Welcome to the former home and practice of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, Physician to the Dionne Quintuplets! The doctor’s old home has served as the Callander Museum for over 30 years. We have a Permanent Collection available to see when you come to visit! This is a well maintained and preserved recollection of the past history of the Callander Bay area, which includes:
The Barber Shop
This turn of the last century barber shop (c. 1900) was first owned by Eugene Dufresne then passed on to his son, Alex Dufresne, and it was originally located on Main Street in Callander. Eugene had purchased it in Toronto and moved the furnishings up to Callander. Alex Dufresne, who was instrumental in creating the museum, donated this and many other articles to the museum’s collection. The barber shop was also used as a Credit Union where loans were given on a handshake. It was THE place to go and socialize.
Hanging on the wall are common kitchen tools: butter presses, a potato masher, a coffee grinder, and a toaster. The cast iron oven was donated by a resident of Callander and carefully restored by one of our board members; it is not original to the house. On the opposite wall is a display of common tools used at the turn of the last century.
This room was Dr. Dafoe’s refuge from the front of the house, which was used as his practice. He would sit and enjoy his favorite programs on his cabinet radio. Because there were few radios at the time, the doctor would sometimes bring the radio outside onto the porch when there was a special announcement from the Government or Queen. You will also see Dr. Dafoe’s original Karn organ, built in Woodstock, Ontario. He purchased this shortly after beginning practice in Callander in 1909.
Dr. Dafoe’s original Quint telephone, which provided a direct line to the nursery, is hung on the wall by the window. The Quints never came to the house, instead, when he was needed the doctor would receive a call and head over to the nursery. The medical display cases contain artifacts from Dr. Dafoe and his brother William, who was an obstetrician in a Toronto area hospital.
Around 1915, Dr. Dafoe added a living room and hearth because he wanted a comfortable, warm place to read his beloved books; he had at least fifteen hundred volumes. At times, if he liked you, he would lend out his books.
This room currently houses our very popular, “When Hollywood Came to Callander” display. On the walls are various original movie stills from 3 movies that were filmed in Corbeil by 20th Century Fox during the late 1930′s, starring the Dionne Quints. You will also find here the “Celebrity Wall” – a collection of photographs of famous celebrities who visited Dr. Dafoe’s home - Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Stewart, and James Cagney to name a few. There are also numerous Quint artifacts and memorabilia from the height of “Quintmania”
The doctor would come into this small closet under the stairs to wash up and mix medication for his patients, as there were no pharmacies in Callander in those days. Even though the house was sold twice after his passing, the owners found the dispensary quaint and left is as it was.
We have more exciting rooms in our Permanent Collection. To view these, please click on this link: Permanent Collection Continued