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Canada's Most Precious Asset

Water is one of our most very basic needs. People die if they don't drink enough clean safe water. We learn in school that Canada has about 20% of the world's fresh water -- lakes and rivers galore. Pretty impressive. Can we afford to give some away to those who desperately need fresh drinking water? Certainly, if we go about it sensibly.  Should we allow multinational corporations to pump out Canada's lakes indiscriminately, without limit, and sell our water to the wealthy -- to irrigate their lush lawns that they should not have planted there in the first place? Many Canadians think not.

If you want to join the fight to save our fresh water supply, please contact:

The Council of Canadians
151 Slater St.
Suite 502
Ottawa, ON

The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #11

The Healing Powers of Water

Sometime shortly before 1817, the William P. McCowan log house was built a stone's throw or two from the once-renowned "Scarborough Springs". These mineral waters had been known for their healing properties. More on this later, but, in the meantime, a mineral waters in Bridge of Allan, Scotland, was to soon become a "health spa" retreat for hundreds.

John McCowan, a 70 year old retired tailor in Bridge of Allan, and his wife earned some income by lodging "strangers" who came to these local "baths". In the following letter, John first laments the disappearance of one of his sons in America. Construction investment at the bath house threatens the rental income of local folk. John had loaned a sum of money to his brother-in-law several decades earlier -- and was never repaid.

The scientific work of John's grandson, John McCowan, 1863-1900, partially explains the destructive power of water -- tsunamis.


Bridge of Allan
April 29 1869
Dear Sister

We received a paper from you this day in which the advertisement about my son Arch’d was. We are certainly much oblidged to you all for the trouble you have taken about him to find him out. We all concluded that he would be dead somewhere but our hopes have been raised again after they had been sunk, by our receiving news papers which neither came from you nor yet from nephew Archd besides some of them & at least one of them had his name written with pencil upon it, and not only so, but we got yours, a weekly Toledo Blade of date Toledo Ohio April 1st having his name upon it in print. The same as we have sometimes received on the papers you have sent to us, so that from such proofs we must conclude that he is still alive but where he is we cannot say but I hope that the notice that you have put in the Toledo paper will be the means of finding him, so that if it catch his eye at any time he will see our anxiety about him and stir him up to let us know how he is and where he is. We cannot understand what can be his reason for not writing to us, as he was formerly very regular in doing so, but we must just wait a little longer, in hope that he will see the announcement in the papers about himself and then he surely will write. But whatever way it turns out, we cannot express our gratitude to you all for the trouble you must have put yourselves to on our account. I hope and wish that the blessing of the Lord may attend you all for your kindness in this affair. I hope it may all turn out for our good. We are all well at present. This is a time when a great many strangers are here at the wells. Our houses here are mostly let to Lodgers. I intend to buy a Bridge of Allan paper on Saturday to send to you, in which you will see that there are a great deal of people here at present. This is our busiest time in the year to make up our rents. My wife is very much toiled in cooking for them. You have here the picture of the house where the mineral water is drunk, also of the baths for invalids, a much frequented place. They have always a great many lodgers. They are making a great addition to the bath house this season, and when completed it will be a great building and will contain a great many Lodgers itself, which may be against other peoples houses letting but the place is always increasing. We have new houses getting up every year. It vexes me often to think that I might have had a house of my own when I have it not, but have to pay a heavy rent, but I must not repine. My days here cannot be long now, but I may be thankful that at present I am so well, for a short time ago I was confined to my bed. The rest of my family are just about the same way as when I wrote last. I hope you and your family are all well. I must conclude at present, wishing every blessing to attend you & yours is the earnest prayer of your affectionate brother,

John McCowan

John McCowan letters at the Ontario Archives
The McCowans' Who's Who
, Vol. 9