Home ] Up ] Entrepreneurism ] Slavery ] Hiring Fairs ] Community Effort ] Learning Unit: On the Farm ]



Studies: Publications

Educational Resources

Historic Sites in Scarborough Heights

Links for Toronto Links

Scarboro Heights Record

Search This Site

Table of Contents



Work is such a fundamentally important activity for all of us that we really need to enjoy our job.  Two hundred years ago in Scotland, "their way of living and their industry have a mutual influence".  The Scots really knew how to survive in the world of work.

barnnrth.jpg (15258 bytes)

Please send me your stories of "work" -- here's a couple from Scarborough. The first story is about working in the McCowan barn which stood just about where the H.A. Halbert gymnasium is now.

Another happy memory of Papa, my grandfather, was the way in which he would keep us busy in the hay mow when we were quite young and just starting to help on the farm. He would have us tramping the hay so that we could get more in the mow. He had a phrase, "put your foot on that, Mr. Britton". He would keep us working and he always had some little thing to say that made work seem like fun.

Walter McCowan, July 13/93

Indeed, the trick to enjoying their work was to make it fun:

Bill Hobbs from Agincourt was pretty proud of his threshing machine. He had a good outfit and took care of it. It had a Hart-Parr oil-pull gasoline engine. One particular time he was threshing alfalfa at McKean's in the early 30's. End-drive barns had a lot of waste space in them so it was extra important to tramp the hay down as it came in from the field. So the McKeans had had a horse tramping in the mow to gain more room. They had first noticed that a shoe was missing when the horse was brought down out of the mow -- but it was just as likely that it was missing before the horse went up in the first place. Harold Cook and I and one other young fellow were assigned to work in the mow during the threshing. Of course, Hobbs' threshing machine would not get along at all with a horseshoe, so the McKeans told us to keep an eye open for it. So we did -- but we decided to have some fun with Hobbs at the same time. So we grabbed a dozen or so rusty old horseshoes that were hanging on a rail by the stable door and took them up into the mow. Every now and then, one of us would "find" a horseshoe in the hay and throw it down to Hobbs. Hobbs knew we were just teasing him -- and he didn't like it!

Blake Weir, July 11/93

From Fairs and Frolics: Scottish Communities at Work and Play