Scottish Heritage Days
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The recognition and celebration of multicultural events in the community is an important part of Canada's multicultural heritage. These events contribute to the diversity and richness of the country. Thank you for this Scottish heritage celebration of Ontario.

James G. Brown, M.P.P, Scarborough West

On behalf of the Province of Ontario, I wish to extend my very best wishes to the Scarborough Scottish Heritage Society on this very special occasion. Your dedication and commitment to the Scottish community is very much appreciated and your achievements are an inspiration to the community as a whole...

Hon. Marilyn Mushinski, M.P.P., Scarborough Ellesmere

I am pleased to have the opportunity to extend my congratulations to the Scarborough Scottish Heritage Society and the other participants...

Gerry Phillips, M.P.P., Scarborough Agincourt

... This is a time to recall with pride, the courage, strength and patience of past generations, as they worked to establish their families in Scotland and in their chosen homeland, Canada. And this is also a time to celebrate with pride, and to share with your neighbours, the rich culture and heritage of the Scottish community...

Jim Karygiannis, M.P., Scarborough-Agincourt


Why Scottish Heritage Days in Scarborough in 1996?

  • We will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the settlement of Scarborough, primarily by Scots
  • We will recognize the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, now viewed as one of the most significant watersheds in Highland history. More importantly, we will celebrate 250 years of enormous Scottish achievement -- after Culloden, Scots quickly became world leaders in business, politics, culture and education
  • We will mark the 200th anniversary of the death of Scotland's Robert Burns, one of the world's great literary figures
  • We will celebrate the literary contributions of Scarborough's own Alexander Muir, author of The Maple Leaf Forever
  • We will honour Scarborough's Scottish Pioneer Families

From the preamble to When The Ground Fails: An Economic Watershed


Half a million residents of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, celebrate their BiCentennial in 1996. Now one of Canada's fastest growing cities, Scarborough grew up as an agricultural Township in the shadows of neighbouring Toronto.

A large percentage of Scarborough's early settlers were Scots, including the following families:

Aitken Baird Beattie Bell Bowes
Brown Brownlie Buchanan Clark Clelland
Cochrane Core Cowan Crawford Crichton
Crone Davidson Dickson Elliot Ferguson
Findlay Fisher Fleming Forfar Frame
George Gibson Gilchrist Glendinning Gordon
Graham Grant Green Halliday
Hamilton Heron Hunter Johnstone Lawrie
Little Malcolm Marshall Martin Maxwell
McCowan McDiarmid McKean McLean McNair
Moffat Muir Neilson Oliver Paterson
Paton Porteous Purdie Rae Reid
Rennie Russell Scott Smith Stirling
Stobo Tacket Telfer Third Thom
Thomson Torrance Tudhope Tweedie Weir
Wilson Young

Many of these families were from Lanarkshire or Dumfriesshire -- other counties in Scotland are also represented. Alexander Muir, author of the famous anthem, The Maple Leaf Forever, was one of Scarborough's best-known Scots -- "Scarborough's very own Robbie Burns"! Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, was particularly well-represented in Scarborough by 1835.

To commemorate the significant contributions of Scots to the economic and cultural wellbeing of the community, plans are well-underway for "Scottish Heritage Days in the City of Scarborough, July 5-7 and Nov. 30 1996". "Scottish Heritage Days" is being organized as a component of Scarborough's BiCentennial Celebration by the James McCowan Memorial Social History Society and the Scarborough Scottish Heritage Society in cooperation with St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Scarborough, and many other Scottish cultural groups and individuals.

Some events during Scottish Heritage Days are:

  • Stage Production of With I Hope a New Face: The Story of a Newcomer to a New Land (Friday, July 5 1996, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church) A true story about immigrants to Scarborough and the development of their entrepreneurial ideals. To be performed by Like Magic Productions.
  • Scarborough's Scottish Pioneer Families' and Clan Gathering (Saturday, July 6 1996, Thomson Park). With Scottish entertainment for everyone.
  • Kirkin' O' the Tartan (Sunday, July 7 1996, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.) Followed by a picnic in Thomson Park. Dr. Harrold Morris, retired senior Minister of Glenview Church and past Moderator of the General Assembly and present President of the St. Andrew's Society of Toronto will conduct the Kirkin' O' the Tartan service. (Also, on July 14, St. Andrew's will hold a Decoration and Remembrance Service at Scarborough's oldest Christian burial ground.)
  • Scottish Heritage Symposium and Dinner (Saturday November 30 1996, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church) Featuring Professor William Dick, University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus, Department of History "The Significance of Culloden in Scottish History and Dr. Henry Courtenay Clarke "The Scot in the Multicultural Community".
  • Production and Publication of When the Ground Fails: An Economic Watershed (June 1996) An important chapter in the social and economic development of the Scots who later settled in Scarborough in the early nineteenth century. To Scarborough they brought their values -- including profound respect for freedom, individuality, faith, family, honest toil and material wealth.


The McCowan Society began planning for Scottish Heritage Days in the City of Scarborough in early 1995. By January 1996 it was clear that many other Scottish cultural groups wished to be involved. On the suggestion of the McCowan Society, the Scarborough Scottish Heritage Society was established on January 17 1996 during a planning meeting for Scottish Heritage Days. About 20 individuals representing a cross-section of Scottish culture were the founding members. The sole purpose of the Society is to coordinate Scarborough's Scottish Heritage Bi-Centennial Projects (1996).

From "From Croft to Clearing", Vol. 4 No. 1


Groups that participated in Scottish Heritage Days in the City of Scarborough, along with other acknowledgements, are listed here.