Big Joe Mufferaw

Joseph Montferrand

Voyageur, logger, strong man, and a figure of legend; b. 25 Oct. 1802 at Montreal, son of François-Joseph Favre, dit Montferrand, voyageur, and Marie-Louise Couvret; d. 4 Oct. 1864 in his native town.

Joseph Montferrand, dit Favre (the Favre comes from his grandfather François Favre, dit Montferrand), belonged to the third generation of Montferrands in Canada.

He grew tall (six feet, four inches) and strong, but especially he was fast and agile. Various witnesses of the time say his body moved like a whip. As a teenager he was known for beating up neighbourhood troublemakers and even winning a boxing match against a boxing instructor.

Young Montferrand first drove a cart, but was eventually lured by money, or love of the outdoors, to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Logging took him along the rivers of Lower Canada and also the Upper Ottawa River, working in the camps all winter and driving the logs downstream to the mills in spring.

His image lives on divided. In English he evolved into something of a Paul Bunyan character

In French-speaking Canada he became a strong man who helped the weak, resorting to violence as a last resort, preserving traditional values.

His legend lives on in poems, stories, books and songs – the most recent written and performed by Stompin’ Tom Connors.


Big Joe Mufferaw

Explorer’s Point, the site of the Mattawa Museum includes a hand carved pine statue of one of Canada’s folk heroes, Joe Mufferaw, perfect for a photo opportunity.

Big Joe Mufferaw’s real name was Joseph Montferrand. He was a real strongman, a logger in the Ottawa Valley. He lived from 1802-1864. This is the latest statue carved by Clermont and Costel Duval and erected in 2017. It stands 5.8 meters tall (19.03 feet).

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