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Scottish Diaspora Tapestry


D. Bruce McCowan, P. Eng., OCT

Chair, PEO Education Committee, 2010 to 2012
Member, OSSTF District 12 Professional Development Committee, 2009-2012
Chair, PEO Engineering Education Conferences, 2008 ("What Students Want to Learn") and 
2009 ("Outreach Through Partnerships")


Currently Working on These Projects:



Some Past Papers, Publications and Presentations

  • 1997 World Gas Conference
  • Engineering Principles and the Object Oriented Methodology
  • Thinking Skills for Innovation and Problem-Solving: An Education Perspective:  in Canadian Young Scientist Journal, #3.2011
  • Back to Basics: PEO Engineering Education Outreach Conference, 2011
  • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: OSSTF District 12 Professional Development, 2012
  • The Completely Acquainted Engineer:  PEO Engineering Education Outreach Conference, 2012
  • Discussion Panel Moderator, Mathematics Education and Curriculum: PEO Engineering Education Outreach Conference, 2014
  • Discussion Panellist, Shaping Our Future With Math and Physics: PEO Engineering Education Outreach Conference, 2015
  • Agricultural Change in Cumnock, 1600-1830: Dumfries House, 2013


Reviews of Some Publications by D.B. McCowan
-- Socio-Economic Evolution --

When the Ground Fails -- An Economic Watershed

When the Ground Fails is a valuable story of economic change in rural Scotland two centuries ago. Hammered out by the tools of new technology and the emerging spirit of entrepreneurism, an unrelenting transformation-machine forced decision makers to re-evaluate their methods of dealing with the needs and wants of people of all classes. The writer, Bruce McCowan, has made an intellectual contribution to Scarborough’s Scottish Heritage.

From the Afterword by Bhagat Taggar, P.Eng.


To Sustene the Personis -- The Agricultural Revolution

I read with interest this very enlightening booklet about Britain’s agricultural revolution and its connection with Scottish migration to the New World. I commend the author and the Society for this contribution to our understanding of our heritage, and I look forward to their future publications in this important area of historical research.

John S. Moir, M.A., Ph.D., D.D., Emeritus Professor of History, University of Toronto, Past President of the Canadian Society for Scottish Studies


Fairs and Frolics -- Scottish Communities at Work and Play

Bruce McCowan has chronicled Scottish social gatherings from 17th century lowland "fermtouns" to early 20th century agricultural communities of southern Ontario with his wry Scots humour. Fairs and Frolics shows us how the members of one specific culture have enjoyed the pleasure of each others’ company for generations.

R. Scott James, Managing Director, Toronto Historical Board


The Scots Kirk: An Oral History of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Scarborough

Readers of this oral account of St. Andrew’s Church, Scarborough, very quickly discover how the community in general and the Kirk in particular have changed over the years, on occasion transforming and sometimes being transformed… This oral history contributes to an understanding of the St. Andrew’s community through its rural / urban evolvement while providing a solid basis for further studies of its ministry in the years ahead.

From the Afterword by John Alexander Johnston, M.A., Th.M., Ph.D., D.D.


Neigh the Front: Exploring Scarboro Heights

Neigh The Front is a veritable gold mine for teachers, historians, or anyone who is interested in local history. Through a collection of letters and interviews, the reader is taken along an historic journey through two centuries of this region's past. Students of all ages will be surprised at how easy this collection of primary historical sources is to understand and how clear our past can become by reading the thoughts and reflections of those people who have lived it.

This anthology allows the reader to catch glimpses of bushwhackers felling trees for Kingston Road's "corduroy" surface. One also sees that not so long ago, the weary traveller in these parts had to contend with attacks by wolves and bandits as well as muddy roads and the elements. The first cars in the area are described as are the traffic jams which clogged Kingston Road by the 1930's. The experiences of local farmers during the World Wars and the Great Depression are also brought to life.

As with the invaluable website which complements this booklet, Neigh The Front is filled with exercises and questions which can readily be used in any classroom. For all of these reasons, Neigh The Front deserves a prominent spot on every teacher's desk.

J.P. Hoekstra, Head of History, R.H. King Academy

Further Information Here Regarding these Publications


The Successful Teacher: 1830-1988

Those unaccustomed to primary source examination will undoubtedly find this booklet a refreshing opportunity to involve themselves more fully in the interpretation of history. Overall, with its abundant endnotes, this publication provides a well-rounded glimpse into the education history of Scarborough. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly because very little has been written of the personal nature of educational history in Ontario, The Successful Teacher constitutes a valuable contribution to this neglected field.

Duncan Urquhart, Historical Studies in Education, Vol. 1 #1


The Successful Editor

Scarborough Historical Notes and Comments began as an eight page pamphlet in 1976. When Dr. F. Nicholson retired as Editor in February 1987, the journal was averaging some 30 pages or 30,000 words per issue. Several featured works from his fine quarterly were listed in the Canadian Historical Review. Notes and Comments was issued free to members of the Scarborough Historical Society.

Under the new editor, D.B. McCowan (1987-89), for the first time, an attempt was made to earn revenue through the sale of Editorial Board publications. (Notes and Comments was still issued free to Society members.) Revenue from the sale of Kennedy and The Successful Teacher in 1988 was $1,674.00. In 1989, $1,396.00 was earned through the sale of Kennedy, The Successful Teacher and Notes and Comments Vol. 12 and Vol. 13, #1. Orders were received from across the Continent.