Birthplace of Dionne quintuplets moves today after yearlong grassroots campaign


NORTH BAY, Ont. — The historic log cabin where the first quintuplets to survive more than a few days were born is now on the move.

The birthplace of the Dionne quintuplets is being hauled from its current location near a highway in North Bay, Ont., to a spot in the city’s downtown.

The move is the culmination of a yearlong grassroots campaign to keep the home in North Bay, an effort that started after officials proposed transferring the cabin to a nearby community and handing any related artifacts to museums and universities.

The two surviving quintuplets, Cecile and Annette Dionne, threw their support behind the campaign, arguing the city had a moral obligation to safeguard the home and its legacy.

A spokesman for the 83-year-old sisters says they are proud to see the landmark preserved and grateful to those who rallied to save it.

But Carlo Tarini says the sisters hope governments will step up to ensure consistent funding so the home can reopen and continue to operate as a museum.

The sisters hope to travel to North Bay from their home in Montreal for the opening date, which has yet to be set, Tarini said.

The quintuplets were considered a medical miracle when they were born in 1934, and their story made headlines around the world.

Many tried to capitalize on their fame, including the Ontario government, which took the quints from their parents and turned them into a tourist attraction for the first nine years of their lives.

They drew throngs of visitors to the area, spurring the local economy and generating roughly $500,000 in income for the province.

Their birth home was bought by the City of North Bay and brought there from the nearby community of Corbeil, Ont., in 1985, then turned into a museum dedicated to the family’s story.

The Dionne Museum closed to the public in 2015 after the city’s chamber of commerce stopped running it, and the resulting struggle to find a replacement prompted officials to suggest moving it to the nearby community of Strong, Ont.

A group of residents rallied against the proposal, lobbying city council for months until it was voted down in favour of moving the home locally.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press