10,000 Years of Toronto History
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Several of these events were sponsored, in part, by
Bea McCowan, Broker
HomeLife / Gold Trade Realty Ltd. Brokerage


Publisher and Executive Editor of

The Scarboro Heights Record

Dedicated To Promoting
Community Events, Multicultural Activities,
The Arts, Non-Profit Groups,
Local History and Local Heroes

www.scarboroughrecord.com

Please send stories of life in the community,
announcements and any other correspondence

to the above email address.

 


Newsflash!

The James McCowan Memorial Social History Society
In Cooperation With
The Scarboro Heights Record
Presents

The Janet McCowan Community Studies Essay Competition


Your Community
In a World History Context

The James McCowan Memorial Social History Society is offering a prize for the best essay on the following subject:

Discuss the impact of the agricultural revolution in Lowland Scotland on the development of rural Scottish communities in pre-Confederation Canada.

Lesson Plans

Exercises

Learning Objectives -- Building A Country

  • To identify some signs and effects of over-population
  • To identify some of the forces that can initiate socio-economic change
  • To recognize that value systems evolve over time
  • To acknowledge that value systems contribute to community-building


Now Available from The McCowan Society...

"The Lowland Clearances": The Book, by Peter Aitchison and Andrew Cassell -- more of the data that was gathered for the acclaimed three-part BBC Radio Scotland Series -- Including interviews with descendants of Scarborough's Scottish families (Tuckwell Press) $29.00. Order a copy...

This publication is a followup to the BBC-Radio Scotland series this past spring. The McCowan Society was pleased to help with this exciting investigation into a little-known socio-economic disruption in Scotland.

 


 
Your Community in a
World History Context
Is the Subject of our
Student Essay Contest


An Introductory Student Workshop will be held at
Cedarbrae Library, Cruikshank Room
545 Markham Road on
Monday March 1 2004, 1:30-3:00.

416-447-4895 (Bruce McCowan)

Everyone is invited to this Workshop
To learn about Scarborough's Scottish Heritage

 


The James McCowan
Memorial Social History Society

And the
Scarboro Heights Record
Present

10,000 Years of Toronto History
and
Your Community in a
World History Context

Oct. 2003 to Sept. 2004

An Exhibition At

Cedarbrae Library
545 Markham Road
Scarborough
416-396-8850

Featuring

The McCowan Collection

Including the earliest known evidence of
human occupation in Toronto,
approximately 8,000 BC

An Upper Canada medical history treasure --
a first-person description in 1834 of
the early symptoms of cholera

 
Scarborough in a
World History Context
Is the Subject of our
Student Essay Contest

A student workshop will be held at
Cedarbrae Library.

416-447-4895 (Bruce McCowan)

 

Note: See also below, in connection with our earlier exhibition at Toronto Reference Library.

The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #10 


Scarboro Heights
Historic Sites Walking Tour
Part 3

What: The Pioneers' Kingston Road Historic Walk. Following the old route blazed by the Annis brothers over 200 years ago and finishing up at Washington United Church, 3739 Kingston Rd. for a Corn Roast / BBQ (modest extra cost). The historic walk is the fourth led by Bruce and Bea McCowan. We'll pass close by the earliest known site of human occupation in Toronto -- 10,000 years ago!

When: Sept. 20 2003, 2:00 pm (Rain date is the following day, 2 pm)

Where: For starting location and other details, call 416-447-4895 or send an email to the above address.

Why: Fundraiser for Scarborough's oldest public art -- to help restore damaged gravestones at Washington United Church. 2003 is the 200th Anniversary of Washington United Church. This walk is a joint project of the Scarboro Heights Record and the Bi-Centennial Committee.

More Information here.

 


The James McCowan
Memorial Social History Society

And the
Scarboro Heights Record
Are Proud to Be
"Front and Centre" at another Major Exhibition

Toronto -- A Place of Meeting
10,000 Years of Toronto History
10,000 Years of Toronto History
May 17 - August 2, 2003

Toronto Reference Library, TD Canada Trust Gallery
789 Yonge Street, Toronto (1 block north of Bloor),
416-395-5577 or 416-393-7131
Mon-Thur. 10-8;  Fri-Sat. 10-5


The McCowan Collection

The Robert Ashbridge McCowan and William Harold McCowan Collections of aboriginal artifacts include the earliest known evidence of human occupation in Toronto, approximately 8,000 BC. The sub-title of the exhibition, 10,000 years of Toronto History, was so chosen because of two of these relics found by Ashley and Harold McCowan. For many years, a partial skull was also in the attic of the Harold McCowan home -- and the associated family story relates to the "wigwam that must have been down by the bush".

James McCowan’s letter of August 20 1834 was written from Springbank, Scarborough, 8 days before his death of cholera. This letter is an Upper Canada medical history treasure, not just for it’s references to the cholera deaths in the neighbourhood but, in particular, for McCowan’s first-person description of the early symptoms of cholera. Springbank was on Lot 20 Concession B less than 1/2 mile east of the location of the aboriginal artifact finds.

Notes regarding this medical history treasure.

You can also take the Virtual Tour at
http://indexes.tpl.toronto.on.ca/vexhibit/Toronto/TPM/home.html. Click on the spearpoint   and then on the "View Timeline" link to start your tour of the McCowan Collection. The "Paleo-Indian", "Archaic Spear Points", "Ground Stone Axes" and "Ontario Iroquoian Pottery" are from the McCowan Collection. The James McCowan letter of 1834 is also in the virtual tour. The estimate of 500 deaths by cholera in York that year is probably low -- many were very quickly buried in common graves.

The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #6 

Note: Please refer also to our Pre-History page.


If you missed this talk, "10,000 Years of Toronto History", at North York Central Library, we will be holding it again, as part of...

Scarborough's
Scottish Heritage Afternoon

May 31 2003, 1:30 PM
The Bluffs Gallery
Scarborough Arts Council

1859 Kingston Road, Scarborough

  • 10,000 Years of Toronto History -- (see details below)
  • The Lowland Clearances -- The Scarborough Connection: We will also listen to this BBC-Radio Scotland program. This series has a strong focus on the impact of the agricultural revolution on Scots who emigrated to Scarborough in the early 19th century.

Cost:  Free.
Refreshments: Provided by Bea McCowan, Associate Broker, Homelife / Gold Trade Realty Ltd., Executive Editor, "Scarboro Heights Record"

McCowan Society local history publications will be available for sale. 35% of sales will be donated to the Scarborough Arts Council.

Need More Info? -- Call 416-447-4895 or send an email to the above address

The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #5


Toronto: One Family's Story
The McCowan Collection

Where: North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge St., Toronto, Meeting Room 1
When: Tuesday February 18th, 2003, 7- 9 pm
Cost:  Free. (No registration required.)
Refreshments: Provided by Bea McCowan, Associate Broker, Homelife / Gold Trade Realty Ltd., Executive Editor, "Scarboro Heights Record"

McCowan Society local history publications will be available for sale

Bruce McCowan of the James McCowan Memorial Social History Society will speak about the archival and artifact collections of the McCowan family of Scarborough. From the oldest known evidence of human occupation in Toronto -- 10,000 year-old aboriginal spear points -- to oral histories gathered very recently for the latest McCowan Society publication, Bruce will survey a broad range of leases, wills, personal letters, bankruptcy papers, coins, furniture and architectural and agricultural relics, all weaving the story of an ordinary Scottish Canadian farm family into the wider context of their community.

This Heritage Month event, also billed by the Toronto Public Library as "Toronto: One Family's Story", is in connection with the "10,000 Years of Toronto History" exhibition at the North York Central Library, Canadiana Department, where several McCowan Society artifacts are on display from October 2002 until April 2003.

Bruce McCowan is Senior Technical Writer, Genesis Microchip, in Markham, managing editor of www.scarboroughrecord.com and author of numerous papers, booklets and books on socio-economic history. His latest book, Neigh the Front -- Exploring Scarboro Heights, has been nominated by a third party for a Heritage Toronto award. Bruce may be reached at the email address at the top of this page  .

Contact: B. McCowan, 416-447-4895
Email address at top of this page
www.scarboroughrecord.com
www.mccowan.org

The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #10

Late breaking news...

"Toronto: One Family's Story" will soon be followed by the BBC Radio Scotland program "The Lowland Clearances: One Family's Story". The experiences of the McCowan family of Cumnock, Lesmahagow and Scarborough will be the key material in one segment of the series. If you would like to assist with Canadian promotion of this important series on a little- understood phenomena in Scottish History, please contact Bruce McCowan, 416-447-4895. The programs will be broadcast in late May and early June -- days and time to be confirmed.

If your organization wishes to partner with the McCowan Society on related heritage projects (see www.beamccowan.com/place.htm) and meet briefly with the BBC-Scotland Producer on location in Scarborough, please contact Bruce McCowan, 416-447-4895,  immediately.

Currently On Display at the North York Central Library Canadiana Department are:
--The Robert Ashbridge McCowan and William Harold McCowan Collections of aboriginal artifacts. These collections include the earliest known evidence of human occupation in Toronto, approximately 8,000 BC. The title of the exhibition, 10,000 years of Toronto History, was so chosen because of two of these relics found in the farm fields by Ashley and Harold McCowan about a century ago.

Related McCowan Society Publication: "Neigh The Front -- Exploring Scarboro Heights" is an educational resource which uses local history as a catalyst. Reviews are at www.beamccowan.com/reviews.htm. (142 pages, 20 photos, 3 maps). Proceeds go to the Janet McCowan Fincham Memorial Scarborough Community Studies Program.

How to Order "Neigh the Front": Send $17.00 cheque to the James McCowan Memorial Social History Society, c/o 19 Monarchwood Crescent, Don Mills, Ont., M3A 1H3, 416-447-4895 (Includes postage). An order form is on http://www.beamccowan.com/publicat.htm.

The Scarboro Heights Record Vol 11 #1 

Directions to the Library:

The Library is at 5120 Yonge St., on the northern perimeter of Mel Lastman Square, just north of the former North York City Hall. It is located at the west end of a shopping mall, the North York Centre. The parking lot under the mall offers a flat rate of $2.50 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday to Friday. The entrance to the underground parking is on Park Home Ave. which runs east-west and is located at approximately the 3rd light north of Sheppard, west off Yonge. (The Novotel is on the southwest corner.) Turn left coming from the south. The subway stop is North York Centre. Take the stairs at the head of the platform and proceed through the exit turnstile. Turn right immediately and ascend two escalator flights to the main floor of the mall. Walk straight on to the end of the mall. Make a left turn into the atrium of the library. Take the stairs in the centre of the atrium. Room 1 is the second room on your left. For further info regarding the library, please call 416-395-5535.


The James McCowan
Memorial Social History Society
And the
Scarboro Heights Record
Are Proud to Be
"Front and Centre" at a Major Exhibition

Toronto -- A Place of Meeting
10,000 Years of Toronto History

Toronto Reference Library, Canada Trust Gallery
789 Yonge Street, Toronto, 416-395-5577
June 28 - September 22, 2002


The McCowan Collection

The Robert Ashbridge McCowan and William Harold McCowan Collections of aboriginal artifacts include the earliest known evidence of human occupation in Toronto, approximately 8,000 BC. The sub-title of the exhibition, 10,000 years of Toronto History, was so chosen because of two of these relics found by Ashley and Harold McCowan. For many years, a partial skull was also in the attic of the Harold McCowan home and the associated family story relates to the "wigwam that must have been down by the bush".

James McCowan’s letter of August 20 1834 was written from Springbank, Scarborough, 8 days before his death of cholera. This letter is an Upper Canada medical history treasure, not just for it’s references to the cholera deaths in the neighbourhood but, in particular, for McCowan’s first-person description of the early symptoms of cholera. Springbank was on Lot 20 Concession B less than 1/2 mile east of the location of the aboriginal artifact finds.

Notes Relating to the Letter of 1834

  1. "Tiger" William Dunlop was one of Upper Canada’s most colourful figures.
  2. Springbank, the McCowan residence, was at the foot of the present Meadowcliffe Drive in Scarborough on "the flats" below the pre-historic shoreline of Lake Iroquois.
  3. It was a Scottish custom to refer to one’s brother by his occupation. James’ brother, David McCowan, was a mason, importer and architect in Trinidad. David, "the mason", was one of those energetic Scots who took the new capitalism to the corners of the British Empire.
  4. James Lang, Springbank, Lesmahagow, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Robert Thomas McCowan, a military surgeon and "ship's doctor", was a son of David McCowan in Trinidad. James Lang and the Doctor may have served together at sea and heard the same story. This story of David McCowan’s death is unconfirmed and the "acount of the maner in which he came by it" may be interesting reading in light of David’s numerous debts.
  5. William Porteous McCowan (1820-1902) survived the cholera. He farmed at Springbank, Lot 20, Concessions B and C as a tenant until 1848. His log home on Lot 13, Concession 4, Scarborough, is now a museum.
  6. "Captain" James Gibson was probably related to James McCowan’s former landlord in Lanarkshire, John Gibson.
  7. John Muir was the father of Alexander Muir, author of "The Maple Leaf Forever". Alexander Muir and Jean McCowan were baptised together in Lesmahagow Parish on April 17 1830.
  8. The families of James McCowan, James Gibson, John Muir, Robert Tacket and Mary Weir had all arrived in Canada from Lanarkshire on the same ship in the spring of 1833. Mary Burns was Mrs. Archibald Muir, Lot 21, Concession C. The Stobos were prominent in the timber business and held over 400 acres in lots 21 to 23, Concessions B and C.
  9. James had paid off some of David McCowan’s Scottish creditors, in connection with his importing business.
  10. An intensely religious man, James’ library includes many religious books.
  11. These are among the early symptoms of cholera -- "dite" perhaps meaning diction or style of writing. See also O’Gallagher, Marianna, Grosse Ile 1832-1937: extract from Quebec Mercury, Jan. 14 1832: "Cholera -- Symptoms: gidiness, sick stomach, nervous agitation, intermittent slow or small pulse, cramps beginning at the tips of the fingers and toes, and rapidly approaching the trunk giving the first warning..."
  12. Referring to his new life in a new land, James and his third son, David, died of cholera 8 days later.

Further information is in Neigh the Front Neigh the Front -- Exploring Scarboro Heights.  Please refer also to our detailed James McCowan Bibliography.

The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #7 

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