A small town in Ontario is marking Canada's 150th anniversary with a new statue commemorating Big Joe Mufferaw, a local folk hero whose all-Canadian exploits date back to before Confederation.

The town of Mattawa, Ont., is preparing to replace its old Big Joe Mufferaw statue with a newly-carved wooden tribute to the French-Canadian logger, who boasts a resume as long (and perhaps as tall) as Paul Bunyan's in the United States.

Local artist Claremont Duval says it's an honour to sculpt the new statue, which will be a 5.8-metre wooden tribute to the local hero.

"He was the Gretzky of the time, but he was a strongman, he wasn't a hockey player," Duval told CTV News.

Originally born Joseph Montferrand in 1802, the big, strong, agile man became known as "Big Joe Mufferaw" in Mattawa, where English speakers struggled with his strange-sounding name.

Though he died three years before Confederation, Big Joe Mufferaw's exploits cemented him in local lore as a true symbol of Canadian values. Some say he could kick the roof of a tavern with ease, and that he fought off 40 Irish lumberjacks to prevent them from stealing the jobs of his employees.

Canadian folk icon Stompin' Tom Connors was among those who helped popularize Big Joe Mufferaw across the country, by touting his far-fetched exploits in a song. Stompin' Tom credited Big Joe Mufferaw with riding a bull frog, creating the Rideau Canal and putting out a massive forest fire with five spit balls.

The truth behind most of those tall tales is likely lost to history, but modern-day Canadians still hail Big Joe Mufferaw as a shining example of strength and justice.

"He could cut a 10-inch tree – with a special axe of course – with one slash of his axe," Duval said.

Local historian John Whalen says Mufferaw Joe stood for Canadian values long before there was a Canada to stand for.

"Questions of equality, and treating people fairly and stuff like that, that all comes from part of his life, and it's part of our life," Whalen said. "That's what being a Canadian is all about."

"He was a true Canadian," Duval said. "Even before a Canadian was called a Canadian."

With files from CTV News' Kevin Gallagher