The Real James Bond is From Winnipeg

James Bond in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Travel Manitoba
Travel Manitoba
Sharing the best places to experience, wander, behold, explore and feed your spirit in Manitoba.

A version of this post originally appeared on the Manitoba Hot website.

 

Winnipeg. Winnipeg, Manitoba.

 

Believe it or not, it’s this Canadian city that indirectly spawned beloved British spy James Bond. The inspiration for the much-beloved spy was real secret agent William Stephenson, who was a friend of Bond creator Ian Flemming.

 

Stephenson was born in Winnipeg and made his way from humble working class roots to a life of international intrigue, befriending the likes of President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill along the way.

 

Should Hollywood decide to stage its next Bond production in Manitoba where it all began, we’ve got a few plot points to make this the most action-packed adventure 007 has had to date. 

The bad guy lair

 

The bottom of the Hudson Bay is the perfect hideout site for the vilest of villains. Throw in the added bonus of a chase scene along the Churchill River in Northern Manitoba and you’ve got yourself a denouement. Picture Bond in his wetsuit, zipping along in a zodiac as underwater technology allows him to decode the chirps and twills of helpful belugas to uncover the secrets of his enemy. Our hero then shows his softer side swimming side by side with the friendly mammals, thanking them for their help. 

 

The black tie party

 

No Bond story is complete without the opportunity for him to don a tux. The Canadian Museum for Human Right’s opulent architecture and soaring spaces make for the perfect black tie party. The scene unfolds with cocktails in the Garden of Contemplation when a man in black crashes through one of the 1669 panes of glass that make up the museum’s airy ceiling. Cue the fight scene in amongst the museums numerous interactive galleries as the chase goes higher and higher culminating inside the Tower of Peace. Oh, the irony. 

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The bond girl encounter

 

She’s ubiquitous and she’s hanging out at Winnipeg’s Nordic Spa, Thermea. A swimsuit clad Bond slides into the giant hot tub where he locks eyes with the feisty Ivana Winter across the steam. They get a little closer, deciding to rendezvous in the vaporo sauna and then cooling off with an icy plunge in the polarber bath. They clink champagne glasses sitting next to a mini bonfire, enjoying a moment of relaxation. 

The big fight scene

 

Bond brushes up on his old school fighting skills with swords, shields, and armour as he finds himself battling a band of voracious Vikings on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Known as New Iceland, this area boasts Manitoba’s oldest cultural festival, Islendingadagurinn (which Bond pronounces with ease on the first try), an homage to our Icelandic Heritage. 

The secret code

 

Manitoba’s Legislative Building is a mystery wrapped in a riddle, with its hieroglyphic inscriptions, numerologic codes, and its nods to the Freemasons. These secret codes have eluded visitors (and politicians) for years. But obviously, our hero will crack the code without breaking a sweat — after a quick rendezvous with M held in the shadows of this architectural wonder. 

The reflective moment

 

Some might argue that Bond has become a bit more serious in recent years, reflecting on the life he’s lived. What better place to contemplate his existence than staring at the man who inspired it all — the statue of Sir William Stephenson. Donated by the Intrepid Society, the memorial stands as a tribute to the myth and the man, surrounded by the bustle of downtown Winnipeg on a quiet patch of grass in front of Manitoba’s seat of political power, the Legislature. 

 

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