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St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Scarborough, (the oldest in Toronto) has been a special place for both the McCowans and the Weirs since 1833.

Were it not for "Anniversary Sunday" (always the third Sunday of June) and that old-time rural hospitality, these stories could probably not be told. In her Weir family research, Mom describes how her parents were "put together" at an Anniversary supper. Some forty years later, Grandpa and Grandma Weir and Mom drove down from Unionville to the Anniversary service. They were invited for Sunday dinner to the Doc Art Thomson home and for supper to the Harold McCowan home on Kingston Road. There she met Dad.

Mom and Dad have been faithful to St. Andrew's ever since, even though they have spent over half their married life twenty miles away in Pickering...

While ministering at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Scarborough (1953-1960), I became acquainted with two renowned curlers, Ashley and Harold McCowan, and with their wives and families. Our families, on many occasions, appreciated the culinary skills of their wives. Both of them were lovely ladies whose memory we treasure.

Harold McCowan was a member of the Board of Managers and Treasurer of the Congregation.

Ashley McCowan was a highly respected elder. When I went to old St. Andrew's, in the fifth year of my ministry, Mr. McCowan took me aside and said, "Now don't you worry about the older people: go out to all these new subdivisions and bring in the young families." It was good counsel. When the Boys' Brigade was starting, he advised me that he would be willing to provide any financial resources that were necessary. "Just ask", he said, "but keep this between ourselves". As it turned out, he kept his promise without having to be asked.

On our visits to the McCowan home, Ashley McCowan and I indulged our strong liking for buttermilk.  Paul Hegarty, a choir member for some time before he returned to Northern Ireland, remarked "Standing beside Ashley McCowan is like standing beside a great big oak." None could have said it better.

Ashley and Harold McCowan have a place of honour among the pioneer and later members of historic St. Andrew's, Scarborough. Happily some of their children and grandchildren still serve the Lord in the work of the congregation. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.

Rev. Frank Conkey, June 23, 1992

From The Bill and Nancy McCowan Fortieth Anniversary Album


More St. Andrew's Stories

A pious member's personal library James McCowan
Temperance Movement Essays by youth
St. Andrew's 150 Years Ago Book Review by M. J. Ujimoto
The Scots Kirk, An Oral History of St. Andrew's Presbyterian, Scarborough Book Review by George Beatty
Cropshare Program Food Supply for the less fortunate
Easter Egg Fundraising Margaret Carr and Nancy McCowan
Child Mortality St. Andrew's cemetery statistics