The Canadian spy who inspired Ian Fleming to create James Bond

Canadians have come up with a lot of great things.

Maple syrup, delicious donuts, Justin Bieber, Jim Carrey… But did you know that they may have also helped create James Bond, the British flagship franchise? This little-known fact is about to be exposed…


The Big Question

There is a debate that Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, was actually influenced by a Canadian secret agent who lived the life of suave sophistication, martini drinks and charm. His name was Sir William Samuel Stephenson, and many believe that this man was the real James Bond – or as close to him as anyone has ever been.

The evidence linking Fleming to Sir William Stephenson is strong and the similarities between him and the famous British agent are just as strong. Yet, the question if this Canadian did really inspire Ian Fleming has never been put to rest. Nevertheless, much of the evidence suggests that he really was the inspiration of 007.


A Little More on Sir William Stephenson

The Canadian started out as an inventor which earned him a place among the elite of London, working in political circles. However, he soon moved position to be in charge of security intelligence and was influential in breaking codes during the war, helping to capture at least one German spy. He was also working as a secret agent during this time. After the war, he worked in the West Indies before retiring to Bermuda.

Although impressive, there is nothing in this short bio to suggest James Bond-like qualities. When we dig a little deeper, the resemblance starts to unfold.


Sir William Stephenson or James Bond?

Much of the comparisons between Sir William Stephenson and James Bond have sprouted from literature and memoirs. Here are some of the best to take note of and some other pieces of evidence:

  • His regimental number was 700758
  • The True Intrepid book stated that Stephenson loved gadgets, which is true and shown in his savvy inventions.
  • Ian Fleming was astounded by Stephenson’s inventions and his overall persona.
  • Ian Fleming has reportedly stated that Stephenson was one of the world’s best secret agents.
  • In a biography of Ian Fleming by John Pearson, he suggests one scene where a Japanese girl was shot in Casino Royale is supposedly an exaggerated tale that Fleming had with Stephenson.


Or Was Bond Based on Himself?

The counter-argument is that Ian Fleming had based some of the James bond traits on himself. He was too an aloof British gent with a sense of style and a like for gambling. It is possible that Fleming did model some of Bond on himself, but he was also bowled over by Sir William Stephenson’s brilliance.

What do you think?