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Winnipeg Free Press
Love Letters to Manitoba


I'm spying on you!!

Supplied

Dearest Manitoba, 

How exciting it is to know that Sir William Samuel Stephenson (23 Jan 1897 – 31 Jan 1989) was a Canadian soldier, airman, businessman, inventor, spymaster & the senior representative of British Security Coordination (BSC) for the entire western hemisphere during World War II, was born in Point Douglas, Winnipeg, Manitoba. His mother was Icelandic, and his father was Scottish from the Orkney Islands. He was adopted early by an Icelandic family after his parents could no longer care for him, and given his foster parents' name, Stephenson.

He is best known by his wartime intelligence codename Intrepid. Many people consider him to be one of the real-life inspirations for James Bond.

Ian Fleming himself once wrote, "James Bond is a highly romanticized version of a true spy. The real thing is ... William Stephenson."

As head of the British Security Coordination, Stephenson handed over British scientific secrets to Franklin D. Roosevelt and relayed American secrets to Winston Churchill.

In addition, Stephenson has been credited with changing American public opinion from an isolationist stance to a supportive tendency regarding America's entry into World War II.

Quite the interesting history!! 

Give yourself some time to check out an read this gorgeous monument on York Avenue!

Dedications to Sir William Stephenson are as follows:

In 1997, a new public library built in Winnipeg was named for him, after a vote was held to choose the name of the new library.

Leo Mol donated a miniature of his statue of Stephenson to the library.

On 24 July 1999, The Princess Royal unveiled Leo Mol's life-sized bronze statue of Stephenson in military aviator uniform. The monument is dedicated to Stephenson's memory and achievements.

On 15 November 2009, Water Avenue in downtown Winnipeg was renamed William Stephenson Way.

Whitby, Ontario has a street named for Stephenson. It connects with streets named Intrepid and Overlord. The town is also home to Sir William Stephenson Public School, which opened in 2004.

In Oshawa, Ontario, Branch 637 of the Royal Canadian Legion is named for Stephenson. Intrepid Park, named after Stephenson's wartime code name, is located in southern Oshawa near the original Camp X site.

A historic plaque erected at the park reads as follows:

On this site British Security Co-ordination operated Special Training School No. 103 and Hydra. S.T.S. 103 trained Allied agents in the techniques of secret warfare for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) branch of the British Intelligence Service. Hydra Network communicated vital messages between Canada, the United States and Great Britain. This commemoration is dedicated to the service of the men and women who took part in these operations.

In Memory of Sir William Stephenson 'The Man Called Intrepid'

Born at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 11 January 1896. Died at Paget, Bermuda, 31 January 1989. Director of British Security Co-ordination. 1941–1946.

And so I thank you Manitoba, I thank you for honouring a man so great, so worldly, so honour-bound, and a fellow Manitoban for all his achievements!

Best regards, 

Tara



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