The James McCowan Memorial Social History Society is named for James McCowan, a Scottish coalmaster and farmer, who immigrated to Scarborough in 1833 with his wife, Margaret Porteous, and eight children. They settled at the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs along the present Meadowcliff Drive.
We were flattered that the original McCowan Settlement site on Meadowcliffe Drive is one of only 14 "Lost Historic Sites in Toronto" that were selected to be featured on the Toronto Planning Dept. web site at www.city.toronto.on.ca/torontoplan/lost.htm. In 2002, we received a nice letter from the Chief Planner for the City of Toronto thanking us for our help on the Lost Sites Project.
Illustration by George Duncan
For an "ordinary" Scot born well over two centuries ago, James McCowan's life is surprisingly well-documented in a variety of written sources. We were very pleased to assist the producers of the BBC Radio Scotland radio series and book, "The Lowland Clearances", both featuring one familyís last few decades in Scotland in the context of socio-economic turmoil. The following list of short articles is a very small sampling of other information that has been prepared, to date, in relation to the life and times of James McCowan.