On the west shore of Okanagan Lake in the city of Kelowna in Canada’s British Columbia, and south of Vernon, lies a small community ideal for campers, birdwatchers and hikers due to its unspoiled and pristine natural resources. This Garden of Eden in Okanagan was created and developed by James Cameron Dun-Waters and gave it its current name, after his ancestral home in Scotland. Its rich, colorful and interesting history is preserved in the many impressive heritage buildings found within the area.
Through the middle of this community runs the significant Shorts Creek, named after Thomas Dolman Shorts. This man was the very first white man who fell in love with this untrodden and unchartered territory. He even called the undiscovered delta his home. He provided the first commercial transportation in Okanagan Lake by rowing freight and passengers through this creek all the way to Penticton. Shorts Creek is responsible for the spectacular triple waterfalls in Fintry. From Terrace Mountain, its water flows through the hills, rests under Westside Road and runs calmly beneath the bridge at the entrance of Fintry Provincial Park. The cascading water from these waterfalls is one of the many attractions of Fintry. Fintry Provincial Park makes it easy for waterfall enthusiasts and watchers to bask in its glory by providing a sturdy staircase leading to these nature’s wonders. The 400-step stair allows watchers to admire the tumbling water on one side and the stunning Okanagan Lake on the other end. Climbing up these steps is included in the Shorts Creek Canyon Trail, a perfect way to explore Fintry’s magnificence. Other activities you might enjoy before reaching the waterfalls are strolling along cottonwood forests, hiking along narrow steep cliffs and deep canyons, and crossing suspended bridges that lead to a wooden viewing platform.
Fintry Provincial Park occupies 360 hectares of this small but abundant piece of land. It is a recreation park that includes deep canyons, wetlands, forests and loads of fascinating encounters with wilderness. Aside from the waterfall hiking trail, it also offers a campground, a beach and some historical landmarks. A perfect destination for a family, the park is ideal for bird watching, sightseeing and water activities such as kayaking, wind surfing and scuba diving. It provides amenities such as picnic tables, toilets and showers to make sure that people will have a great time at the park. Kids will also enjoy the playground area available. Historical features of the park reflect old country architecture. Exploring these sites helps to learn more about Fintry’s past and the man behind it, Dun-Waters. The Manor House, for one, was built for his first wife Alice.
The one-storey house’s thick walls were made from granite that came from the cliff just behind the house. It also had a stone grotto that featured a huge Kodiak bear that he had shot and mounted. The house was burned down and was rebuilt with the same stone foundation. Before he died, he sold the property to Fairbridge Farm School, an organization that sent orphans to the colonies to learn about farming. They used the property to put to practice their knowledge by running and managing the orchards within Fintry. The school closed and the new owners of this place became interested in turning Fintry into a resort. Due to its isolated and remote location, they were never successful. Nowadays, an organization named Friends of Fintry is making an effort to restore the estate to its original appearance and state. Other interesting spots are the unique Octagonal Dairy Barn, remnants of power generation and irrigation systems, the Packing House and other farm buildings. The main purpose of Fintry park is the conservation of certain features such as the Shorts Creek Canyon, where lies the scenic Fintry Waterfalls. It also offers grounds for spawning kokanee, or Sockeye Salmon, and essential rearing habitat for eastern brook trout and rainbow trout.
The park also encompasses the Fintry Protected Area which serves as a natural habitat for California bighorn sheep. Other wildlife is present in this part of the park such as Townsend’s Big-eared bats, Western Grebe, great horned owl, northern goshawk and many more. The 523-hectare protected area also provides increased representation of the North Okanagan Basin.