Toronto's Lost Sites Project
Home ] Up ] Springbank ] 8000 BC ] Cornell Farm ] Gates Gully ] Scarboro Heights ]



Studies: Publications

Educational Resources

Historic Sites in Scarborough Heights

Links for Toronto Links

Scarboro Heights Record

Search This Site

Table of Contents


Letter of Appreciation
From the Toronto Planning Department

January 23 2002

James McCowan Memorial Social History Society

My sincere thanks for your contribution to A Glimpse of Toronto's History: Opportunities for the Commemoration of Lost Historic Sites. I am pleased to enclose a copy of this study for you. Congratulations also to the Toronto Historical Association for its leadership in promoting the concept for this study and arrranging for the involvement of its partners expecially the Maps Project.

I understand that the preparation of the study was, for many, a labour of love and the outcome reflects the level of commitment by the many heritage volunteers who participated in its development. The study will inspire people to do much more to research and commemorate the stories of the people and events of Toronto's past. Also, it is excellent background research for the new Official Plan for the City of Toronto.

To celebrate the publication of this study and by way of a thank you to the many volunteers who contributed to the study, I will be hosting a reception on Thursday, February 21, 2002, 6:00 to 7:30 PM, Toronto City Hall Members' Lounge, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto.

I hope you will attend this celebration.

Yours truly

Paul J. Bedford
Chief Planner and Executive Director
City Planning

Re-printed in The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #5


And We Continue to Contribute

... But we think there should also be a strong expression of "What can be done in the context of developing Toronto that continues the good works represented in the report" -- historic plaques, parks, interpretive educational programs, walking tours, publications, easements for significant sites, reproduction construction, stage production, and public art.

One such project is our Sept. 7 walking tour of the Scarboro Heights lakefront area (McCowan Road - Bellamy Road) including the McCowan Settlement Lost Historic Site.


The James McCowan
Memorial Social History Society
is Proud to be
"Front and Centre" at a Major Exhibition

Toronto -- A Place of Meeting
10,000 Years of Toronto History

Toronto Reference Library, Canada Trust Gallery
789 Yonge Street, Toronto, 416-395-5577
June 28 - September 22, 2002
(and May 17 - Aug. 2, 2003)

On Display will be

  • The Robert Ashbridge McCowan and William Harold McCowan Collections of Indian artifacts. These collections include the earliest known evidence of human occupation in Toronto, approximately 8,000 BC. The sub-title of the exhibition, "10,000 years of Toronto History", was so chosen due entirely to these relics found by Ashley and Harold McCowan.

  • James McCowan’s letter of August 20 1834, written from Springbank, Scarborough (lot 20 Conc B), 8 days before his death of cholera. This letter is very significant to medical history in Upper Canada for it’s references to cholera deaths in the neighbourhood and, in particular, for McCowan’s first-person description of the early symptoms of cholera.

The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #5

Toronto's Lost Sites Project

In March, 2000, the Toronto Maps Project Editorial Board prepared a list of 250 "Lost Heritage Sites" in the City of Toronto. The intent was to demonstrate to the Toronto Planning Department just what valuable heritage sites have been lost up to now because of re-development.

The James McCowan Memorial Social History Society was surprised, yet pleased, to note that the "McCowan Farm" was listed as one of these important lost sites. Also listed were over a dozen other sites in the former City of Scarborough. The McCowan Society was asked by the Maps Project to submit data for several of these sites that would support their selection for presentation to the Toronto Planning Department.

In August 2000, the McCowan Society contributed supporting data for the following Lost Sites in Scarborough:

The first two are in the Scarboro Heights area -- generally the Brimley / Kingston / Bellamy Roads portion of the Lakefront. The Cornell Farm is just a little east of Markham Road and may also be rather considered "part of" Scarboro Heights. This truly recognizes Scarboro Heights as a historic community.

Gates Tavern and Gates Gully were not among the 250 listed sites -- but we submitted a description anyway because of their relative importance in the context of Scarboro Heights. Gates Gully, recently transformed by a major public works, is the route for the new Doris McCarthy Trail. We also contributed an additional item regarding "Scarboro Heights" itself to underscore the historic importance of the overall community.

Several of our submissions are at the links at the top of this page.

Each McCowan Society submission included:

  • Name of Site
  • Site Categories
  • Location
  • Current Use
  • Historical Description and Significance
  • Relative Importance
  • Planning Implications (Critical Example)
  • List of Reference Sources and Additional Materials

The final report was released at a reception in Toronto City Hall in February 2002.

We are flattered that the 1833 McCowan Settlement site on Meadowcliffe Drive is one of only 14 "Lost Historic Sites in Toronto" that were selected to be on


From The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #2