Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Dionne Quintuplets

scanned from original postcard
Pub. by Wm. R. Forder Souvenirs
Photo by NEA Service Inc., © 1938

The Dionne Quintuplets were born on May 28, 1934 near the village of Corbeil, Ontario to parents Oliva (father) and Elzire (mother) Dionne. The Dionnes named their premature (by 2 mo.) Annette (1934 - ), Cécile (1934 - ), Marie (1934 - 1970), Yvonne (1934 - 2001) and Emile (1934 - 1954). The five identical girls made history by being the first set of quintuplets to survive infancy. The Dionnes had five living children at the time of the Quints birth. They were Ernest, Rose Marie, Therese, Daniel, and Pauline who was only eleven months older than the quints. A sixth, son Léo, died of pneumonia shortly after birth. The Dionnes also had 3 sons after the quintuplets. Oliva Jr., Victor, and Claude (born when the Quintuplets were 12). Dr. Allan Ro Dafoe of Callander, Ontario is credited with the birth aided by midwives, Aunt Donalda and Madam Benoit Lebel.

The story of the Dionne Quintuplets is a sad one with the Canadian government realizing the tourism potential of the little girls removed custody from their parents at the age of 4 months making them wards of the provincial govenment originally until the age of 18. Oliva Dionne remained part of the gardianship controlled by Dr. Dafoe and two other guardians. They were moved across the road from their house to the Dafoe Hospital and Nursery known as Quintland built specially for them. There tourists could watch the girls play behind one-way screens. The Quintuplets brought in about $1 million and attracted l about $51 million of tourist revenue to Ontario in 1934 alone. Quintland became Ontario's biggest tourist attraction. Their lives were very structured under the watchful eye of Dr. Dafoe. They had some contact with their parents and siblings while living in Quintland. In 1943 they moved back in with their parents in a newly built mansion called The Big house that was within walking distance of Quintland. In 1998, the three living sisters (Yvonne, Cécile, Annette) reached a monetary settlement of $2.8 million with the Ontario government as compensation for the governments exploitation of the girls. Yvonne passed away on June 23, 2001. Cécile and Annette remain living in Yvonne's house in St. Bruno, Québec.


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