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August 23, 2010

Your history lesson for today: Big Joe Mufferaw

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's entry on Big Joe Mufferaw:

Big Joe Mufferaw was a French Canadian folk hero from the Ottawa Valley, perhaps best known today as the hero of a song by Stompin' Tom Connors. Like Paul Bunyan, he made his living chopping down trees. The name is also sometimes spelled Muffero, Muffera, and Montferrand. The last spelling is more common among francophones; anglophones who had trouble with it used one of the other spellings.

In addition to being the subject of many Paul Bunyan-esque tall tales, Mufferaw is sometimes enlisted as a defender of oppressed French Canadian loggers in the days when their bosses were English and their rivals for work were Irish. In one story, Big Joe was in a Montreal bar, where a British army major named Jones was freely insulting French Canadians. After Big Joe beat the major, he bellowed, "Any more insults for the Canadians?"

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Related: Ottawa History Guide

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