A Canadian Family

Natives, French Canadians & Acadians

The New Midgets Palace (Pt.1/3) | Count and Countess Nicol of Montreal

Little People | Little People Entertainments | Midgets | Little People HistoryI have a very faint memory that dates back to over 50 years ago when I was a little girl growing up in Ville Lasalle, and my parents brought me downtown to visit what we called “The Dollhouse”. I remember that I was enchanted with the visit but that my mother felt vaguely uncomfortable and warned me before going in that I should “be polite”. I’ve since found out that what I was visiting was “The New Midgets Palace” which was an independant business founded by Montrealers Count and Countess Nicol. It was later bought by another person of short stature – Mme Huguette Riou-Bastien – and I’m actually not yet sure who I saw when I visited!

The Nicols were living in a time when there was very little respect for differences and very few opportunities for people who were considered “different”. In that context the Nichols were unusually successful in that they ran their own independant business, as opposed to many others who were exploited in the sideshow circuits.

Of course, fast forward to today and you will find that “freak shows” have disappeared and Little People (as most prefer to be called) have joined mainstream society. So, I offer this postcard as an artefact of bygone days – thankfully gone!

Related Posts:

The New Midgets Palace (Pt.2/3) | Count and Countess Nicol of Montreal

The New Midgets Palace (Pt.3/3) | Count and Countess Nicol of Montreal

Further Reading – Midget Palace

Photographs by Ed Deasy – Interior of the Midget Palace

Weird 1940s tourist attraction ad: “The Midget Palace” – Boing Boing

Biographical Sketches of the Count and Countess Philippe Nicol

Sideshow World, Freak Central, Sideshow Performers from around the ..

Genealogy & Dufresne connections to Lowell, Mass.

En francais

Le “Palais des nains”  –  histoire du Plateau Mont-Royal

Montreal Taxi Blog: Le Palais des Nains

Further Reading – Little People

Little People of America

Little People of Canada Web site

Visit Alan Brunett’s Sepia Saturdays by clicking on the logo in the far right sidebar.

January 30, 2010 - Posted by | .


  1. Evelyn,
    It’s a charming postcard and the countess and her son are portrayed with dignity.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think the discrimination against little people is a thing of the past. I wish it were. Dwarf tossing is still considered a fun sport by some; people compete to see who can throw a dwarf the farthest. Efforts to ban this bar room “sport” have only had limited success…not just in the U.S., but also in Canada and other countries.


    Comment by Christine | January 30, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Christine,
      You’re right. I think we’ve come a long way and I guess I tend to judge things by the people I associate with and also by the general rules of “civil society”, but after posting I checked through some of the blog entries using tag words like “midget” and “dwarf” and found some pretty appalling comments.
      I guess the one big change would be that although people who are “different” because of their size (or whatever) might still be discriminated against on a personal level, there are many more opportunities available to them today than fifty years ago.
      Thanks for your comments!


      Comment by evelynyvonnetheriault | January 30, 2010 | Reply

  2. Evelyn, I think I may have linked to the wrong post. I did post an update to lead people to yours and a few others’ blogs, but I fear it was too late. Perhaps next week, if you decide to participate again, you can let me know on Friday and I will make sure the link is visible early on and people will readily find you.



    Comment by acadianeire | January 31, 2010 | Reply

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