Books & Brunch: Ten Facts About the Dionne Quintuplets

We are looking forward to the first event of our new series, Books & Brunch, on Saturday, May 11 at 10am at the gorgeous Dockside Restaurant on Granville Island.

Our inaugural author is Shelley Wood, who took inspiration from the true story of the Ontario-born Dionne Quintuplets for her debut novel, The Quintland Sisters.

If you’ve never heard of the miraculous quintuplets, and their heartrending, intriguing story, we’ve collected 10 facts to get you started.

  1. The Dionne Quintuplets were five identical sisters born near the small town of Corbeil in Northern Ontario on May 28, 1934.
  2. They are the only identical quintuplets ever recorded and the first ever quintuplets known to survive infancy. The odds of quintuplets are 1 in 57,289,761.
  3. The two midwives who helped deliver the children, Douilda Legros and Mary-Jeanne Lebel, achieved considerable fame based on their role in the birth and immediate aftercare.
  4. Allan Dafoe, a local country physician who helped deliver the quintuplets, became one of their three primary caregivers after the government of Ontario made the girls wards of the state and placed them in a specially built hospital.
  5. Over three million people travelled to this hospital—nicknamed “Quintland”—to watch the young girls at play.
  6. They became the country’s biggest tourist attraction and generated over $500 million in revenue for the province.
  7. As children, they starred in three Hollywood feature films that, while mostly featuring them just at play in the hospital in which they lived, focused more on the success of Dr. Dafoe than the girls.
  8. The girls’ parents, Olivia and Elzire Dionne, fought to win back custody of the quintuplets which was successful in 1943. The five girls moved into a new house with their parents and other siblings that was close to “Quintland”.
  9. In 1998, the sisters reached a settlement with the Ontario government as compensation for their childhood exploitation.
  10. It wasn’t until September 1987 was there another set of quints—this time two boys and three girls—born in Canada

Limited tickets are available for Books & Brunch with Shelley Wood. Learn more and purchase tickets here.


Lauren Dembicky