How 5 Girls Became More Popular than Niagara Falls

The story of the Dionne Quintuplets of Callander, Ontario.

On May 28, 1934 five identical girls: Annette, Cecile, Yvonne, Marie, and Émilie were born to Elzire and Oliva Dionne in Callander, Ontario.


Yvonne Edouida Marie was the first born at 4:10 am.
Annette Liliane Marie was the second at 4:25 am.
Cecile Marie was the third at 4:40 am.
Emilie Marie was the fourth at 4:45 am.
Marie Reina Alma was the fifth at 4:57 am

All together, the girls weighed less than 6.5 kg (13 pounds 5 ounces). At the time, there was a 1 in 57 million chance of giving birth to identical quintuplets, and even a lesser chance for survival. They survived mainly due to the efforts of Dr. Allan DaFoe.

While the Quints were still babies, they were taken away from their parents and became wards of the Ontario government.


The first nine years of their lives were spent at a 'hospital', built across the street from their parents' home. It became known as Quintland. Over 3 million people came to view the girls playing behind a one way screen. The five identical girls became a tourist attraction, said to be more popular than Niagara Falls.

A "Quint Industry" was born, generating millions of dollars for the government. 

After nine years and a bitter custody battle, Elzire Dionne was granted custody of the girls. The family moved into a new home close to Quintland. The mansion was nicknamed "the big house" and the building is now a retirement home.

The girls finished high school from home. At the age of 18, they moved to Montreal and had very little contact with family after that.

Fact: It wasn't until September 1987 that another set of quints (2 boys and 3 girls) were born in Canada.

Plan a Dionne Quintuplets Inspired Trip to Callander/ North Bay

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