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The Friends of Fintry Invite You to Take a Step Back in Time

The dream, when The Friends of Fintry was first established, was to see Captain James Dun-Waters’ legacy restored, protected and shared with the public. Through hard work that dream is becoming a reality. The Manor House now provides an opportunity for us to see what the life of the British landed gentry was like.  We continue to add to our extensive collection of fascinating artefacts.


Alice's bedroom

Over the years much of the Manor House has been restored with work now complete in the Ben Lee Room, where we show our video of the history of Fintry. BC Parks has also built a long ramp to the entrance of the Ben Lee Room, which enables access for those with wheelchairs and walkers.

The barn complex has had extensive repairs to the roofs as well as the exterior of the buildings.

We continue to work with BC Parks to develop the heritage buildings, making history come alive. The Friends of Fintry host three fairs each year….. the Mother’s Day Fair in May, Summer Fair in July and Fall Fair in September. Watch our website for other special events.

Fintry Estate Letterbooks

The Fintry Estate Letterbooks comprise handwritten letters, with some typed letters, primarily written by Geordie Stuart. Stuart was the Fintry Estate accountant and  brother of Katie Stuart, a close friend of Captain Dun-Waters’ first wife Alice. Numbered titles of the letterbooks correspond to the original numbers on each book.


Excerpt from Letterbook 46

Our Collections

When the Friends of Fintry Society was formed, the Manor House and the Barn Complex were without any furnishings.    To avoid the disappointment of giving tours in an empty house, we negotiated the loan of a collection of mounted birds of prey which occupied the available space for the first two seasons.  This was followed by a loaned exhibit of paintings by Gwen Lamont and ceramic works by Bob Kingsmill.

Our next move were to repaint all the rooms and a start was made on building our collection to re-furnish the house and barns.   Thanks are due to Ken Mather at the O’Keefe Historic Ranch who took care of many pieces originally from Fintry. These were brought back and formed the core from which the collection has continued to grow.


Kodiak bear

With the assistance of Rod Stuart and his family we were able to recover several pieces of original furniture, books and household items. The Kelowna Museum returned the surviving taxidermy specimens, notably the Kodiak bear, now the centre-piece of the Trophy Room.

Visitors today see a mix of original and recently acquired material, donated and purchased, that makes an informative tour possible.

Additional objects, specially chosen, represent themes that were of interest to James Dun-Waters, such as the Yukon back pack and the original horseshoes on the interior doors.

The collection includes the Fairbridge Reference Library, with an emphasis on agriculture and horticulture. James Dun-Waters was a man of varied interests, and his restored domain exemplifies that fascination with the world around him.


Manor House dining room



Fintry Dining Room

Heritage Buildings

The Fintry Estate, a heritage site with a colourful history, encompasses 360 hectares and several heritage buildings. When Dun-Waters purchased the delta in 1909, his first priorities were to build a home and to create a water system from Short’s Creek. During his ownership of the land, Dun-Waters also cleared much of the delta for farming and built a Pelton Wheel water-turbine system to harness energy from the creek. Fintry quickly became one of the most comprehensive agricultural estates in the Okanagan Valley, complete with landscaped gardens, a 40-acre orchard, sawmill, additional residences for farm personnel, stables, four upland hunting lodges, a quarry, a roofed-in electrically lit curling rink, and one of the only circular (octagonal) dairy barns in the province.

The Manor House, 1950s

The Manor House

After a year of living in the small house on the property, Dun-Waters began building the new house. He contracted friend and architect John J. Honeyman to design the Manor House and Kelowna stonemason John Abbot Bailey to construct the house, and he installed a water system for irrigation and domestic use.


The Manor House was completed in 1911, using granite quarried from the nearby cliffs for the foundation, exterior walls and massive fireplaces. The house had spacious living quarters with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a sitting room, living room, dining room and full basement, part of which was a secure cellar for the private stock of Dun-Waters’ ‘Laird of Fintry’ whisky. The original house was destroyed by fire in 1924, but the foundation walls remained intact.  Dun-Waters rebuilt the house on the same footprint, adding a trophy room and stone grotto to showcase the Kodiak bear.

Fintry dairy barn complex, 1930s

Octagonal Dairy Barn

Fintry’s octagonal dairy barn is believed to be the last standing eight-sided barn in BC and one of only a few in Canada. Dun-Waters again contracted John J. Honeyman to design and build the barn in 1924, requesting this innovative design to house his Ayrshire cattle.


The dairy barn features a central silo ringed by stanchions and pens. The concrete floor was unusual in 1924, but much safer for cattle and men than a wood floor. The barn is one of Fintry’s premium buildings with permanent exhibit boards created by the Friends of Fintry, opened by Mayor Sharon Shepherd and Art Harrop in 2006.

Fintry packinghouse, 1930s

Fintry Packinghouse

When Dun-Waters purchased the property in 1909, the agricultural base of the Okanagan was changing. Orchards were replacing ranches and sternwheelers opened the lake for transport and shipping. By 1920, Dun-Waters had cleared and irrigated over 200 acres of the bottomland and planted over 5,000 fruit trees. 

 In the decade from 1927 to 1936, the Fintry orchards produced an average 22,000 boxes of fruit a year.

The packinghouse was fitted with a second Pelton wheel turbine to generate electrical power for the cold storage of the fruit and the fruit-sorting machine. The packinghouse operated from 1924 to the early 1940s and was continued by the Fairbridge Farm School after Dun-Waters’ death.

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