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Winnie the Bear – the Origins of Winnie the Pooh

I knew that A.A. Milne’s beloved, simple bear Winnie the Pooh was named after Manitoba’s capital city, Winnipeg, and that there was indeed a real bear – a black bear from Canada who ended up at a zoo in London, England – who went by that name. But apparently, the whole backstory is interesting.

In Winnipeg author M.A. Appleby wrote a book about the origins of Winnie, called Winnie the Bear. Appleby’s father was a close friend of the son of Harry Colebourn, the Canadian Lieutenant and veterinarian who adopted the beloved black bear cub in World War I.

From the author’s web site:

Winnie the Bear follows the life of one Canadian black bear cub from her adoption in 1914 by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian, to becoming a celebrated star at the London Zoo. Her many admirers at the Zoo included A. A. Milne and his young son Christopher, who adored Winnie and gave her a unique name. Appleby takes us along to discover the inspirational role of Winnie the Bear in A. A. Milne’s creation of the much loved character Winnie-the-Pooh.

I love that this little black bear cub and the little boy who loved her enough to name his teddy after her inspired one of the most iconic and well-known characters in children’s literature – not to mention collectible.

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