Winnie the Pooh turned 100 years old yesterday. Well, okay, the saga did. Nobody knows when the bear was born. You tend not to want to be around for those events:
Lt. Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian and soldier with the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, came across the orphaned female bear cub on Aug. 24, 1914.As we always do in these cases, it's good to remind everybody that you may have heard Christopher Milne the young adult hating the books, but may not have heard that he calmed down by the time he was in his 50s
"It's such a fascinating story to me that something from such a different, ancient time and far away is so directly connected to this city of ours," said Mary Anne Appleby, a Winnipeg author who penned the 2011 biography Winnie the Bear.
As the story goes, when Colebourn's troop train stopped in White River, Ont., he met a hunter who had shot and killed the bear cub's mother, without whom the cub was almost certain to die.
Colebourn offered the hunter $20 for the cub, whom he named Winnipeg Bear to commemorate the city where he had lived before the war. The name was soon shortened to Winnie.
Winnie accompanied Colebourn to England, where the cub played with Canadian soldiers during their off-hours in their encampment on the Salisbury Plains.
Colebourn later donated Winnie to the London Zoo, where the bear inspired the creation of A.A. Milne's famous children's book character. Winnie died at the zoo in 1934.