Winnipeg the Bear

Around 1915, during the First World War, a small bear cub was smuggled into Britain. Lt. Harry Colebourn, of The Fort Garry Horse Canadian cavalry regiment and aforementioned smuggler, named her after the town he grew up in: Winnipeg.

Harry Colebourn feeding Winnie Image from the Colebourn Family Archive
Harry Colebourn feeding Winnie
Image from the Colebourn Family Archive

Winnipeg became the unofficial regimental mascot for the time Lt. Colebourn spent in Britain. And while her original destination was to be Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, he gave “Winnie” an official home at the zoo in London. There she had gained many fans and was already much loved by the people of London for her playful attitude. Among these fans was one Christopher Robin Milne. Also popularly known as: Christopher Robin.

Christopher and Winnie
Christopher and Winnie

Christopher Robin, loving Winnie so much, named his own teddy bear Winnie. Thus, Winnie-the-Pooh was created.

Happy Birthday to A. A. Milne. You have inspired us all.

Post Script:
In reference to the name “Pooh” Milne had this to say,
“But his arms were so stiff … they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think — but I am not sure — that that is why he is always called Pooh.”

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