The End of an Era
Captain Dun‑Waters lived at Fintry for fifteen years after Alice’s death. He spent more and more time with his beloved Ayrshire cattle, promoting the breed throughout the province and writing numerous articles about the quality of their cream and milk. He continued to gift Ayrshire calves to junior farmers across the province and donated a starter herd to the new Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School at Cowichan Station, B.C. The Canadian Ayrshire Breeders’ Association presented him with a life membership.
On one of his trips to Vancouver, Dun‑Waters met young Margaret Menzies, a recently immigrated Scottish lass who worked as a secretary at the Vancouver Hotel. He was quite smitten, and on his next trip proposed marriage. Margaret accepted, and the 30-year-old young woman accompanied Dun‑Waters back to Fintry. Katie and Geordie Stuart moved out of the Manor House to the nearby Burnside house.
A few short years later, Captain Dun‑Waters was diagnosed with cancer. Having no heirs, he attempted to sell the Fintry Estate. He advertised the property through a brochure, offering 2500 acres with the houses, dairy operations, buildings and orchards for $100,000. The 1930s were a difficult time with the country in economic depression, and he had no takers. A suggestion from a friend convinced Dun‑Waters to donate the estate to the Fairbridge Farm Schools Society, and in July 1938 he turned most of the property over for the sum of one dollar, retaining only the Burnside house and 20 acres at the mouth of Shorts Creek.
Enjoy the audio, “The End of an Era”, with a transcript
Dun‑Waters died four months after the first group of 28 boys and four girls arrived in June 1939. Shortly before his death, he took the children to dinner at the National Hotel in Vernon and treated them with ice cream for dessert. Under each dish was a silver dollar. Dun‑Waters’s obituary October 16, 1939, published in the Vernon News, noted, “he expressed his pleasure, more than once, at the fact that he had been spared to see the first group of young lads come to the new school . . .”
Following Dun‑Waters’s death, Margaret found Fintry too isolated for her liking and moved to Kelowna. The Farm school operated for nine more years. After the Second World War, fewer children were sent overseas and the Fairbridge numbers dwindled. The Fintry school closed in 1948 and the remaining Ayrshires were sold to farms across the province.
Today, descendants of the Fintry Ayrshires are found at dairy farms throughout the Okanagan, British Columbia and even across Canada. The University of British Columbia continued their herd until 1986, when the last small herd of Ayrshires left the campus.
The Fintry Estate rejoined the British Columbia Ayrshire Club as a member in 2003. The Estate is now a heritage site and the Octagonal Dairy Barn and Manor House are museums within Fintry Provincial Park.