This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
Angus McAskill, the Cape Breton Giant, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, 1863
Canada's Cape Breton giant, Angus McAskill (or MacAskill), was born in Harris, Scotland in 1825. Measuring 7 feet 9 inches (2.36 m) tall, weighing 425 pounds (193 kg) and wearing 17.5-inch boots when full grown, Angus was born a normal baby and moved to St. Ann's, Nova Scotia with his family as a child. However, he kept growing, and so did his strength. It is said that he could carry a 60-foot (18 m) beam on his shoulder, throw a 300-pound (360 kg) man over a 10-foot (3 m) high woodpile and set a 40-foot (12 m) mast into a schooner. He was a big help on the family farm until bad times in 1847 and 1848 led Angus to accept an offer to travel Canada and the United States as a curiosity. A few years later he toured the West Indies and Cuba.
Angus returned to St. Ann's around 1854, bought some farms and a gristmill and settled down to a quiet life as a farmer and businessman. He died there in 1863. Angus's size was not due to any disease that causes people to grow bigger than usual; he was just naturally that way and perfectly proportioned. Today, one can visit the Giant Angus McAskill Museum in Englishtown on Cape Breton Island.
Angus McAskill and the dwarf Tom Thumb
Life-size statue of Angus McAskill (MacAskill) in front of the Nova Scotia Museum at the Halifax Citadel, 1979
Bowers, Vivien. Only in Canada!: from the Colossal to the Kooky. Toronto: Owl Books, 2002.
The Canadian Encyclopedia. Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1985, p. 1046.
"McAskill, Angus." Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
(accessed February 11, 2005).