Winnie the Peg
The willy nilly silly old bear was actually named for Winnipeg
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.