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Winnie the Pooh is From Winnipeg

harry colebournDid you know Winnie the Pooh was from Winnipeg? A statue at Assiniboine Park helps tell the story. 

harry-coleburn-and-winnie public domain wikipediaHarry Colebourn was born in England in 1887 and immigrated to Canada at age 18. After graduating as a veterinarian from a Ontario college he moved to Winnipeg. He joined the army during World War I and on his way to a training camp in Quebec he bought a bear cub. The train had made a stop at White River, Ontario and there Harry met a hunter who sold him a female bear cub for $20. The hunter had killed its mother. Harry named the bear Winnie after his adopted home city of Winnipeg. Harry was posted to England and took Winnie with him where she quickly became the mascot of Harry’s regiment, The Fort Garry Horse. Harry was the regiment’s veterinarian. When Harry was sent to France for three years he put Winnie in the London Zoo.

aa milne and son public domainWhen author A. A. Milne visited the London Zoo with his son Christopher, the young boy immediately fell in love with Winnie the bear cub and named his teddy bear after Winnie. That teddy bear would become the main character in a series of stories his father would write about Winnie the Pooh.

After the war Major Harry Colebourn decided to leave Winnie in the London Zoo and went back to Winnipeg where he practiced veterinary medicine till just a couple of years prior to his death in 1947.

A. A. Milne’s books about Winnie the Pooh became beloved pieces of children’s literature read around the world. Later Walt Disney turned the stories into a movie and television series.

winnie the pooh statue assiniboine parkThis statue just outside the Children’s Nature Playground at Assiniboine Park recognizes the connection between Winnipeg and the literary character Winnie the Pooh. A plaque nearby explains the story of Harry Colebourn. His impetuous decision to purchase a bear cub and name it after Winnipeg had consequences that reached far beyond anything he might have imagined.

Other posts……

Did you Know James Bond Was From Winnipeg?

Winnipeg’s Millennium Library

A Quick Visit to Assiniboine Park

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A Quick Visit to Assiniboine Park

On Friday morning our out-of-town guests had a few hours free so I offered to take them on a meander through Winnipeg’s signature park -The  Assiniboine Park.I had no idea the park had started a trolley service- but what a great idea.We were able to take a double-decker bus all the way from the front gate to the English Gardens.Most of the flowers in the English Garden aren’t in full bloom yet but we did see

some lovely poppies.We visited the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.  Mol is Winnipeg’s most famous sculptor. Here Beena and I pose with Mol’s depiction of Moses. In the Topiary Garden we saw a bison made out of dried grasses anda whole series of frog musicians fashioned out of plants and flowers. My friend Meena was especially interested in this statue telling the story of Winnie the Pooh who was named after the city of Winnipeg. She had read about it in a previous blog post of mine. Later we visited the Winnie the Pooh Gallery in the main park building where we learned more both about A. A Milne the Winnie the Pooh author and E.H. Shepard the illustrator. Soon it was time for our guests to be picked up for their excursion to the Winnipeg Mint and so we left the park. 

Other posts about Assiniboine Park…….

Qualico Family Centre

Winnie the Pooh 

Leo Mol Sculpture Garden


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Filed under Art, Nature, Winnipeg