Win­nie the Peg

The willy nilly silly old bear was ac­tu­ally named for Winnipeg

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - SPECIAL REPORT: TOP - Sean Plum­mer

A.A. Milne may have been English, but his cre­ation, Win­nie the Pooh, has roots in Canada.

Milne based the honey-lov­ing bear on his son Christo­pher Robin’s stuffed teddy, which the boy named Win­nie af­ter see­ing a fe­male black bear with that name at the Lon­don Zoo.

The zoo’s Win­nie was on loan from Cap­tain Harry Cole­bourne, a mem­ber of the 2nd Cana­dian In­fantry Brigade. Cole­bourne had bought the bear as a cub dur­ing his brigade’s stop in White River, On­tario, for $20 from a hunter who had killed her mother (the Brigade was on its way from Winnipeg to fight in World War I). He named her Winnipeg, af­ter Cole­bourne’s home­town. Win­nie, for short, sub­se­quently be­came the brigade’s mas­cot, and they took her to Eng­land with them.

Milne’s first Pooh story, Win­nie-the-Pooh, was pub­lished in 1926. Winnipeg the bear lived at Lon­don Zoo un­til her death in 1934.

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