||May 22, 2009
Celebrating the Quints’ 75th Birthday
in North Bay
in his book The Dionne Years: A Thirties Melodrama (1977) wrote the following in
his introduction about the birth of the Quints 75
years ago next Thursday.
May 28, 1934, between the hours of three and six in the morning, there were born
to a farm-wife in the backwoods of Northern Ontario five identical girl babies.
The event can properly be called a miracle. The chances of a woman giving birth
to fraternal quintuplets were fifty-four million to one. The chance of such a
child growing to adulthood was incalculable; there was no past record of any
quintuplet living more than a few days.”
Dolls produced celebrating the
life of the Quints in the years after their
birth. Submitted photos
“Because the Dionne quintuplets
survived and were on display for the first nine years of their lives, they
became the world’s best known babies – better known than the princesses,
Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, better known, even, than Shirley Temple. Millions,
seeing their photographs almost daily on the front pages, on magazine covers, in
countless advertisements, and in newsreels and feature films, were able to watch
them grow, pound by pound and inch by inch, just like their own children.”
Quints weighted 13 pounds 5 ounces and were first
Quints to have all lived at that point. An estimated 3 million people
came to see them at Quintland in the middle of the
depression which was a real boost to the economy of the area.
Many of the people connected with the
birth received attention as well, especially Dr.
Dafoe who lived in what is now the Callander
Bay Heritage Museum. Louise de Kiriline Lawrence
one of the nurses wrote a book on the Quints before
going on to a long career as a naturalist where she wrote several books. I
enjoyed writing an article on Verna Yerlasky the
Quints hairdresser last June.
As most people know a huge home was
built in Corbeil near their birth home for the
Quints that is now
Nipissing Manor, a home for the Aged.
The original house was bought by an
entrepreneur who moved it near the Pinewood Motel where it ran for years before
it and the many artefacts were moved to North Bay to the Chamber of Commerce
site at Seymour and the Bypass where it is today in an ideal tourist location.
Cover of one of the books on the
Many additional artefacts have been
collected and are on display in the summer months at the museum. The remaining
three Quints visited in 1998 as a part of a
fundraiser for the Museum and a local Treatment Centre. A large financial
settlement for the Quints later made up for years of
exploitation. The two remaining Quints live in
relative seclusion and will celebrate their birthday with family and friends.
The Museum will celebrate the
birthday on Thursday the 28th with free admission and a “Craft Your
Own” Birthday Card Table. There will be a giant birthday card to sign.
There will be a
Quintvention of collectors of Quint
Memorabilia with collectors from far and wide with some special activity at the
Museum on Saturday May 30th. The Convention “Where It All Began” has
its own itinerary running from Friday May 29 to Sunday May 31. Check
www.quintvention2009.com. On Saturday there will be a cake cutting with
Mayor Vic Fideli at
noon at the Museum, music and craft and activity centres for
Watch for further information and
join the fun and remember this momentous story for the ages.
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