Burrows Hall
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One of Toronto's Lost Historic Sites

The following reference material regarding Scarborough's first Town Hall was submitted by the McCowan Society to the Toronto Lost Historic Sites Project in the summer of 2000. I will upload other McCowan Society submissions in upcoming issues of the Scarboro Heights Record. (The actual Project report is presently confidential, so I am only uploading submitted details that are not sensitive.) I understand that a book will be published in 2002.


Name of Historic Site: Woburn Hotel and Scarborough Town Hall / Burrows Hall

Site Category: Inns and Hotels

Location: Markham Road and Painted Post Road (the old Danforth) in Woburn Village (NW). 

Current Use: Commercial

Historical Description and Significance

Woburn Inn built about 1845. A hall above the Inn's drive-shed was the very modest meeting place of Scarborough Council from 1850 until 1921, or for almost half of the municipality's autonomous existence (1850-1997). Scarborough Fair was frequently held at Woburn Inn. Innkeepers included Dowswell, Burrows and Johnston.

Relative Importance

The drive-shed and Burrow's Hall are significant as the very humble centre of municipal decision-making for such a lengthy period.

Planning Implications

Note: Plaque erected by Scarborough Historical Society in 1976.

Reference Sources

  • R.R. Bonis, "A History of Scarborough", p. 108, 133, 176-7, 179, 284
  • Scarborough Historical Notes and Comments Vol. XVII


From The Scarboro Heights Record V9 #7



A Surviving Landmark of Municipal Government

Could the end be near for another landmark of municipal government? The CIBC bank branch in Birchcliff is closing in June 2003. Built in 1919, the upper storey was used for over 20 years by the Township Municipal government. Robert McCowan was Scarborough Township Reeve during some of those earliest years in the building, 1923-25. Miss Palk, his part-time assistant, remembered that Mr. McCowan would not sign a cheque unless he knew all of the precise details. Let's hope that this important historic building is preserved for decades to come.


council.jpg (24230 bytes)

Scarboro Township Council, 1925
Taken Outside the Old Township Office at Birchcliff

W.D. Annis, Clerk H.E. Becket, 3rd Dep. Reeve Geo. Moore, JP, Councillor J.T. Stewart, Treasurer
Jas. M.T. Weir, 2nd Deputy Reeve Robt. McCowan
Geo. Little, 1st Dep. Reeve


The original framed photograph is still proudly displayed in one of the McCowan homes.

From The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #3