On this day: the death of Winnipeg the bear


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.


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.


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.


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”.

On this day: the founding of a university

The University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada received its charter on the 28th of February, 1877.

The university was officially opened on the 20th of June the same year, and awarded its first degrees in 1880.



On this day: the aeroplane that landed with no fuel, no engines and no power.

gimli glider - wayne

On the 23rd of July, 1983 Air Canada flight 143 landed on a racing track in Gimli, Manitoba after experiencing both a fuel shortage and the failure of both engines.

All sixty-nine people on board survived.

8.Front escape ramp of the Boeing 767 - 23 July 1983.

After the landing.

The ground crew responsible for the refuelling had calculated the fuel in pounds instead of kilograms, which meant the plane was flying on less than half what it needed to reach its destination.

When one engine failed, the pilots assumed the other would not. However it did, and seconds later the entire plane lost all power, with everything in the cockpit going blank.

One of the pilots had previously served at RCAF Station Gimli, and suggested they try and land there. However, what neither he nor the air traffic controller knew was that part of the base had been converted into a motor racing circuit, including a karting track and an area for drag racing.

Additionally, a Winnipeg Sports Car Club race was underway.

6.Inspecting the damaged aircraft after landing at Gimli - 23 July 1983.

After the landing.

With no working engines, the plane made next to no noise as it approached the track, and so the people on the ground had no warning.

Even so, the pilots managed to land the plane without anyone on the ground being hurt, though one pilot reported two boys were riding their bikes only feet from where the plane came to a stop.

Flight 143 after landing at Gimli, Manitoba.

The only injuries experienced by passengers happened when they were escaping the plane. Because the rear of the plane was higher than normal, the escape slides were not long enough to reach the ground.