Web Links

5 Is Too Many

We all go through tough stuff in our lives, but the Dionne Quintuplets had one of the toughest lives known today. Being famous the day after you were born may sound awesome, but for them it was horrible. They went through sexual abuse, being outcasts, being exploited and fame. Not being able to control what was going on around them isn’t the way to lead a happy life. Now at age 70, 2 out of 5 of the Dionne Quintuplets are still battling over an unforgettable childhood.



1. Who are they Dionne Quintuplets? Why are they so important?

2. What is some background information on each quintuplet?

3. What is some important information we need to know about important people in this situation?

4. What was the crisis?


            Émilie Marie Jeanne Dionne, Annette Lillana Marie Dionne, Cécile Dionne, Marie Rein Alma Dionne, and Yvonne Edouilda Marie Dionne are The Dionne Quintuplets. They made history for being the first quints to survive infancy. The odds to have quints were 54 million to 1.


The Dionne Quintuplets were born at 4:00 A.M. on May 28th, 1934 from one single egg. They were two months pre-mature and weighed all together 13 lbs. 5 ounces and could be held in an adult palm. The girls were put by an open oven to keep them warm. They all lived at home until they were 18. The quints spoke mostly French and their siblings spoke English. Émilie Marie Jeanne Dionne died in 1954 at the age of 20 of an epileptic seizure in Sainte Agathe, Quebec.  Annette Lillana Marie Dionne is still living in Montreal, Quebec. Annette was the first quint to get married. She married Germain Allard and had three kids but divorced him. Cécile Dionne full name is unknown. She married Philippe Langlois and had four kids but she too got divorced.  She is still living in Montreal, Quebec as well. Marie Rein Alma Dionne died on February 27, 1970 at the age of 35 of a blood clot to the brain in Corbeil, Ontario. She married Florian Houle and had two kids but she as well got divorced. Yvonne Edouilda Marie Dionne died of cancer in Montreal, Quebec in June 23, 2001 at the age of 67. She never got married because she was a nun. In 1957 Cécile, Yvonne, Annette, and Marie tried to run a flower shop but were unsuccessful.

A few important people in the Quintuplet’s Crisis are Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, Oliva Dionne {quint’s father}, Elzire Dionne {quint’s mother}. Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe delivered the quintuplets. Oliva and Elzire had 14 children by 9 births. Oliva died in 1979. Elzire was 25 years old when she had the quintuplets and Oliva was 31. They were expecting their 6th child but instead had their 10th. She was in labour for 3 hours.  The quintuplets were not expected to live so they were baptized right after birth.

The quintuplet’s life was a very hard one. Dr. Dafoe said “Get all the money you can they are going to die anyways.”  So then they were placed in a virtual theme park called Quintland across the road from their parent’s home and were placed under government guardianship. Approximately 6,000 people came and visited Quintland a day. Between 1934 and 1943 around 3 million people visited Quintland. It was bigger than Niagara Falls. The government and a near by business made ½ a billion dollars off tourists. Oliva signed a contract to exhibit the quints at the Chicago Century Of Progress Exposition receiving 23% of income. Their parents fought a 9 year battle to regain custody of the quintuplets and finally got them back on November 17, 1943. The nurses or other doctors were not allowed to kiss or so too much affection to wards the quints. After they returned home it got really hard. Every incident was blamed on them and they were not allowed to have friends and were almost cut off from the outside world. The Quintuplets basically supported the whole family with out knowing. There siblings had many privileges but the quints had none. Their mother and father put them to work quite often. Their mother made them clean house and scrub floors and their father made them milk cows and “pitch” hay. One incident that is an excellent example is for their birthday they received 2 bikes to share between the 5 of them. They were sexually abused by their father and the nurses and doctors. The nurses and doctors would touch their genitals for punishment. Every now and then Oliva would take the girls for a “car ride” and one at a he sexually abused them. When Annette confronted the Roman Catholic Priest {who was the principal at their private boarding school} he told her to continue to love her parents and think of it as a car ride and wear a thick coat.  In 1998 Yvonne, Cécile, Annette were given $4 million from the Ontario government. Today the living quintuplets are still trying to regain back some of their money and childhood.

As you can see the Dionne Quintuplets life was really tough. They could not control their parent’s actions or anyone else’s.  They were treated like a freak-show their whole lives. What kind of life would that be?



“5 is too many – Dionne Quintuplets.” Saturday Night. February 24 2005. Internet.

“The Dionne Quintuplets.” February 24 2005.


“The Dionne Quintuplets: A Depression-era freak show.” CNN. February 24 2005. Internet.


“They were five”.  Horizon Canada. Quebec: Centre of Dorthe Study of Teaching Canada’ 1987.


The Dionne Quintuplets: A Depression-era Freak Show I used this site for background information on the quintuplets and the crisis. I also used it to get a picture of them.
Dionne Quintuplets I used this website to get background information on the quintuplets, the crisis and films made after them.

* My other web link is unavailable for some unknown reason.*