THE BEAR ESSENTIALS
“BOUGHT BEAR $20.” Little did Lieutenant Harry Colebourn know that the diary in which he recorded the purchase of Winnie the bear at White River, Ontario, would become a priceless artifact more than a hundred years later.
Colebourn’s war diaries from 1914 to 1918 are the centrepiece of a new exhibit at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Pavillion Gallery Museum. Entitled Remembering the Real Winnie, the exhibit also includes photographs and other objects belonging to the First World War veterinarian who took the female bear cub overseas as a mascot. Winnie was the inspiration for author A.A. Milne’s classic children’s tales of Winnie-the-Pooh.
“Winnie had such a good temperament that she worked her way into the hearts of the soldiers of the regiment,” curator Irene Gammel said at the exhibition’s opening in November 2016.
The project was executed out of Ryerson University in Toronto and includes the exhibit as well as a film and a website — therealwinnie.ryerson.ca.
The free exhibit is on loan at the museum’s Pooh Gallery until October 31, 2017. The Pooh Gallery also contains the showpiece oil painting Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Pot by E.H. Shepard, the original illustrator of Milne’s books.