Blog and photos by: Iain Robert Reid
History and accessible nature come together at Fintry Provincial Park in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. This is not just a wilderness park with undisturbed nature. In fact, there is a long history of human use in this area by First Nations, Europeans settlers, and more recently camping enthusiasts. In addition to historical features, Fintry contains a beautiful stretch of gravel beach, an impressive canyon and waterfall, as well as beautiful Douglas-fir forests.
The Shorts Creek delta, on which Fintry is located, is believed to have first been used as a fishing camp by First Nations travelling along Okanagan Lake. Various Europeans have settled on the delta since then. Thomas Dolman-Shorts, from who Shorts Creek is named, was the first to do so. He operated a boating service transporting people and goods across Okanagan Lake. Captain James Cameron Dun-Waters was next to take over the estate, which he named Fintry after his hometown in Scotland. Dun-Waters changed the delta into a productive farm with award winning cattle, an orchard, irrigation and an electricity generating system, He constructed houses, a wharf, and fruit packing building to aid in his operations. Dun-Waters was eventually forced to sell the property due to illness. The entire estate was sold to Fairbridge Farm Schools for the hefty price of $1. The school brought in orphans from England and trained them to be farmers. The impressive estate can be toured today, including the inside of the manor house and around the various buildings on the property. Fintry has certainly had a colourful history.
This park has a marvellous canyon and waterfall which can be viewed from a boardwalk paralleling Shorts Creek. The changes in topography are quite stark and can be noticed as one climbs up a series of staircases from the flat delta. Along the way to the top, there are excellent views over the entire Fintry Estate as well as of Okanagan Lake.
There are also wonderful gravel beaches to explore along the edge of the lake. One could spend a lot of time enjoying the sun and taking a dip during the long summer days here. I was very impressed by the quality of the campsites and facilities, including their wheelchair accessibility.