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

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