The tale of how the famous storybook bear got her name began at an Ontario railway station in August of 1914. Can you tell which parts of the story are true and which aren’t?
ALL A-BEAR! >>
Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, a vet from Winnipeg, was on a train heading for a military camp in Valcartier, Que. The First World War was underway, and Colebourn was going to look after horses. When the train stopped in White River, Ont., he saw a man with a seven-month-old female black bear cub. Colebourn bought her for $20 (about $475 in modern money).
WE’LL CALL HER . . .
Colebourn named the cub Winnipeg Bear, soon shortened to Winnie. He kept her with him all through his time at Valcartier. She was so tame the men could play with her, and she became the mascot for their unit, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. When it was time to board a ship for England, Winnie came, too.
Hungry as A . . . >>
The ship’s crew thought it was unlucky to have a bear on board. And in one way, they were right. When a forgetful cook’s assistant forgot to lock the ship’s huge refrigerator, Winnie broke in and ate every bit of fresh fruit. The passengers had only canned pineapple and peaches for the rest of the voyage if they wanted fruit.
When it was time for Colebourn’s brigade to leave for the battlefields of France in 1915, he knew Winnie couldn’t come with them. He took her to the London Zoo where she would be safe. He assured the zookeepers she was gentle, but (not surprisingly) they didn’t believe him.
Bear-y Popular >>
Winnie was a hit at the zoo. Because of her time with Colebourn and the other men, she was so calm and friendly that visitors could feed her, usually a mixture of corn syrup and condensed milk. Children even rode on her back. The author A.A. Milne often came to the zoo with his son, Christopher Robin, who loved the bear. He and Winnie are shown at right.
<<Winnie and the World
After the war, Harry Colebourn saw how much Winnie was adored by the families who visited her, so he donated the black bear to the zoo for good in 1919. Christopher Robin Milne named his favourite teddy bear after Winnie, and added the name of a friend’s pet swan, Pooh. In 1926, his father published the first book of stories that would become so well-loved, Winnie-the-Pooh.
The section called Hungry as A… The section called Hungry as A…
is not true, but everything else is not true, but everything else about Winnipeg the bear and how about Winnipeg the bear and how
she became Winnie-the-Pooh is! she became Winnie-the-Pooh is!