The Callander Bay Heritage Museum is located in the former home and practice of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, the physician to the Dionne Quintuplets. The birth of the five identical girls on May 28, 1934 was recognized earlier this year by the Canadian Government as being a nationally significant event that helped define Canadian history. Dr. Dafoe played a large role in keeping the infants alive in the weeks following their miraculous birth, and became known internationally for his role in their birth. He gained a level of fame that was almost as encompassing as the Quintuplets themselves. Many celebrities came to his home, now our museum, to meet him including Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Amelia Earhart, James Cagney, Dennis Morgan, and more in the 1930s and 1940s.
Built in 1904, the home was turned into a museum in 1982 and gained an art gallery addition in 1994. Today much of the original interior is maintained such as original window frames, floors, ceilings, and a dispensary under the stairs in which Dr. Dafoe used to mix medications for his patients. In 2001 the Municipality of Callander, then the Township of North Himsworth, designated the property as being of historic value or interest and that the distinguishing name for the house would be The Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe House.
In addition, MP Stan Darling (Progressive-Conservative candidate for the Parry Sound-Muskoka district elected in 1972, 1979, 1980, 1984, and 1988) was born in this house in 1911. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians which was awarded to a former parliamentarian “who has made an outstanding contribution to the country and its democratic institutions.”
In addition to exhibits on Dr. Dafoe and the Dionne Quintuplets, our museum also features a turn of the century barber shop, and exhibits on the shipping and logging industry in the area, general Callander history, and a featured exhibit on the geology of the region. The art gallery hosts five shows a year.