Taught the Value of a Shilling
Financial Literacy, Earning an Honest Living & Related Ramblings
George Edward McCowan
(March 21, 1922 – February 9, 2021)
pages, over 50 illustrations)
In this lively and
evocative narrative, which shows the interweaving of family and place, George
Edward McCowan imparts his vast knowledge and enthusiasm in dialogue with D.B.
McCowan. Drawing on oral history, maps, printed and manuscript material and a
wide range of material culture, including furniture, they tell stories of
Scotland and Scarborough through the prism of family life. Along the way,
readers learn about nineteenth century pedagogy, the Scottish coal industry and
the country’s vibrant financial sector, as well as the operation of farm
insurance in the risky venture of immigrant settlement in southern Ontario. This
is a tender but also rigorous exploration of diverse experiences in Scotland and
Canada that illuminates local life and history—and also much beyond.
James, PhD, Scottish Studies Foundation Chair
Director, Centre for Scottish Studies
Professor, Department of History, University of Guelph
A former Chair of the Professional Engineers Ontario Education Committee, D.
Bruce McCowan has produced a valuable and well researched publication in
association with George McCowan (1922 –2021). This publication documents the
McCowan family’s progress in both Scotland and Canada where they became very
successful. The title ‘Well
Taught the Value of a Shilling’ reflects the economic pressures present
in the background of the Scottish coalfield in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire in the
early nineteenth century. It is amply illustrated with original documents and
excerpts from relevant sources. Readers will find this publication both
interesting and useful in understanding the background to many Scots Canadian
Jane Jamieson, Editor,
Ayrshire Notes (Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society) and
...He [George] took his house keys from his pocket and then said “oh heck,
here, (handing her his keys) you are family, go down and get one yourself”,
explaining step by step how to navigate in order to locate the squash. George
was a trusting soul... Our entire community has reaped
bushels of benefits from our dear friend, relative and good neighbour, George
From the Foreword by Janet Lawrie Whiteley
...This story allows the reader a chance to garner valuable insight into the
lives of members of a Scottish family in areas of Scarborough that parallels
many other families in Canada, as we grew to become the nation we are today. In
addition to seeing the “value of a shilling”, we are treated to gaining a
better appreciation of the people who helped build our community and the value
of knowing their names.
the Preface by David Rowan, Principal, R.H. King Academy, 2019
...We are forever grateful to George for believing that philanthropy has an
important place in society and for choosing to make Markham Stouffville Hospital
a priority in his life.
the Afterword by Elaine Bernard, Senior Development Officer,
Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation
Price per copy:
$18.00 (includes postage) ($2.00 discount if payment is received before Sept. 1)
Please make cheque
payable to: “James
McCowan Memorial Social History”
Send cheque to: D.B.
McCowan, 19 Monarchwood Crescent, Toronto, Ont., M3A1H3
you wish to pay by e-transfer, please phone D.B. McCowan at 416-447-4895.
purpose of the James McCowan Memorial Social History Initiative is to contribute
to a growing body of work celebrating the endeavours, achievements, trials and
tribulations of Scots and Scots’ descendants in Canada.
PS: The George McCowan Award for Math Literacy has already had one
well-deserving recipient at a Toronto high school. (This award is underwritten
by D.B. McCowan.)
James McCowan Memorial Social History Initiative
Please print and fill in the order form.