Montreal

Marie-Louise Sirois-Cloutier, the strongest woman in the world?

Marie-Louise Sirois-Cloutier could lift 115-kilogram barrels by the time she was 17 years old, and she once lifted a 1,300-kilogram platform on her back. Find out more about Quebec's little-known strongwoman.

Quebec strongwoman, born in 1867, could lift more than a tonne on her back

(From left to right) Marie-Louise Sirois-Cloutier, her daughters Dora et Doria and their husbands, and Henri Cloutier. (Société d'histoire de la Haute-Yamaska)

Marie-Louise Sirois-Cloutier could lift 115-kilogram barrels by the time she was 17 years old, and she once lifted a 1,300-kilogram platform on her back.

Marie-Louise Sirois-Cloutier was five-foot-10-inches tall and weighed 185 pounds. (Société d'histoire de la Haute-Yamaska)

Canadians know all about Louis Cyr — perhaps one of the most famous strongmen in the world.

But little is known about the province's strongwomen, including the woman who may indeed have been the strongest in the history of the world.

Luc Gonthier, the author of book "Les Hommes forts du Québec,"("Quebec's Strongmen") spoke to Radio-Canada on Sunday and shared the history of Quebec's strongwomen. 

Sirois-Cloutier was born in 1867 in Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, Que., in the province's Kamouraska region southeast of Quebec City. 

She moved to Salem, Mass., with her family in her late teens and soon married fellow strongperson, Henri Cloutier.

It was at his gym in Salem where the extent of her strength was discovered. She decided to become a professional athlete at the age of 25, accomplishing a number of feats of strength — including restraining two, 635-kilogram horses like Louis Cyr famously did.

She continued to demonstrate her strength in various exhibitions even as she approached her dying day, according to the historical society of Haute-Yamaska.  

Sirois-Cloutier died in 1920. She is buried in the Catholic cemetery in her husband's hometown of Roxton Pond, Que.

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