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).
The Making of Big Joe Mufferaw

Our talented Mattawa photographer Danny Turcotte ( captured Big Joe in a new way at night with some flashlights and some light painting.

There is no photoshop in this photo. It was done in the dark with his camera on a tri pod taking a long photo and as it takes the photo he used flashlights and sparks spinning in the air which creates this effect. He actually ran around creating the image.

“You can see me standing there spinning the fireworks which gives the photo scale to show how tall Big Joe is as he stands towering above me—-I think he just paddled down the Ottawa…..”

You can even see the 3 crosses in the background!

Related Articles

Doug Mackey, 64:September 21, 2001 – Canada’s Mythical Mufferaw is a real part of Mattawa
leDroit, March 3, 2019 – La légende de Jos Montferrand

Related Publications

Mythical Mufferaw by Bernie Bedore
Scotty the Pike More Tall Tales of Joe Mufferaw by Bernie Bedore

Graciously hosted by : MikeyPC

© 2019 Mattawa & District Historical Society
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