Nestled in the heart of Thomson Memorial Park are the four heritage buildings that make up Scarborough Museum. This is where one vibrant community celebrates its diverse past, present, and future.
History and daily life come together in an engaging community space that has become the heart of the park. Hear stories, new and old, that have shaped the ever changing community of Scarborough. Whether visiting for weekend festivals, summer evening activities, day camps, or youth programs, there’s something for everyone’s tastes.
Feel the warmth of the ﬁre in an old hearth, taste freshly-baked goods, be immersed in the Indigenous garden and murals or join one of the many culinary events. Learn how Scarborough developed from land farmed by Indigenous peoples and settlers to a major suburb of North America’s fourth largest city.
Discover more about the city and help build another chapter in the story of this vibrant community.
HistoricTO interior tours:
- Pay What You Can by Donation
Admission for children ages five and under is free. Guests can pre-register online or purchase tickets in-person.
Hours of Operation
Time-ticketed HistoricTO tours are offered Wednesday to Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures
Proof of vaccination is not required for participation in indoor or outdoor museum programming (in accordance with the Reopening Ontario Act). Active screening, contact tracing, masking and physical distancing are in place to provide a safe museum experience for our guests and staff.
- Picnic area in park
- Free public parking
- Partial accessibility, please contact the museum for full details.
From 401 eastbound: Take the Brimley Road S. exit. Continue southbound on Brimley Road to Thomson Memorial Park and turn left into the parking lot.
From 401 westbound: Take the McCowan Road S. exit. Turn right on Ellesmere Road and then left on Brimley Road. Follow Brimley Road south to Thomson Memorial Park and turn left into the parking lot.
Take the Brimley # 21 bus from Kennedy Subway Station. The bus stops outside the park entrance. For specific TTC route and schedule information call 416-393-4636 (INFO) or visit the TTC website.
As part of the Scarborough Museum, the Cornell House offers a look at rural village life circa 1914 and is furnished to depict that time period. The Cornell House was constructed in 1858 and was originally home to Charles Cornell, his wife Matilda and their eight children. Charles father, William Cornell, came to Scarborough from Rhode Island in 1799. William Cornell built the township’s first sawmill at Highland Creek and along with Levi Annis, cut the ‘Front’ road along the lake in the early 1800s. Known as the ‘Cornwell Road’, it was improved and straightened in 1817 and renamed Kingston Road. Charles’ youngest daughter, Matilda inherited the house in 1887, and lived there with her mother and older brother Fred who operated a small orchard and market garden.
McCowan Log House
The McCowan Log House has been restored and furnished to portray the life of local settlers in the 1850s, and was constructed in the 1830s. The house was owned by William P. McCowan (Willie) who was born in 1820 in East Auchanbeg, Lesmahagow Parish, Lanarkshire, Scotland. In 1833, Willie emigrated to Scarborough from Scotland with his parents and siblings, and in 1848 he purchased 100 acres, the north half of Lot 13, Concession 4 which included the log house. The log house was located on the banks of Wilcot Creek in the northern part of the Malvern area in Scarborough. The building had additions and renovations made over the years and was moved to the Thornbeck property on Littles Road in 1948. In 1974 the building was moved once more to the Scarborough Museum.
Hough Carriage Works
The Hough Carriage Works collection displays carriage making equipment and artisans’ tools that demonstrate the importance of transportation in the rural community. Henry Hough operated a carriage building and blacksmith shop at the southwest corner of what is now Eglinton Avenue East and Birchmount Road on land patented by his father Joseph in 1846. The shop began operating about 1856 and in the 1861 census Henry is listed as a wheelwright. The carriage making shop was a two storey wood frame building with wooden runways outside to bring the completed carriages down from the second floor. On the first floor the wagon parts were built and assembled while on the second floor, the paint and finishing touches were applied.