Andrew McCowan (1874-1951) spent much of his youth herding Highland cattle in Perthshire. His entrepreneurial spirit took him to the Lowlands where he quickly realized his potential -- lemonade delivery boy to confectionery agent to manufacturer in a few short years. A. McCowan and Sons Ltd. was established in Stenhousemuir in 1924 and a decade later "Highland Toffee" was born.
The Highland Cow has been a symbol of McCowan's "commitment" for over half a century. Andrew McCowan's early commitment to this one-time mainstay of the Highland economy encouraged him to create, in his company, a mainstay in the Stenhousemuir economy. The relationship between McCowan's and the community has always been one of interdependency, cooperation and mutual benefit.
Traditions such as Highland Toffee are important components of cultural heritage. McCowan's commitment to tradition and cultural heritage extends from product recipe to international cooperation and support. McCowan's new management team in the early 1990s has been working closely with the James McCowan Memorial Social History Society in an effort to reveal the soul of the Scottish-Canadian. The story of the Scottish ploughman is part of the story of the Scottish-Canadian. McCowan's commitment to the community and to cultural heritage is indeed a Scottish tradition.
The McCowan Society is very fortunate to have McCowan's Ltd. of Stenhousemuir, Scotland, as a Benefactor.
Heritage Showcase 1993
On behalf of McCowan's Ltd. of Stenhousemuir, Scotland, the James McCowan Memorial Social History Society in Canada is pleased to announce the winner of the "Highland Cow Limerick Contest". Mr. Jim Willson of Etobicoke, Ontario, visited the McCowan Society display at Heritage Showcase, held February 18-20, 1993 in Sherway Gardens Mall in Metropolitan Toronto. He and many proud Scots and, indeed, others were attracted by the grand and colourful tapestry of the "Highland Cow" above the McCowan Society table. The McCowan Society was selling McCowan's Highland Toffee -- a part of Scottish culture for sixty years -- in a fundraising for their Scottish heritage publishing projects. The founder of McCowan's Ltd., Andrew McCowan, herded highland cattle in Perthshire as a youth almost 100 years ago. Today, the Highland Cow is famous as a trademark of his company. So, congratulations to Jim Willson -- he won a pound of McCowan's Highland Toffee for his "Highland Cow Limerick":
Jim's winning limerick from Toronto about the Isle of Lewis (as in "Lose") soon inspired a limerick from Lewis about Toronto -- a very clever bit of poetry indeed! Jim explains:
"I had sent a copy of my limerick to some acquaintances at Stornoway on the island of Lewis and received back a postcard of a Highland Cow with the following Limerick and a complaint that it was much easier to rhyme 'Lewis' than 'Toronto'."
The McCowan Society is collecting Scots' stories -- in prose or in verse! -- relating to personal experiences with Highland Toffee -- "COO CANDY". Stories about war-time rationing, events going to or returning from the sweetie shop, and comments! from schoolteachers, parents, ministers, and dentists will all be of interest to be sure! Stories about life in Stenhousemuir amongst the makers of Highland Toffee will be particularly appreciated. Please send your "McCowan's Highland Toffee Stories" to:
The James McCowan Memorial Social History Society, c/o 19 Monarchwood Crescent, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3A 1H3, 447-4895, firstname.lastname@example.org.