Sunday, September 19, 2010

North Bay and the Dionne Quintuplets

In a little town called Corbeil ON, on May 28th of 1934, 5 identical girls were born to Oliva and Elzire Dionne. With a combined weight of only 13 pounds and 5 ounces these little miracles who were born 2 months premature, faced the incredible odds of 57 million to one for survival.

Born during the great depression these children were taken away from their parents at about 4 months old. The government of Ontario decided to take control of the girls with the Quintuplets Act. The primary reason for this was the Dionne's had 5 other children to feed and had sold the name of the girls to the Chicago Fair with a promise of appearances  - the goal of the parents was to be able to feed their children during this most trying of times - the Great Depression.

There was a huge outrage over this decision by the Dionne's and so the government of the day stepped in. Instead of the family exploiting the quints the Ontario Government did and an industry that supported thousands of people was born. At the peak of their popularity the Quints represented a 500 million dollar asset to the Ontario Government.

In 1998 the provincial government finally admitted some wrong doing in the removal of the quints from their parents and the quints who were still alive at the time each got a $1 million dollar settlement.

The Tourism Information centre at North Bay now houses the original home that the quints were born in - here are the photos that I took during our visit...
The North Bay Tourism Centre

The house the Dionne Quints were born in

The clothing the quints wore all preserved for us to see...

The home the quints were born is is preserved much as it was before the quints were taken away from their parents.
Home where the quints were born
Home where the quints were bornHome where the quints were born

Inside the Visitor Centre there is another room devoted to Quint Memorabilia including an old film that was taken of the Quints

Ironic display of the Charter of Freedoms
An ironic display of the Charter of Freedoms
carousel figurine of the Quints
carousel figurine of the Quints
It was an interesting time visiting the museum - - it also made my blood boil at the thought of these children being removed from their parents home because they might exploit them only to have the provincial government of the day turn around and exploit them. To me it was kind of like the Catholic Church thinking they had the right to take the "savage" out of the Indians - Inuit - Aboriginals etc...

Although we have come a long way in protecting human rights we still have a lot of work to least that is my personal feeling...

Until later, ride safe...!

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