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McRdNor.jpg (30040 bytes)

Ashley and Harold McCowan on McCowan Road, Looking North
Farmers in 1910 ... Subdivision Developers in 1950

Changes in transportation too have accelerated over the past century. Please send your stories -- train, trolley, bicycle, walking 2 miles to school... 


Some Transportation-Related Stories and Information
As Published in
Neigh the Front -- Exploring Scarboro Heights
Drawing Hay on McCowan Road Photograph, ca 1910
Kingston Road Photograph, 1913
Kingston Road Aerial Photograph, 1950
Horse and Carriage Photograph, ca 1900
Pioneer Travel 1800-1835
Labouring Class and Capital Projects Road Construction ca 1837
The Auto Arrives Motoring and Leisure Time
Streetcar Service To Scarboro Heights Park
Two-Wheel Brakes A Radial Car and Tragedy, 1919
Getting old cars off the road Spitefully
Coal delivery in bags
Riding the rails: Mike, the Transient The Great Depression
Streetcar service disrupted Storm of '35
Model T and Willy's Knight Old cars on the Farm
Road Construction Equipment Mischievous Mishap
Trespassers will be Persecuted
Hand-Drawn Fire Fighting Equipment
Grand Trunk Railway The local station
Fighting the Marshalling Yard and Scarborough Expressway Community Solidarity



Some Related Stories and Info on This Web Site
(Other than the above Links)
(Back Issues of Scarboro Heights Record Generally)
Marion Thomson McCowan The waiting list for phone service
Streetcar Service Disrupted Storm of '35
Memories -- on the Farm Model T


A Tough Pathmaster

In his later years, James Weir, was remembered fondly by his grandson, Clark Secor, as a kind and gentle old man. But in the process of becoming a wealthy landowner, this immigrant from Lanarkshire must have pushed a few people around...

To Daniel Tudhop, Bosanquet, Widder Station P.O.
June 19, 1868
Dear Cousin,

Father recieved your letter and was glad to hear that you was all well - I did not intend to write to you till I got a letter from you as I wrote to you last but Father wanted me to write and let you know that he had not heard of a machine for sale yet - he said that if you like he will let you have his and would get a combined one - he is going to get a new mower this summer any way - he said I could tell you that he thought it was worth $40 - forty dollars - so you must write as soon as you get this and let us know if you want it - it is a little out of repair just now but he is going to get it fixed next week so that it will be in good running order. We have very warm wether down heir. Just now the crops looks well - the hay is very heavy and some of the wheat and barley is laid down - they had a great time working on roads last week with Jim Weir - he was pathmaster so they quarrled all the time - some of them left and would not work any more and some of them was going to wipe his mouth with the spaid - so you see Jim is as well liked as ever. Willie McCowan (his nephew) is living with him this summer. When you write let me know how you are all getting along - this leaves us all well at present - hoping it will find you all the same - so with kind love to you all I remain

Your affectionate cousin,

John Weir jun., Scarboro

The Scarboro Heights Record V12 #4

Two-Wheel Brakes, A Radial Car and Tragedy, 1919

Lack of evidence last night at the Morgue caused the adjournment of the inquest into the death of Elizabeth Caroline Bell, who was killed on June 29 when an auto-truck in which she was riding was struck by a radial car at Stop 19, Kingston Road. Testimony given showed that at the time of the fatality, the truck driven by Samuel Barnes, now in hospital with a broken collar-bone, was heading from the lake and ran straight into the street car, in charge of Motorman William McCowan. The truck was hurled into a telegraph pole and overturned, Miss Bell being thrown upon her head. She sustained a fractured skull.

Loose newspaper clipping in Robert McCowan collection, believed to be 1919

The McCowan Society contributed financially to "The Toronto Maps Project" which directly led to the publication of Street Railways: Toronto, 1861-1930, compiled by J. William Hood. The McCowan Society is distributing this 32 page illustrated booklet. Contents include:

  • The humble beginnings of Toronto's public transit in the shop of H. B. Williams, cabinet-maker, who built the first four of six-passenger omnibuses
  • Listing and short descriptions of street railway routes which had been started before 1900 (horse-drawn until the early 1890s)
  • 7 maps
  • 7 photographs
  • Summaries of the various Street Railway companies in the Toronto area, including the Toronto & Scarboro Electric Railway, Light and Power Company
  • Formation of the Toronto Transportation Commission in  1920 (through amalgamation of the several remaining companies)

Please place an order for Street Railways: Toronto, 1861-1930.

The Scarboro Heights Record  V10 #11
The McCowans' Who's Who  Vol. 11

Here's how one "got around" in Scotland 300 years ago:


Interactions with Others
Social and Economic

While there was some geographic redistribution of population 3 centuries ago, the very poor roads limited the commercial movement of people and goods in the countryside. The road a dozen or so miles south of Lesmahagow was described thus by a traveller from London:

The road, or rather sheep track (for since leaving Douglas, I hardly saw any other), was so obscure I could hardly find a way, and the rocks were so thick and close that I had often much ado to get myself and horse between them. Now I was on a vast precipice of a high rock, with the river running under me, and anon in a bogg, and by and bye my horse began to tyre and jade.

Cited in Greenshields, Annals of Lesmahagow, pg 274-5
The Scarboro Heights Record  V10 #5