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Giant Garry Robbins, actor and wrestler, dies
By JEFF BOLICHOWSKI - St. Catharines Standard


Garry Robbins is pictured in front of St. Catharines city hall in this photo from The Standard's archives.

He looked out for the little guy and at almost seven and a half feet tall, everyone was the little guy to him.

Former St. Catharines mayoral candidate Garry Robbins died Wednesday morning, said brother Barry Robbins. The 56-year-old goliath of a man made a name for himself as a professional wrestler and appeared in several movies, but Barry said his big brother's heart was in the Garden City.

"He was a big happy-go-lucky guy always out to help the little guy," Barry said.

"He drifted towards people with problems. If you had a drug problem, he wanted you to get off the drugs."

Barry said that sentiment and a desire to help his Queenston St. neighbourhood drove the towering Garry to run for mayor and later city council. He said his brother was considering another political bid in 2014.


"Garry was the guy that was going to clean it up," he said.

Robbins apparently died in his sleep, Barry said, and was found by a neighbour with his dog curled up at his side.

"He had a good life," Barry, the youngest of four brothers, said. "He toured the world wrestling and seeing things nobody else would've seen."

Robbins, whose website bills him at a towering seven feet and five inches tall and 380 pounds, was discovered as a bouncer in a bar in St. Catharines. He went on to act in the film Humongous in 1982.

His resume includes a list of movie appearances as various goliath characters, among them Saw Tooth in the 2003 flick Wrong Turn.

Beyond the filmreel, Robbins wrestled under the names Canadian Giant and Paul Bunyan of the North, stomping around wrestling rings in Canada, the U.S., Japan and elsewhere.

Barry Robbins said Garry worked in Calgary alongside the celebrated Hart wrestling family. He said wrestlers there would occasionally argue over who would win, but Garry had a trump card.

"The rule was, you could never pin the giant. You could never beat the giant clean," he said.

Back home, though, "everyone in St. Catharines knew him as Garry on his motorbike, riding around."

Robbins also aided Barry in running his towing company, Robbins Towing.


Brutus Beefcake, Garry Robbins and Hulk Hogan. Courtesy GarryRobbins.com
In 2006 Robbins ran for Mayor of St. Catharines. His 2,263 votes were good for 5.9% of those cast as he came in seventh in a field of eight.

He ran again in 2010, this time for city council in Merritton ward. In a six-person field he finished fourth, tallying 11.74% of the vote.

Barry said Garry was eyeing a run for either the mayor's chair or a seat on regional council.

Visitation will be held Thurs., Dec. 19 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Ontario St. The funeral will be held there the following day at noon.

RELATED LINKS

  • GarryRobbins.com
  • Previous SLAM! Wrestling obituaries
  • The Canadian Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame

    Jeff Bolichowski is a reporter covering St. Catharines city hall, Niagara Region government and provincial and national affairs for The St. Catharines Standard.