Hannah Ashbridge McCowan
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Hannah Ashbridge, a descendant of one of Toronto's first settlers, Sarah Ashbridge, was born on the Scarborough homestead of her father, Isaac, near Midland Avenue and Kingston Road, barely a mile west of the birthplace of her future husband, Robert McCowan. She was a co-founder of the Lakeview Womens' Institute. Of their six children, only 3 (Ruth Evelyn, Robert Ashbridge and William Harold) survived childhood. Helen McCowan Thomson is Harold's only daughter.

Hannah Ashbridge "Mama" McCowan
By Helen McCowan Thomson

For the younger McCowans, we McCowans on the farm always called our Grandmother and Grandfather "Mama" and "Papa".

I remember when we used to say "The 24th of May is the Queen's birthday and if you don't give us a holiday, we'll all run away". Of course we were celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday and it was also "Firecracker Day". On the 24th, Uncle Jack Heron used to bring out a big bag of fireworks to Mama's and all of Uncle Ashley's and us would gather on Mama's front lawn for the display. We had a great time watching the rockets and running around with the sparklers.

One evening Dad was driving Mom, Mama and me up McCowan Road (I should have said "the sideroad" as we called it). We went over the railway tracks at a pretty good clip, and Mama and I in the back seat flew up in the air. Mama, being taller than I was, hit the roof support, and got a nasty gash in her head which required a few stitches.

On my 12th birthday, Mama gave me a gold signet ring with my initials on and, over 60 years later, I still wear it on my little finger.

From The Scarboro Heights Record V3 #2