On this day: the death of Winnipeg the bear

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Winnie in 1914 X

Winnipeg (or Winnie), a female black bear from Canada and the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh, died in London Zoo on the 12th of May, 1934. She was twenty at the time.

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Winnie and Harry Colebourn X

Winnie was purchased as an orphaned cub at a train stop in Ontario in 1914. She was bought for $20 by Harry Colebourn, a twenty-seven year old veterinarian who had volunteered for World War One and was on his way to report for duty. He named her after his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Winnie plays with Canadian soldiers during WW1.

Winnie, who became a military mascot, was kept in London for the years Colebourn served in the war, and he eventually donated her to the zoo.

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Winnie-the-Pooh makes a debut on Christmas Eve, 1925. X

The inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh came after creator A. A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin visited the bear at the zoo and changed the name of his toy bear from “Edward Bear” to “Winnie the Pooh”.

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3 thoughts on “On this day: the death of Winnipeg the bear

  1. I love the background of “Winnie”- and the photos- thanks for sharing!

  2. […] animal mascots to the trenches was quite common in the First World War, including kangaroos, and Winnie the black bear who inspired […]

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