Can you believe Winnie The Pooh has been a childhood classic for almost 90 years? But there’s one massive fact, which we never knew, until now.
If you grew up in Britain the chances are the A.A. Milne’s classics formed part of your bed time reading. Or if you were a Disney kid (and let’s face it, who wasn’t?) you surely would have fallen in love with Walt Disney’s imagining’s, of the little yellow bear with an addiction to honey.
But did you know, Winnie The Pooh, is actually a girl? Mind blown? Yeah, we know!
So you probably already knew Winnie The Pooh began as the humble bedtime stories told by a father to his son. Bedtime stories all about the adventures of that little boy’s favourite teddy bear. But did you know that the favourite bear was named after a real life bear called Winniepeg?
Winniepeg was a female black Canadian bear who was rescued form Winniepeg in Canada (hence her name) and adopted by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in the 1920s. The Bear was so loved by the Lieutenant’s regiment that she became their unofficial mascot. However Harry and Winnie were destined to be parted as the First World War saw Harry and his regiment shipped away to France to fight on the front line. However, before leaving Lieutenant Coleburn made sure Winnie had a good home, taking her to London Zoo, where she was instantly adored by the public.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
– Winnie The Pooh (A.A Milne)
And can you guess who one of those adoring members of the public were? Of course, it was sweet little Christopher Robin, who would then name his own teddy after the black-furred Canadian bear.
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The real Winnie quickly became one of Christopher Robin’s favourite animals at the zoo and the pair were even photographed together, upon one of Christopher’s many visits to the zoo with his father, A.A Milne, in 1926.
Winniepeg lived out the rest of her days in London Zoo and although it’s said she was an extremely tame and happy bear, just like the Pooh-bear we all love, we can’t disclose whether or not she was quite so keen on honey.
“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey.” – Winnie The Pooh (A.A Milne)
By Hayley Thompson