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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

LOUIS CYR

Inducted in 1955

Member Details

Date of Birth: November 10, 1863
Place of Birth: St. Cyprien de Napierville, Quebec
Date of Passing: November 10, 1912
Sport: Weightlifting
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1881

Strongman competition, Boston

1886

Canadian strongman champion

1895

Lifted 4,337 pounds on his back, a world record

Honoured Member LOUIS CYR
Inspire

Story

Louis Cyr was a famous Canadian strongman. Cyr never backed down from a challenge and was undefeated in Canada and abroad. From the age of twelve, Cyr worked in a lumber camp during the winters and on the family's farm the rest of the year. He impressed his fellow workers with his feats of strength. In 1878, when Louis was 15 years old, the Cyr family immigrated to Lowell, Massachusetts. Here, he changed his name from Cyprien-Noé to Louis, as it was easier to pronounce in English. At age 17, he weighed 230 pounds and at 18 he won his first strongman contest in Boston by lifting a horse off the ground. Cyr returned to Quebec in 1882 with his family and soon after got married. What followed was a series of tours all over North America with various other characters and acts. In March, 1886 at Quebec City, against the reigning Canadian strongman, David Michaud, Cyr lifted a 218-pound barbell with one hand (to Michaud's 158 pounds) and a weight of 2,371 pounds on his back, to his opponent's 2,071 pounds to win the title of strongest man in the country. Cyr continued to astound the world with his marvelous strength. Some of his feats included lifting a platform on his back holding 18 fat men, lifting a 500-pound weight with his finger and pushing a freight car up an incline. One of Cyr's most-talked about stunts occurred on October 12, 1891, in Montreal. On that occasion he restrained four horses - two pulling in each direction. Perhaps his greatest feat occurred in 1895, when he was reported to have lifted 4,337 pounds on his back. Cyr died at the age of 49 from Brights Disease. Amazingly, at the height of his career, the strongest man in the world stood only 5'10" tall, but he weighed over 300 pounds and had a 60" chest when it was expanded. A district and a park in Montreal are both named Louis-Cyr in his honour. In addition, Place des Hommes-Forts is named for him and right in its centre is a big, strong statue in his image.


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