Toronto -- A Place of Meeting
The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #5
Note: Please refer also to our Pre-History page.
Early Archaic Occupation
Name of Historic Site
McCowan/Cudia Site, ca 8000 BC
(See also McCowan Farm: "Springbank", the original settlement of the McCowan family, 1833)
Lots 20-22 Concession B and south end of Lots 20-22 Con C, Scarborough (near the Scarborough Bluffs, bounded by Gates Gully on the east, Lake Ontario on the south, Balcarra Ave. / Pineridge Dr. on the north and Fenwood Heights Blvd. on the west). (Including the extreme southwest 5 (approx) acres of lot 19.) One site of archaeological finds is known more precisely. Cudia Park comprises (approx.) the southwest quarter of the site. Part of "Muir's Gully" is the east portion of Cudia Park.
Perly's 1997 Map Coordinates: 37, B6-C6 (Meadowcliff Dr. / Cudia Cr.)
Cudia Park is presently under-utilized recreationally. Otherwise, the area is presently executive residential. Doris McCarthy's property, "Fool's Paradise", at the east end of the site has been donated to the Ontario Heritage Foundation. The site of the 1833 cabin is on a vacant lot and relatively undisturbed. A section of the Toronto Waterfront Trail is nearby.
Historical Description and Significance
This site embraces several key heritage notions:
Significant to the prehistoric human occupation are the watercourses running through the nearby ravines (Gates Gully and Muirs' Gully). Also significant is part (lot 20) of the site's relative isolation from, yet proximity to, Scarborough's artery, Kingston Road. Rather isolated by two deep gullies, the Scarborough Bluffs and the steep shoreline of Lake Iroquois, this fertile holding was among the few that had not been taken up by 1833. In 1833, a Scottish coal and lime entrepreneur, James McCowan, knew the value of closeness to markets -- the property's nearness to Toronto offset the handicap of the surrounding terrain. An early implementor of iron rails for coal transport in underground mines, James McCowan was confident that he could cut a trail through the ravine to link his tenanted farm to Kingston Road.
Short Chronology (lot 20 portion)
Rationale: In cooperation with other immediately local stakeholder groups, there is significant opportunity to provide interpretation on a wide variety of heritage themes (aboriginal and early Scottish occupation, arts, nature, geological formations)
Reference Sources and Additional Materials
See attached list (34 of the most relevant items in our Scarboro Heights bibliography)
In particular, Associate Professor Bruce Schroeder, University of Toronto, "Evidence for Early Human Presence in Scarborough", Scarborough Historical Notes and Comments, 1989 (V XIII, No. 1).
The McCowan Collection of points includes evidence suggesting that the McCowan-Bellamy Road lakefront area may be the earliest known site of human occupation in Toronto.
Aug. 3 2000 and Reprinted in The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #2