oh, had I rather unadmired remain’d

                                                  In some lone isle, or distant northern land;

                                                               Where the gilt chariot never marks the way,

                                                  Where none learn ombre, none e’er taste Bohea!”

                                                           Alexander Pope, 1688 -1744

                                                          The Rape of the Lock

                            Bohea is a Chinese black tea, popular in England in the mid eighteenth century.

What a delightful piece of history to ruminate over as you sit with your cuppa of Tetley or Red Rose listening to the birds singing, and watching for signs of life in the trees and soil around us.

Til next month….take good care,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – February, 2023

Greetings Friends,

February! I feel that we are finally over the worst of winter and now we will hopefully glide slowly into Spring….and our friend Okie has confirmed this!! February is that in-between month when we are all tired of dealing with snow and slush and look forward to getting outside and digging in the dirt.

Thankfully there is the Vernon Winter Carnival with a week full of activities to ward off the winter blahs. Check out what’s happening at

Also coming up is Heritage Week, February 20-26th with activities at some of the sites that are open over the winter and also some interesting walking tours.  For a full list of what’s happening check out or The Friends of Fintry will have a table on Sunday, February 19th in the Kelowna Community Theatre from 10-4 pm, so do stop by and see what we are all about. There will be displays by various groups participating in this year’s Heritage events, loads of information and Hot Chocolate!

The Friends of Fintry are busy planning for this year’s events with opening day on Sunday, May 14th (Mother’s Day) when we will be holding our Fintry Spring Fair with vendors, tours, musicians and much, much more.  Other important dates are June 24 and 25th for the Art Show and Strawberry Tea. July 9th for the Fintry Spring Fair, and August 20th for the Fintry Highland Fair. (New event). Stay tuned for more info on these and other exciting happenings at Fintry.

If you would like to volunteer to assist not only with our Fairs but in an ongoing basis, please reach out to myself at 250-309-7868. We can slot you in to an area of your interest.

This just in: The Regional District of Central Okanagan board has apparently reconsidered the Friends of Fintry’s plea to reinstate its funding. It’s not clear how much the RDCO board is willing to contribute to Fintry but it appears the board will restore some funding on a year-to-year basis. We’ve only heard about this development via Castanet. We’re waiting to hear the formal details from the district’s officials. Stay tuned. 

 Here’s the link:

Next time you have a tour of the Fintry Manor House you will be able to answer the questions regarding this hide in the dressing room.  Our Curator Dan Bruce continues to educate us on some of the more interesting artefacts in the Manor House rooms.

Visitors passing through the ‘dressing room’ immediately prior to entering the Trophy Room sometimes have their attention drawn to this small black and brown hide that hangs on the back of the Monk’s Bench.   Our tour guides will ask for suggestions as to what creature the hide was from.  As far as I know only one has come close to a correct identification so far. (They opted for a goat).

The hide is that of a Barbados Black Belly sheep.  This is a breed of sheep that has been on the island of Barbados since the seventeenth century, and is thought to have been brought there from somewhere in West Africa. This is clearly not a wool-bearing breed, and is best described as a hair-sheep, adapted to tropical conditions, and raised primarily for meat as opposed to wool or dairy products.  A certain amount of the underside has been cut away from this hide, so the characteristic black belly is seen only on the outer edge.

The Barbados sheep are much in evidence on the island today, and are carefully farmed as a food source, and as part of the island’s heritage.  In the United States, several farmers are raising them, and there is now a breed called the American Black Belly.  These differ from the original Barbados form in that they are cross-bred with the wild Mouflon (Ovis musimon), native to the Mediterranean island of Corsica. This crossing results in an animal with shaggier hair, (but still not wool) and the rams bearing spectacular curling horns. These are shown in this photo on the right.   The Barbados rams are naturally hornless.  Both these breeds are very prolific, and have good maternal instincts, so are prized as an efficient source of high-quality meat where other forms of livestock would be less suitable.

The hide was donated to the Fintry Estate by the late Dr. Weslie Combs who spent a large part of his working life as an instructor of agriculture and animal husbandry at a number of universities, and upon retiring from his teaching, did consultant work for various governments around the world. Shortly before he passed away, he presented his personal library to Fintry, as well as the sheep hide and other related items.   Dr. Combs was an internationally respected authority on dairy sheep, and his library contains some fascinating, and in some cases obscure publications that he collected on his travels.

The Fintry Estate collection includes a reference library of agricultural and horticultural topics, and Dr. Combs’ donation is an important part of this.”

All for this month,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – January, 2023

Happy New Year to all our members!

Beneath its snowy mantel cool and white, the Manor House sits waiting for another exciting season full of events.

Photo courtesy of Sue Cseh

The Friends of Fintry Board is busy planning for the 2023 season; we are once again applying for grants for summer students so that we can be open most days of the week. We often hear from people that they have come for a tour of the Manor House only to find us closed, but when we only operate with volunteers it is difficult to staff more than just weekends……fingers crossed that we will be successful this year in our application. That being said, we are constantly looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of running the Manor House, giving tours, assisting with events, as well as new Board members. If you are at all interested in keeping our history and heritage alive please contact myself (Kathy) at 250-309-7868.

BC Heritage Week is always held in February …. this year from February 20-26th and the national and provincial theme is “Always in All Ways”.  It is unfortunate that the Fintry Manor House will still be in the depths of winter but we encourage everyone to participate in events taking place in your community. The Friends of Fintry will be having a table at the Kelowna Community Theatre on Sunday, February 19th from 10-3pm so do come down and say ‘Hi” to our trusty volunteers as we kick off this very important week.  Check out the BC Heritage web page for more information.

 Looking ahead to the upcoming season, these are some dates that we have penned into our 2023   Calendar:               

  • Fintry Manor House Spring Clean-up…………………… Saturday, May 13th (Volunteers needed)
  • Mother’s Day Spring Fair ……………………………………   Sunday, May 14th
  • Art Show & Strawberry Cream Tea ……………………… Saturday & Sunday, June 24th & 25th
  • July Summer Fair …………………………………………………  Sunday, July 9th
  • Highland Fair (new event!) …………………………………   Sunday, August 20th

And now we have a very interesting contribution from our Curator, Dan Bruce:

The late Joan Heriot of Vernon presented a number of items to the Fintry Estate, among them, this small but significant Chinese wine cup. Four inches high, it may once have had a separate base that held it upright but which is now missing.  It is carved to represent a magnolia flower, the petals being       delineated on the outside as well as right down to the base on the inside.  It is perhaps the material of which it has been carved that imparts its very special nature, namely Rhinoceros horn.

There has been a very long tradition of carving this substance in China, going back at least to 500 B.C. at which time it is known that there was a belief that Rhinoceros horn was able to protect the user from the effects of poison, and also ensured long life.

The Chinese had access to Rhinoceros horn from the three species that are native to Asia, and were also very keen to acquire the horns of the two African species in more recent times.     The three Asian species are the Great Indian Rhino, (Rhinoceros unicornis), the Javan Rhino, (Rhinoceros sondaicus), and the Sumatran Rhino, (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).  Today, all these species are in imminent danger of extinction, especially the last two.   Africa is home to the White Rhino, (Ceratotherium simum) and the Black Rhino, (Diceros bicornis). They are considerably larger than the Asian species.

The wine cup shown here is very probably carved from the horn of the Sumatran species, and we believe it to date from the mid Ming Dynasty, circa 1450 or 1460.  Apparently, there was a custom for cups such as this to be created for very high-ranking officials, who would then present them to the emperor on his birthday, especially if the official was wanting to ask a special favour or promotion.  It is therefore a possibility that this cup may have been a gift to the Emperor Chenghua who ruled China from 1465 to 1487.

There is one extensive publication that deals specifically with items such as this, “The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China” by Jan Chapman, published by Christie’s Books, 1999.    Having consulted the author and sent a photo with a detailed description of our cup, she agreed with our estimate of date. Estimate, as there is no inscription on this cup.

Rhinoceros horn is one of the few substances that occur in museum collections that actually benefit from being handled.   In fact, Jan Chapman advises an occasional application of pure lanolin, and no extremes of temperature.   We therefore do not keep our specimen on site at Fintry.

Looking forward to Spring…..

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – December, 2022

Greetings all,

The end of another year – a year with some trials and tribulations – but also some good times and it is on these that we must focus as we move ahead. We introduced some new events this past season; a very successful Art Show in June, the Okanagan Symphony Pocket Orchestra and the MacArthur Duo in the summer, all of these in addition to our usual Fairs.  

We also had our challenges this past summer as we were not successful in obtaining summer students and had to rely on our trusty volunteers to keep the Manor House open for tours with limited hours.  We are hopeful that we will be successful this next season as it is time to apply again through Canada Summer Jobs.  The funding from RDCO (which we used to pay our Curator) has dried up so that is another blow to our operations. However, we must stay positive and many great ideas are floating around as we continue planning for this next year. The Board continues to hold monthly meetings via Zoom thus saving board members time and stress on the winter roads.

Dan, our Curator has provided us with another interesting story about one of Fintry’s treasures…..

“The two shields that you see on the bronze medal bear the charges of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, indicating that they encouraged athletic competition among their students, but perhaps not with the same fervour shown by some North American institutions today.

The reverse of this medal is inscribed “One Mile Race, 2nd, J. C. Waters, Jesus Coll.  Won in 4m. 37sc.  1885”.   The medal was presented to the Fintry Estate by Rod and Karen Stuart, and was part of the large and varied collection of items that the Stuarts took care of after leaving Fintry when it became part of the Fairbridge Farm School operations.

We know from various sources that James Waters, as he was known as, as a child and young man was a keen sportsman and athlete, but had less enthusiasm for academic studies. This was by no means an unusual state of affairs, perhaps even the most common situation.  Attending university did however provide a wide range of opportunities for education and advancement, to be taken up and developed at the student’s own discretion.   Friendships were formed that lasted a lifetime in some cases, and were maintained by letter when, during the days of the Empire, former students were employed in various levels of government or trade in widely scattered locations.

At Cambridge, James Waters and Albert Grey probably ‘hung out together’ and later kept in touch resulting in the invitation to James Dun-Waters (adding the ‘Dun’ after receiving his uncle’s legacy) to visit and hunt in Canada, where Albert, (now Earl Grey) had been appointed Governor-General.        They came out west, to British Columbia, hunted, toured around a bit, and saw the delta of Shorts’ Creek, and the rest, as they say, is history. . .”

‘Tis the season….Dan gave out this recipe two years ago, and here it is once again by popular demand.

For those who are thinking about Christmas baking, I hereby give out my Mother’s shortbread recipe.

6 oz. flour

6 oz. butter

3 oz. caster sugar (berry sugar)

2 oz. ground almonds ( 2 oz. cornstarch if necessary)

Crumble butter (cut up into flour using two knives) into even sizes crumbs.

Add sugar and ground almonds. Mix well, and put into an 8″ loose bottomed tin.

Press flat with a knife and put into 350 oven for about 1/2 hour or until pale brown

and crispish at the edges.  When crumbling, keep it cold, do not let it get soft and greasy,

If it does, add some cornstarch.    DO NOT TOUCH IT WITH YOUR HANDS AT ANY TIME.


At this time of year, the Fintry Provincial Park is covered in a snowy mantel; peaceful and serene as the season of dormancy takes over. Plants and trees hold their energy in reserve ready for action come spring….a lot like us humans! Enjoy this special time of year as we gather with friends and family; let’s be thankful for all that we have in this peaceful corner of the world.

Season’s Greetings to all….

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park