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1914::The Royal Christmas Gift of Maple Syrup for Canadian Soldiers

Updated: Apr 10

A special gift 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. To lift their spirits, Canada's Duchess of Connaught sent them a special gift of Maple Syrup. She sent it early, hoping each soldier would receive their share on time. The soldiers were thrilled to receive their tasty treat from home and managed to distribute 12,000 pounds of genuine Canadian Maple Syrup 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. Twice they had travelled coast-to-coast by train, being sure to sail to Victoria at the far outpost of Vancouver Island. In 1912, they attended Calgary's first official Stampede and won many hearts along their journey; in return, Canadians won theirs.

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. Hospitals and places for soldiers to heal were set up on her wealthy friends' estates. She arranged to upgrade existing hospitals and purchased ambulances throughout Europe to service Canadian soldiers. She was known to be untiring in her war contribution and was greatly respected for her effort. By 1916 her health was of great concern. It was rumoured that her husband had retired as Governor General to return his ailing wife to Britain, where she would be far away from Canada's harsh winters and her work. However, upon her return to Britain, the Duchess continued her effort for Canadian soldiers. In March 1917, 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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