The Octagon – August, 2020

Greetings Friends,

Summer has finally arrived and we are delighted that life at Fintry is taking on a little bit of normalcy.  The Manor House is now open for modified tours Thursday thru Sunday from 1pm to 4 pm and the Octagonal Barn is open Friday thru Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.  This is all possible because we have hired (through a Canada  Summer Jobs grant), two very capable students, Rachael and Morgan to complement our usual contingent of volunteer tour guides.  The students are staying in the Caretaker’s suite on the top floor of the Manor House, which we have furnished and equipped for them.

Rachael is a recent graduate from the Museum and Gallery Program at Georgian College in Ontario. She moved to the South Okanagan last September for an internship with the Oliver Heritage Museum & Archives, and is very excited for the opportunity to share her love of museums with the community here.

Morgan has recently completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of British Columbia Okanagan with specializations in History and Art History. This upcoming fall she will begin an Interdisciplinary Master’s Program to continue her undergraduate research.

When they are not assisting with  tours, the girls are working on research programs, organizing the collection, digitizing and cataloguing old Fintry photos, all under Dan’s tutelage.  They are excited to be at Fintry and we are excited to have two motivated and capable  students to assist us and spread the word about all things Fintry.

And from our Curator Dan Bruce…..

Somewhat limited by the present health issue, we have done our best to provide reasonable access to the Manor House in a real sense, and using the ‘virtual world’ as a supplement.    The one-way tours do include some new facets and re-arrangements. Visitors can see the recently restored cabinet with the shell collection in the Living Room, and the white wicker furniture in the Sun Room, visible through the window by the front door.     Mrs. Dun-Waters’ Sitting Room is too small to allow the currently fashionable distancing, but it can be seen by going out onto the veranda, and viewing it through the bay window.    The Dressing Room, leading to the Trophy Room has had to be re-configured to act more as a passageway, but guests can now see into the ‘mystery closet’ high on the wall to the right of the Trophy Room door.   Anyone is free to guess what the purpose of this can have been . . . no prizes for the correct answer, because we do not know what it was for either.

Later this month I shall attempt to put the newly cleaned Golden Eagle up above the doorway in the Trophy Room. I do hope that that is not going to be one of those things that appear to be so simple, but in fact turn out to be epics best left untold.

We have just been presented with a Fintry treasure, a volume of  “Songs of the Hebrides’, with an inscription, “To Ishbell Gray from J. C. Dun-Waters,  with love. ”    Ishbell was the daughter of Angus Gray, the very capable Manager of the Fintry Estate in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.  This was given to us by Carmen Gingles of Edmonton, Ishbell’s neice. 

Some pieces have been moved from smaller spaces into the Living Room so that they can still be seen, such as the amazing Westinghouse fan, (patented in 1916).    This still works, has several speeds, as well as being able to oscillate from side to side. The fan reminds visitors that all such electrical gadgets were able to operate at Fintry, powered by the Pelton wheels over by the barns.  

I have formulated a reply to the persistent question posed by visitors,  ” Is this house haunted?”     “Yes . . .by Okanagan Spirits “.”

Our membership numbers and our tour revenue have both taken a hit because of Covid-19, so we encourage you to bring your summer visitors to Fintry for the day; bring a picnic, hike up the waterfall, explore the labyrinth, go for a swim  and enjoy the natural surroundings of this lovely heritage site.

I would like to remind our members that the Friends of Fintry Annual General Meeting  will be held at the Manor House on Saturday, August 15th starting at 10 a.m. If your membership has lapsed, you can renew at the entrance before the meeting. Covid-19 precautions and physical distancing will be in effect to keep everyone safe.

We are limited as to the number of people in  the Manor House at one time, so it would be helpful if you could pre-register for the AGM by emailing or by phoning myself at 250-542-4139.

We look forward to seeing many of  you on Saturday August 15th.

Stay safe and  enjoy this unusual summer.

Kathy Drew,  President

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

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