Édouard Beaupré

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Édouard Beaupré
Beaupré compared to his father, Gaspard Beaupré, whose height was 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in); c. 1900
Born(1881-01-09)January 9, 1881
DiedJuly 3, 1904(1904-07-03) (aged 23)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Occupation(s)Strongman and wrestler
Known for"Willow Bunch Giant"
Tallest strongman and professional wrestler
Height2.51 m (8 ft 3 in)

Édouard Beaupré, (January 9, 1881 – July 3, 1904) was a Canadian circus and freak show giant, professional wrestler, strongman, and star of Barnum and Bailey's circus. He was one of the tallest men in recorded history, with a reported height of 2.52 m (8 ft 3 in).[1][2]


Édouard Beaupré was born in the southern Saskatchewan town of Willow Bunch on January 9, 1881. He was the first of 20 children born to Gaspard Beaupré and Florestine Piché, a Métis. When he started school at seven, he was of average height, but at nine he was already 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in),[3] and at 12 he was over 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) tall.[3] He stopped going to school at this time. He spoke French, English, Métchif, Cree and Sioux. He was an excellent horseman, but by the age of 17 he had reached the height of 2.21 m (7 ft 3 in)[3] and he abandoned the trade.[1]

His father worked as a freighter for the trader Jean-Louis Légaré, who was a cattle and horse rancher and also Beaupré's godfather. For several years he accompanied his father on his trips to Moose Jaw, Regina, and Montana.[1]

Abandoning life on the ranch, Beaupré began touring. He displayed his strength by bending iron bars and lifting horses onto his shoulders. He toured from Winnipeg to Montreal and stayed for a time in California.[1] While in Montreal, on March 25, 1901, Beaupré wrestled Louis Cyr, a famous French Canadian strongman. The match was very short, with Cyr winning. Around 21-years-old, he stood 2.41 m (7 ft 11 in) and weighed 166 kilograms (366 lb).[3] His neck measured 21 inches in circumference and his hands were 12 and a half inches from the wrist to finger tips.[3] His chest measured 56 inches while his shoes had to be custom made for his size 22 feet.[3] In December 1903, he measured 2.50 m (8 ft 2+12 in)[3]


Beaupré signed a contract on July 1, 1904, with the Barnum and Bailey circus to appear at the St. Louis World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. However, just two days later on July 3, 1904, he died at age 23 of a pulmonary hemorrhage, a complication of tuberculosis. At the time of his death, he was 2.49 m (8 ft 2 in) tall and weighed 170 kilograms (370 lb), as indicated on his death certificate.[1][2]

Travels after death[edit]

At the circus' request, the undertaker embalmed Beaupré's body. However, the circus refused to pay, so they decided to preserve the body which they then put on display in St. Louis. Through an unknown connection, the body made it to the Museum of Eden in Montreal and was put on display there, but the exposition drew such a crowd that the authorities shut it down. The body was then passed on to a Montreal circus, but they quickly went bankrupt and dumped the body in a warehouse. It sat there until 1907, when two kids came across the body as they were playing in the warehouse. The Université de Montréal claimed the body, and, after doing some research and an autopsy, mummified Beaupré's body and placed it in a glass display case in the university.[1][2]


The family only discovered Beaupré's body was in Montreal in 1967, and so in 1975 began the process to try to return the body to Willow Bunch for a proper burial. The university refused and claimed rights over the body, saying that they wanted to continue to perform research and did not want the body displayed anywhere else. In 1989 the family once again tried, this time bringing the media with them as well to put some pressure on the university. This time the effort worked, and so the university decided they could cremate the remains, to prevent anyone from grave-robbing the body. It took two big urns to contain Beaupré's ashes. Finally, in 1990, the body of le Géant Beaupré or le Géant de Willow-Bunch was brought back to Willow Bunch. The family had a memorial service, and his remains now lie in front of the Willow Bunch Museum.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "le Musée Virtuel Francophone de la Saskatchewan (Édouard Beaupré)". Internet Archives (Wayback Machine). Archived from the original on May 13, 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Andre Lalonde (1994). "BEAUPRÉ, ÉDOUARD". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 13. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Édouard J. Beaupré, The Willow Bunch Giant". Town and RM of Willow Bunch. Retrieved December 6, 2020.

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