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.


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

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