They were French Canadians, mostly, who came out of the bush to dazzle audiences by hefting backbreaking weights and climbing poles with oxen slung around their shoulders. Even in an era when men were men, they ranked as heroes, by showing the world they were men-and-a-half. NOT SO LONG AGO, at about the time they say men were men and women were proud of it and just before a PhD in applied physics got to be more necessary to survival than a strong back and a mighty forearm, Canada knew brief world fame as the breeding ground of a race of folk heroes who earned adulation and young fortunes as professional strong men. Mostly they were French Canadians come out from work camps in the bush to flaunt their brawn in circuses or troupes touring not only parts of Canada and the U. To show their prowess they'd lift horses, shin up poles with an ox slung around their shoulders, pick up a score or more of the audience at one time, or perhaps heft horseless carriages around their necks and climb ladders to nowhere. They were the curtain raisers to the golden age of pole squatting. Their shows were an amalgam of conventional weight lifting and showbiz-style feats of strength, which involved tossing people and animals and barrels of concrete around.
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The Montreal Nationals Le National de Montreal were an amateur, later professional, and then amateur again men's senior-level ice hockey team. They are notable in that they were the first team to represent French Canada and were the first ice hockey team composed of francophone players. The Nationals organization was established in They iced their first team in , being the first club composed of francophone players.
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