Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cecile and Marie aroused worldwide attention after their birth at Corbeil, Ontario, to Oliva and Elzire Dionne on 28 May 1934. With only 2 previous cases on record, they were the only quintuplets to survive for more than a few days. This miracle, plus their baby cuteness, the poverty of their French Canadian parents and the controversy over their guardianship, made them the sensation of the 1930s.
A Grade 10 "Heritage Minute" project by Safiya N and Natalie B. From YouTube.
Fearing private exploitation, the Ontario government removed them from their parents and placed them in a specially built hospital under the care of Dr Allan Roy DAFOE, who had delivered them. Oliva Dionne fought a 9-year battle to regain them. In the interval, they became the country's biggest tourist attraction and a $500 million asset to the province. Three million people trekked to "Quintland" to watch the babies at play behind a one-way screen.
A video about the production of a documentary film on the lives of the Dionne quintuplets. From YouTube.
Hollywood fictionalized their story in 3 movies. Dozens of commercial endorsements swelled their trust fund to nearly $1 million. A reunion with the family in November 1943 was not successful. Eventually the quintuplets moved to Montréal. Three, Annette, Cecile and Marie, took husbands but the marriages failed. Emilie, an epileptic, entered a convent and died in August 1954 during a seizure. The 4 survivors told their own often bitter story in We Were Five, published in 1965. Marie, the weakest, died in February 1970. The remaining 3 shared the final instalment of the much depleted trust fund in 1979. In March 1998 the Ontario government announced that it would pay the 3 surviving quints $4 million in compensation for the 9 years they spent on display at a tourist theme park. Not until September 1987 was another set of quints, this time 2 boys and 3 girls, born in Canada.
Dionne Quintuplets The Dionne Quintuplets (courtesy Library and Archives Canada).
Links to Other Sites Dionne Quintuplets Museum
The Dionnne Quints museum features digitalized images and documents that tell the story of the famous Dionne Quintuplets.
The Dionne Quintuplets
About the documentary film "The Dionne Quintuplets." From the website for the National Film Board.
Absolutely free, with over 40,000 articles in French and English, The Canadian Encyclopedia is the ultimate online resource for all things Canadian, from history, sports, arts, science, technology, and much, much more. Get started at www.TheCanadianEncyclopedia.com
The story of the founding of Montreal is perhaps unique in history....
Browse the rich visual resources of The Canadian Encyclopedia through thematic galleries of Canadian Art, History, Nature, People, and Science and Technology.
Illustrations, lively text, animations, sounds and games help make learning about Canadian history, art, geography, architecture and other topics entertaining as well as informative.
The ultimate test of your knowledge of Canada, trivial and otherwise. You can choose from more than 60 dynamic quizzes with visual or text clues. Your scores depend on the speed with which
you answer and the number of clues you need. Results are sent to you by email and high scores are posted on the site.
This unique resource includes more than 6000 events from Canadian and world history. It can be searched by era, subject, keyword or date. To find out what happened on your birthday, select
the month and day of your birth.
100 Greatest Events
This selection of the 100 "greatest" events in Canadian history was made by editor in chief James H. Marsh to draw attention to events that have left an indelible memory in the minds of