The original bear was an orphaned cub found near White River, Ontario, Canada, in 1914. She was sold for $20 to a British-born Canadian soldier named Harry Colebourn, who raised her as a pet. He called his little bear Winnie, after his adopted Canadian hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
|Julie at Winnie statue, White River, Ontario, 1995.|
When Captain Colebourn was deployed to England during WWI, he took Winnie with him. Soon, he was off to France, so he had Winnie stay at the London Zoo. She was so friendly that adults and children alike could pet her and even ride on her. When WWI ended in 1918, Captain Colebourn saw how much the Londoners loved Winnie, and he decided to leave her at the zoo for everyone's enjoyment. That's where author A.A. Milne and his son, Christopher Robin Milne, met Winnie. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, White River, Ontario has a statue and even a festival dedicated to Winnie. Click here to read more about Winnie's story.