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Sir William Stephenson, man believed to be inspiration for James Bond, honoured with Manitoba lake

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Manitoba is honouring Sir William Stephenson, the man who many believe is the inspiration for the fictional James Bond, by naming a lake after the real-life spy.

Stephenson – who was codenamed Intrepid -- was born in Winnipeg and known as one of the great spies of the Second World War.

Now, the Government of Manitoba is honouring Stephenson, who was born 125 years ago, with the naming of Sir William Stephenson Lake located between lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba.

“This is a great tribute to a really outstanding Canadian,” said Dwight MacAulay, president of the Intrepid Society, in an interview on Sunday.

MacAulay added that the naming of the lake is a great honour that Stephenson deserves.

“Countries all over the world have recognized his outstanding contributions to the world, especially during World War II,” he said.

“There’s no doubt about it that his efforts played a major role in bringing about an end to World War II.”

Stephenson led Allied war efforts in gathering intelligence, and was instrumental in ending the Second World War.

“I don’t know that we’ll really know all that he did during World War II since he dealt in that shady area of espionage and spying and so on,” MacAulay said.

He has been recognized in Manitoba and across the world, including being knighted by King George VI, receiving the Order of the Merit and the Order of Canada.

Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, once wrote that Bond is a “highly romanticized” version of a true spy, but Stephenson was the real thing.

McAulay noted that Stephenson was a modest man who lived a quiet life after the war, but believes Stephenson would be pleased with the honour.

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