March 17 1896
Two of these Scarborough curlers played in a commemorative match on March 17 1896 in connection with Scarborough's Centennial celebration. James W. McCowan and John Gibson teamed up with six of their contemporaries (in two rinks), all of whom were born in Britain close to eighty years earlier. These oldtimers from the Old Country narrowly lost the match to eight from the next generation, all born in Scarborough. (Gibson and McCowan had arrived on the same ship from Scotland in 1833.)
This interesting match commemorated the match played sixty years earlier between the "Auld Gang Siccars" and the "Wully Draigles". Gibson and his brother James, and McCowan and his brother-in-law James Weir were the surviving "Wully Draigles" -- they were the youngsters in 1836.Commemorative Bonspiel
October 18 1996
Tam Heather Curling Club
Scarborough's longstanding connection with curling reaches another milestone on October 18 1996 with another commemorative match, this time in celebration of Scarborough's Bi-Centennial.
A "Funspiel" to be sure, four rinks are competing for the "T. Kennedy Trophy". This trophy was first given in 1889 at the Scarborough Markham Unionville Curling bonspiel. The trophy was recently "discovered", looking somewhat forgotten it seems, on a cabinet at Tam Heather Curling Club.
The four competing rinks represent several of Scarborough's oldest curling families. Brothers Bob, Jack and Bill McCowan and their cousin, Walter McCowan, could almost be called an old-time "Four Brothers Rink". Their grandfather, Robert McCowan, was Vice-President of the Maple Leaf Curling Club in 1896 and was on the winning side in the commemorative match 100 years ago. Their great-grandfather, also named Robert, was a brother of James Whiteford McCowan. Although apparently not as active a curler as James, Robert played for Scarborough in several of the matches with Toronto in the 1840s.
The Grant rink, representing Markham / Unionville at the 1996 Bonspiel, includes John Grant, Ross Baker, Bruce Cooperthwaite and George Miller. Representing the old Heather Club is the Wheler rink: Stew Wheler, Bill Walton, Carl Sellers and Jim Muirhead. The Everest rink of John Everest, Harry Learoyd, Ted Tibbles and Bruce Tibbles is representing the Scarborough Junction part of the old Township.
Curling equipment is restricted to old style kitchen corn brooms. Delivery must be from the hack and the rock must be released before the tee-line. Two four-end games will be played from 7-9 pm.
The rules respecting attire are strict -- wool mits, plain wool coats or sweaters, rubber shoes or boots -- definitely no sliders! Names on sweaters are prohibited. The only hats allowed are fedoras & curling tams.
Many thanks to Crawford Smyth for arranging this great event!