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1914::The Duchess and Her Royal Christmas Gift of Maple Syrup to Canadian Soldiers

A special gift of Maple Syrup from home.

1914::British Columbia's Soldiers Enjoying Their Gift of Maple Syrup

"1914::British Columbia's Soldiers Enjoying Their Gift of Maple Syrup"

Photo Clip: Daily Record (1914)

Lanarkshire, Scotland

In December 1914, Canadian soldiers overseas were enduring their first war-torn Christmas far away from home when they received a special gift of Maple Syrup to lift their spirits. Canada's Duchess of Connaught sent the gift early, hoping each soldier would receive their share on time. Thrilled about their tasty treat from home, the soldiers distributed 12,000 pounds of genuine Canadian Maple Syrup to every Canadian soldier by Christmas morning.

1907::Princess Louise, Duchess of Connaught  - née Princess of Prussia (1860-1917)

"1907::Princess Louise, Duchess of Connaught née Princess of Prussia (1860-1917)"

Photo: (tbd)

The Duchess' husband, the Duke of Connaught, was the third son of Queen Victoria and the first member of the Royal Family to become Governor General of Canada. In every way, the Duke and his Duchess were big fans of the young country. They had travelled coast-to-coast twice by train, being sure to attend Calgary's first official Stampede in 1912 and sailing to Victoria at the far outpost of Vancouver Island, winning many hearts along their journey.

1916::Duchess of Connaught's Canadian Hospital

"1916::Duchess of Connaught's Canadian Hospital"

Clip: Victoria Dail Times (1916)

Victoria, British Columbia

In 1914, at the beginning of the Great War, the Duchess' health began to deteriorate. Ignoring her need for rest, she forged ahead and set up fundraisers in her name to benefit soldiers serving overseas. She set up places for soldiers to heal on her wealthy friends' estates, upgraded existing hospitals and purchased ambulances throughout Europe to service Canadian soldiers. She was untiring in her war contribution and greatly respected for her effort. By 1916, her health was of great concern. Rumours were circulating that her husband had retired as Governor General to return his ailing wife to Britain. At least there, she would be far away from Canada's harsh winters and, more importantly, her work. However, the Duchess found she could accomplish more for Canadian soldiers from her familiar British soil. She devoted her final days to alleviating the conditions faced by Canadian Prisoners of War in Germany by writing to officials as President of the Canadian Red Cross Society. She did not live to see the war's end and died of influenza on March 14, 1917, just weeks after her return to Britain from Canada.

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