The Octagon – August, 2021

Greetings all….

In the last Octagon, I Iisted the pandemic, the heat and the smoke as obstacles in our efforts to get Fintry up and running this year, and I wondered what else was going to be thrown at us……well now I know the answer. As I write this, Fintry is on an evacuation alert because of the advancing White Rock Lake wild fire. The Manor House will still be open for tours unless we get an evacuation order when everyone will have to leave the area. Let us hope it doesn’t come to that. Please keep an eye on our website for updates as we move through this difficult time.

July has been very busy as far as tours are concerned despite the smoke and the heat. Our students, Morgan and Holly have absorbed the history of the Fintry Estate very quickly and are bursting with enthusiasm to share their knowledge with our many visitors. Unfortunately, because of the smoke and ash we have been unable to have barn tours as it was not healthy to have our volunteers outside for any length of time. We hope that this too shall pass.

We are also hopeful that we can hold our Fintry Fall Fair this year. The scheduled date for that is Sunday, September 12th……..COVID willing!

Westside Road has its many challenges. Travelling from Fintry north, there are always numerous deer, cattle and even horses that one has to look out for. From Fintry south there is another problem about which our Curator, Dan Bruce will now discuss…….

“Travelling along Westside Road requires a little more attention than most other roads. It may still be regarded as one of the worst roads in B.C., although a considerable amount of improving work has been carried out over the last few years. An added feature of the area is the well-established population of Bighorn Sheep, a magnificent sight of wildlife in a natural setting.   The Bighorn, one of the supporters of the BC coat-of-arms is less attractive however when standing on the yellow line, and reluctant to move. Most local motorists have developed the road courtesy of flashing high-beams to warn those approaching that the rams might need to be dodged.

In the Ben Lee Room, visitors will see the skull and horns of a Bighorn ram that was found in the Short’s Creek Canyon by Chris Oakes, in 2006. This may have been killed by a cougar, and was perhaps the last of the original native population. The animals that one can now see are the descendants of those introduced from the Kamloops area in 2004. When that re-introduction took place, the sheep were brought to the Fintry delta hayfields by road, and then air-lifted to the upper levels. It did not take them long to realize that the grass of the Trader’s Cove lawns was sweeter than whatever was on offer higher up.

Next to the “Short’s Creek Ram” is a bronze sculpture of two Bighorn rams, the work of Werner Plangg, and kindly loaned to us by the Kelowna Museum.

Werner Plangg was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1933. He studied art as a means of following his interest in wildlife, and emigrated to Canada in 1956. He continued his studies and developed his technique in the Canmore and Banff areas of Alberta, also making good use of the close-up opportunities provided by the Calgary Zoo. He worked in oils, pastels, watercolours and bronze, and his proficiency in all media gained him international recognition.   In 1966, he was the only Canadian to be invited to exhibit at the Buffalo Bill Historic Centre, and the Whitney Museum of Western Art in Cody, Wyoming.

Back home in Alberta he was honoured with membership in the Alberta Society of Artists, and the Western Canadian Institute of Artists.    The Glenbow Museum owns one painting, and one bronze of his, and he is represented in public and private collections worldwide.

He moved to Westbank, BC in the late 1980’s, and the bronze sculpture here was presented to the Kelowna Museum by the artist just before he passed away in 1994.   We appreciate Kelowna Museum’s co-operation in making this available to us for the current season.”

Just a reminder that the Friends of Fintry Annual General Meeting is to be held on Saturday, August 21st, 10 a.m. at the Manor House. Memberships will be available at the door if you haven’t yet renewed. Fingers crossed that the north end of Westside Road is open by then and that the fire situation is under control.”

‘Til next month – stay safe out there,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

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