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The two RV Gypsies in Willow Bunch,
Saskatchewan, Canada
Home of the Giant, Edouard Beaupre
July 4, 2013

map of Saskatchewan showing location of Willow Bunchhome of the giant sign

Beaupre was the eldest of 20 children born to Gaspard and Florestine (born Piche) Beaupe in the newly-founded parish of Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan, Canada. Beaupre did not appear abnormally large at birth, and for the first three years of his life, his growth was relatively normal. His father measured 5' 8" and his mother 5' 4".

However, Edouard's growth rate then increased dramatically, so much so that by age nine he was six feet tall, and by the age of 17 his height was recorded at 7 feet 1 inch. In 1901, when he measured 7' 9", he apparently lifted a 900 pound weight and fractured a leg. After that he very prudently never lifted more than 900 pounds. In 1902, Edouard's height was measured at 8 feet 2.5 inches and he weighed over 400 pounds. His death certificate described him as being 8 feet 3 in tall and still growing.

He lived in Willow Bunch and attended school very irregularly. He had difficulty speaking English and trouble writing French.

Edouard had a dream of becoming a cowboy when he was growing up. When Beaupre was 15, he quit school to pursue his dreams of riding the open range. Unfortunately for him, this life, which he enjoyed while working with horses on a ranch in Montana, didn't last very long. His height and his weight would lead him away from the trade of his dream.

At the urging of others and to help support his family, he went on to tour the North American freak show circuit. Over the years he would be stared at by onlookers, wrestle strongmen, and perform feats of strength. His signature stunt was crouching underneath a horse and lifting it up to his shoulders. He would then go on to star in Barnum and Bailey Circus, even though life on the road was not easy for Beaupre. (To accommodate his size, hotel staff would line up trunks to support a second mattress to lengthen his bed.) He would spend the latter part of his short life performing in freak shows and circuses.

Many tried every second or third month to marry Edouard to the tallest woman in the world, Miss Ella Ewing, a giantess. She measured around 7' 6", but he was not at all interested.

In 1902 Beaupre was diagnosed with tuberculosis. By the time he reached the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, his rapid growth and the disease had taken a heavy toll on him. He became ill and died at a local St. Louis hospital on July 3, 1904. Even at the time of his death at age 23, doctors determined that Beaupre was still growing.

Gaspard Beaupre made a trip to St. Louis to retrieve his son's body. When he reached his destination, however, Gaspard turned back when he realized that he didn't have enough money to pay double fare to return home with the body.

The elder Beaupre believed his son's body was going to be buried in St. Louis or used for medical experiments, but that was not the case. When the circus refused to pay for the transportation costs back to Willow Bunch, Edouard Beaupre's body was embalmed and put on display. Around 1905, his body made its way to a museum in Montreal and then a circus. When the circus went bankrupt, the body was claimed by the University de Montreal, whose scientists then discovered the cause of Beaupre's giant status his pituitary gland had secreted an abnormal amount of growth hormone throughout his body. In 1975 Ovila Lesperance, Beaupre's nephew, discovered the whereabouts of his uncle's body. Lesperance's efforts to return Beaupre's body back to Willow Bunch were unsuccessful, as the university claimed it was still needed for research and refused to assist with the efforts to give Beaupre a proper burial. An agreement was finally reached in 1989. To ensure that Beaupre would not be publicly displayed or used for personal gain, his family insisted that his body be cremated. They kept his ashes in Montreal until July 1, 1990. On July 7, 1990, Edouard Beaupre received the memorial service and burial his family had dreamed of since the start of this century, in Willow Bunch. His ashes were buried in front of a life-sized statue dedicated to him at the Willow Bunch Museum. (see photos below)

After 85 years of being on public display, naked, and mummified, he is finally at peace.

It marks the end of a tragic story of exploitation that's left us all feeling relieved that he is finally laid to rest.
Above Quote From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

sign- Home of the Giant
sign for the Willow Bunch Museum

The two RV Gypsies each put a foot beside the footprint of the giant.

the giant's footprint in cement
the two RV Gypsies each put one of the feet beside the footprint of the giant

Below: The sidewalk at the Willow Bunch Museum with the giant's footprints

sidewalk of footprints

Below: A life-sized statue dedicated to him at the Willow Bunch Museum, where his ashes are buried.

life size statue of the Giant
Karen Duquette by the giant's statue
Edouard's Memorial

The Willow Bunch Museum and Lee Duquette on the stairs looking at the garden and sidewalk with the giant's footprints.

The Willow Bunch Museum
Lee Duquette looking at the giant's footprints

A black pansy

Below: A mural on a building in Willow Bunch

Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures
in Saskatchewan, Canada
July 3 - 4, 2013

You may visit these six (6) sites in any order you choose.

enter Canada via Manitoba

Moose Mountain


Castle Butte

Willow Bunch - Home of the Giant

St. Victor's Petroglyphs

look below
go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAFTER you have seen all six sections above,
please continue on to white water rafting and more in Montana