Welcome to the

Giant MacAskill Museum

Giant MacAskill Museum

 

OPENING DAY for SUMMER of 2016 is JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

JULY 1st at 9 AM and THE DOORS WILL BE OPEN... SEE YOU SOON.

 

 

Membership can now be paid by email transfer to gmacmuseum@gmail.com.
$10 per person or $25 per family.



Family fun day coming up July 30, 2016....  Poker Run is July 31, 2016!
 

News

Contact Information

Location

504 Route 312, B0C 1H0

Phone: 902-929-2875

Email: gmacmuseum@gmail.com

Hours of Operation

Open May 15 - June 30 by appointment only by calling 902-929-2545
Open July 1 from 9 am to 5 pm daily

 

Admission

$4 per adult, $2.50 for child and senior.

 

 

About Us

 

 

Mission

To preserve the legacy of Giant Angus MacAskill through education and the numerous displays in the museum.

Description

Located 2.5 km off Hwy 105, Exit 12 on Route 312. Artifacts belonging to Angus MacAskill, the Cape Breton Giant.  Founded in 1986.

 

General Information

Angus MacAskill was billed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the Tallest and Strongest Man (non-pathological) in the 1981 edition. He is recorded as standing seven feet nine inches tall and weighing 425 pounds. His tales are legendary; stories show him to be a gentleman and a role model.

 

Angus was born in 1825 on the Isle of Bernaray off the western coast of Scotland. Angus, his siblings and parents emigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada in the late 1820s or early 1830s with many other Scottish families during the Highland Clearances. A group of them settled in Englishtown on Saint Anne's Bay, Cape Breton Isle in Nova Scotia.

 

Angus' growth seemed normal till his teen years when he just kept growing well into his twenties. His parents were forced to put a moveable transom on the front door of the house to let him access the door freely. His furniture and clothes all had to be especially made for his size. He is thought to have been naturally tall (non-pathological) as there was no sign of the typical characteristics of the so-called pituitary giants. He was said to be as strong as six men. His strength, even if exaggerated, describes a healthy man.

 

Angus is buried in Englishtown in The Auld Cemetery. His grave was forgotten for years and the marker damaged and buried till a renewed interest in the history of the Giant in the mid 1900s led to the renovation of the site and marker. There is a museum dedicated to all things Angus, including his clothing, furniture, tools and accounts from his store, across the road from the site of his general store just down the road from the cemetery. There is another museum on the other side of the pond in Dunvegan, Isle of Sky, Scotland, near the Castle of the MacLeods, also dedicated to the Giant. Both museums are run by his descendents.

 

...In 1981 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized MacAskill as the largest true giant to have ever lived, the strongest man who ever lived and the man with the largest chest measurements of any non-obese man.

 

The distinction of his status as a ‘true’ giant hinges on the fact the Angus was purported to be free of any growth abnormalities.His stature was proportional in every way and his immense size and strength was due only to his natural genetic gifts.

 

MacAskill was born in 1825 on the Isle of Berneray in the Sound of Harris, Scotland. He moved to Nova Scotia at with his family as a child and eventually settled in the fishing community of Englishtown, Cape Breton Island somewhere between 1830 and 1835.

 

In adulthood, MacAskill stood 7 ft 9 in tall and weighed an astonishing 475 lbs. His shoulders measured an otherworldly 44 inches wide, the palm of his hand was nearly a foot wide and his shoes measured 19 inches in length. Despite these startling proportions, he was reportedly a handsome man with deep blue eyes and a deep voice described and ‘soothing’ and ‘musical. In his home community he was affectionately known as Big Boy or ‘Gille Mòr’ and to others he was known simply as the ‘Cape Breton Giant’.

 

During his lifetime, MacAskill was known for his incredible feats of strength.These displays began well before he entered into exhibition and mainly manifested from MacAskill showing off while doing daily menial chores. MacAskill was able to lift a 2800 lb ship’s anchor to chest height (replica is in the museum). Was known to carry barrels weighing over 300lbs under each arm, was able to singlehandedly set a 40-foot mast into a schooner deck and was also known to lift a full-grown horse hover a four-foot fence.

 

In 1849 MacAskill entered show business and went to work for P.T. Barnum‘s circus, appearing next to General Tom Thumb. Queen Victoria heard stories about MacAskill’s great strength and invited him to appear before her to give a demonstration at Windsor Castle, after which she proclaimed him to be “the tallest, stoutest and strongest man to ever enter the palace”, and presented him with two gold rings in appreciation.

 

After a show business career demonstrating his size and strength in Europe and North America, MacAskill returned to his home community of Englishtown and purchased a gristmill and several other real estate holdings as well as a general store.

 

In the summer of 1863 MacAskill undertook a trip to the colonial capital at Halifax where he had been planning to sell produce and purchase stock for his store from the city’s wholesalers which he would need for the winter season. During the trip he suddenly became seriously ill and was returned to St. Ann’s where he died peacefully in his sleep on August 8, 1863.

 

To this day, many tall tales about MacAskill continue to circulate due to the fact that his gentle manner contrasted his appearance so dramatically that he endeared all who knew of him.

 

The "Giant MacAskill Museum" was also established in 1989 at Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye and is operated there by a community group; this museum having several replicated artifacts from the Englishtown museum. It is managed by Peter MacAskill, father of the street trials cycle rider Danny MacAskill.

 

In the summer of 1863 MacAskill undertook a trip to the colonial capital at Halifax where he had been planning to sell produce and purchase stock for his store from the city's wholesalers which he would need for the winter season. During the trip he suddenly became seriously ill and was returned to St. Ann's where his family moved him back to his parents' home. His original childhood bed was hastily lengthened and put up in their living room to provide for his care. The doctor's diagnosis was brain fever. After a week's illness, MacAskill died peacefully in his sleep on August 8, 1863, the Rev. Abraham McIntosh, the Presbyterian minister, being in attendance and many neighbours in the house.

 

The Halifax Acadian Recorder of August 15, 1863 reported that "the well-known giant ... was by far the tallest man in Nova Scotia, perhaps in British America" and that "his mild and gentle manner endeared him to all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance". The whole county mourned and he was buried in the Englishtown Cemetery, alongside his parents, who were of normal proportions; the size of MacAskill's burial mound dwarfs those of his mother and father.

 

MacAskill's presence lived on in Englishtown for many years where his timber-frame house sat on the edge of Kelly's Mountain, overlooking St. Ann's Harbour. The structure, with its massive door frames still stood, albeit in ruins, as late as the 1950s and the foundation was visible into the 1980s.

 

Around 1900 the Government of Nova Scotia replaced the family's original grave marker with a new one after the original had fallen into disrepair. Some of MacAskill's original personal effects from his house, including a bed frame, clothes and chair were removed for preservation and displayed for many years during the mid-20th century at the nearby Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts. These artifacts were moved back to Englishtown after the "Giant MacAskill Museum" was established in the late 1980s on a road-front portion of MacAskill's former property by the "Giant MacAskill Heirs Association". In addition to the collection from the Gaelic College, the museum in Englishtown also houses a more expanded collection of artifacts that had been previously maintained by family members.

 

 

COME AND SEE HIM FOR YOURSELF!

 

Events Calendar

All items available on location only

 

Gallery

 

Store

All items available on location only

 

Membership


THE GIANT MACASKILL HEIRS ASSOCIATION

PO BOX 41

504 ENGLISHTOWN ROAD

ENGLISHTOWN, NS   B0C1H0

 

December-9-14

 

Dear Member:

 

The Giant MacAskill Heirs Association is looking forward to a successful operation of the Giant MacAskill Museum this summer and we are in the planning stages of some or our annual events and some new ones for 2015.

 

With your continued support (financially and with participation) as a member of our association, we would like to request you to renew your membership and, if possible, make a donation. You can mail your renewal form and dues to the above address.  We accept cash or check whichever is convenient for you.


For your added convenience, you can email money to gmacmuseum@gmail.com or use our PayPal submission form below..  We are sure you won’t want to miss the upcoming events this summer (Annual Giant Poker Run, Annual Giant Auction). Watch our Facebook page for more events.  Please take a few moments to renew your membership.  As always, we welcome input from our members for fundraising events or suggestions on services that can be made available by the association.

 

We are doing some much needed repairs to the building:  replace the roof, replace the deck, renovate the washrooms, repair the back door and some other minor repairs to the museum.  Please check our Facebook page for updates and pictures of the progress.

 

Sincerely,

 

Giant MacAskill Heirs Association

 

504 Route 312, B0C 1H0

Phone: 902-929-2875

Email: gmacmuseum@gmail.com

Open May 15 - June 30 by appointment only by calling 902-929-2545
Open July 1 to September 15 from 9 am to 5 pm daily