From the height of “Quintmania” during the Depression years up to the present time, the home of Dr. A.R. Dafoe and the Callander Museum has received a variety of notable guests. Check out our past guests below, and be sure to “come up and see us sometime”!
Brooke Shields and Beau Bridges – February 21st, 2016
On Sunday February 21st, the Callander Bay Heritage Museum played host to a couple of special guests. Brooke Shields and Beau Bridges, as well as members of their production crew, took time out of their busy filming schedule to spend the afternoon with us at the museum! It was a short notice visit, but we managed to connect with a few supporters of the museum and invited them along. Councillor Virginia Onley and her niece Jillian Scott-Picard, museum board members Linda Masson and Garry Besserer, and Michael Dufresne whose father Alex was instrumental in setting up the museum in 1979; the gallery is named in his honour. As well, museum staff Carol Pretty, Deryk Hagar, and Natasha Wiatr were on-hand to welcome the visitors and give them a tour of our museum.
Beau Bridges had a special interest in the museum because of his portrayal of Dr. Dafoe in the 1994 tv-movie Million Dollar Babies. He appreciated the opportunity to explore the Doctor’s original house, as well as examine many old photographs of the Doctor. We even asked him to pose beside a large photograph of Dr. Dafoe, and he was happy to do so!
The movie has some interesting trivia tidbits behind it. As there was not a set of female quintuplets that existed at the time of filming, two sets of triplets had to be cast to play the roles of the quints. The newborn quintuplets were not actual babies, but animatronics built especially for the movie. Finally, the movie earned 6 Gemini wins with an additional 2 nominations and was nominated for an ASC award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Mini-series.
Brooke Shields also appreciated the opportunity as she explained to us that her mother had a set of Mme. Alexander’s dolls of the Quints and when Brooke was older she gave them to her; she always had a fascination with the Dionne Quintuplets. Being able to tour the museum and watch old news reels from the 1930s and look at our photographs and artefacts was a real treat for her.
Everyone had a wonderful afternoon, and we want to thank Beau and Brook for taking time out of their busy schedule to hang out at the museum with us! Some of you may remember an exhibit we put on a few years ago entitled “When Hollywood Came to Callander” … well, a few years later… Hollywood came to Callander … again!
Dr. A.R. Dafoe’s Descendants – His Grand-daughter, Great Grand-daughter, and Great, Great Grandchildren. August 22nd, 2015
The Callander Museum had some very special visitors! In fact, it felt just like a family reunion and home-coming. Barbara Green (husband Orland), her daughter Sharon (husband Frank), and their children Katrina, Alex and Emily visited the Museum and Gallery on August 22, 2015. What made this visit so remarkable? Barbara is the grand-daughter of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, physician to the Dionne Quints and his wife, Bertha L. Morrison! So, not only did we have Dr. Dafoe’s grand-daughter along for a visit, we also had his great grand-daughter, and great, great-grand children exploring the old family home as well. We also received summer visits from the descendants of the Darling Family, Smith Family, Legros Family, Dionne Family, and Wice Family—all big names in Callander’s 130 year history!
Dave Foley and Mark McKinney – 2008/09
Kids in the Hall veterans Dave Foley and Mark McKinney filmed a doctor’s scene for the Kid’s “Death Comes to Town” series in Dr. Dafoe’s old living room. Museum displays were removed, new doors were hung, equipment and cables and lighting were run – all for a scene in their eight-part miniseries that aired in 2010 on CBC.
Dr. A.R. Dafoe’s Son, William Dafoe and Family – August 1st, 1998
William Dafoe (b.1917), the son of Dr. A.R. Dafoe and his wife Bertha L. Morrison, attended a special commemorative re-union along with his extended family in August of 1998. William was born and raised in this house, no doubt delivered and cared for by his father the doctor, and mother, a nurse! He and his family helped to dedicate a stone cairn in memory of his father.
The Dionne Quintuplet Sisters, Annette, Yvonne and Cecile – 1986
On October 16th, 1986 the surviving Dionne sisters Annette, Yvonne and Cecile were in Callander and dropped by Dr. Dafoe’s old home to have a look outside. The museum curator at the time recognized who they were and invited them in. It was the first time that any of the Dionne Quintuplets had set foot in the home of their former physician. Despite the bitter custody battle and fallout between their parents and Dr. Dafoe during the 1930′s and 1940′s, the Dionne sisters always held him in warm regard, and were very saddened by his death in 1943.
Michael J. Fox - 1968
What was Michael J. Fox up to in 1968? He was in grade 2 at Callander Public School just up the street! The story goes that his father was stationed at Canadian Forces Base North Bay for several years, and that his family settled in Callander during that time because they liked the area. What’s even more amazing is that 30 years earlier, the biggest names in Hollywood were driving past Michael’s school to see the Dionne Quintuplets.
Celebrities of the 1930′s and 1940′s
Amelia Earhart – April 1937
American pioneer aviator, Amelia Earhart, visited Dr. Dafoe’s home and the Dionne Quintuplets in April of 1937, five weeks before the Quints’ 3rd birthday. It was only several weeks later that she departed on her world-wide flight and later disappeared in the south Pacific Ocean.
James (Jimmy) Stewart and his wife, Gloria – September 1940
When Jimmy Steward and his wife Gloria came up to Callander in the late summer of 1940, they paid a visit to the home of Dr. A.R. Dafoe as well as having a private tour of Quintland. As related by his secretary at the time, Gordon Sinclair, Dr. Dafoe would ‘upstage’ his celebrity visitors by having them wait in his waiting room for 5 minutes, then he would suddenly emerge from his living quarters at the back, and welcome them as if he hadn’t known they were there!
Mae West - 1940′s
Likely the most provocative, outspoken, ‘femme fatale’ of the 1930′s was Mae West. She was the Madonna and Lady Gaga of her time. She visited Dr. A.R. Dafoe and went to see the Dionne Quints as well. She left her trademark saying on a card, which we still have, now framed on our ‘Celebrity Wall’. It reads “Come up and see me sometime.” But you’ll have to ‘come up and visit us sometime’ at the Museum if you’d like to see it in person!
At the peak of the Dionne Years in 1939, Clark Gable’s most famous role in “Gone with the Wind” hit the theaters. Starting as an extra in silent films in 1924, Gable rose to fame in the mid 1930′s and visited Quintland and Dr. Dafoe during that time.
Spotted wearing a fur coat during the summer months at Quintland was Bette Davis. Apparently she thought it was going to be cold in the northern climes of Canada!
One of the most famous actresses of the 1930′s, Greta Garbo began her film career in Sweden until she was discovered by Metro Goldwyn Mayer and came to Hollywood. She starred exclusively in silent films during the 1920′s, and began full audio productions in 1930.
Hollywood star James Cagney was in the North Bay and Trout Lake area in 1941 filming his latest movie, “Captains of the Clouds.” During a break from filming, he paid Dr. Dafoe a personal visit at his home in Callander, and the Dionne Quintuplets in Corbeil.