Close your eyes…think back to when a trip along the Okanagan Lake to Vernon or down to Penticton meant a leisurely scenic and romantic journey on the Sicamous vessel.
It was one of three luxury paddle wheel steamships connecting the various “landings” along the way, such as Okanagan Centre Landing, Wilson’s Landing, McKinley Landing, Carr’s Landing, Caesar Landing and Okanagan Landing.
The route connected the passengers and freight from the Kettle Valley Railway in Penticton to the same from the CPR mainline in Sicamous.
Fruit was picked up at many of these stops from packinghouses built along the lakeshore for better access to the steamers and then delivered to railways for transport outside the valley.
One of these stops was Fintry. The packinghouse at Fintry is the last of its kind to survive.
European history at Fintry began in about 1882 when Captain James Shorts purchased the land and, unbelievably, made a living hauling freight by rowboat up and down the lake from Vernon to Penticton.
When the steamers arrived in 1893, he was quickly put out of business. After passing through several hands, Shorts Point as it was called then, was purchased by James Cameron Dun-Waters who re-named it Fintry after his home in Scotland.
For 30 years Dun-Waters developed the Fintry delta into a dairy farm and world renowed breeding operation for Ayrshire cattle. He developed one of the first telephone systems in the valley and constructed his own hydroelectric power plant running off the spectacular Shorts Creek Falls.
Now, to think only a few years ago, this beautiful historical delta with its fertile farmland and fabulous buildings, was destined to become a development project.
But due to public input from concerned citizens, the provincial government made the visionary decision to declare it a provincial park.
The base was created for the nonprofit group Friends of Fintry to begin restoring the buildings and gardens.
The “Friends” have made huge strides since then, such as the restoration of the unique octagonal dairy barn and the manor house.
The packinghouse, while not yet accessible to the public, has been secured from future deterioration and will be restored as funding permits.
That brings me to the exciting fundraiser on Saturday in support of these efforts. Do yourself a favour and mark your calendar for May 14, and check out the Fintry Spring Plant Festival that takes place at the Fintry Manor House.
This will be a fabulous event for gardeners and non-gardeners alike of all ages.
Also, on Friday night at 7:30 p.m., be sure to take in the lecture in the theatre at Okanagan College, by Barry Agar, head gardener at Royal Roads University. Check out the website www.fintry.ca for more information about the events at Fintry on Saturday.
Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 News Talk Sports Saturdays at 8 a.m.