This classic children's story has been entertaining young people since it first appeared in 1926. And today is the perfect time to visit, or revisit, the Hundred Acre Wood and take a step back to a kinder, gentler time. To celebrate Pooh's special day, I dug up some weird and wonderful facts about Winnie the Pooh that I would like to share with you.
1. Although A. A. Milne was British, Winnie the bear was not. The real bear who inspired him, Winnie, was a Canadian female black bear.
2. The real Winnie was adopted as a cub by a Canadian veterinarian named Harry Coleburn in 1914. Colebourn, originally from Winnipeg, found the bear cub on a train platform in White River, Ontario. war trains would routinely stop at White River for four to six hours for maintenance and supplies, and to let the horses off for food and water.
3. Harry Colebourn, the vet, purchased the bear cub doe $20 which would be about $450 in today's currency. On August 24th, 1914, he recorded the event in his diary.
4. After Winnie and Colebourn were stationed at the Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec for a bit, Winnie traveled overseas with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade and was a mascot for the men.
5. When the time came to ship out to France, Colebourn drove Winnie to the London Zoo. His intention was to loan Winnie to the zoo during the war. Her stay there started on Dec. 9, 1914. However, when Colebourn visited Winnie at the zoo at the war's end, he saw how happy the bear was and decided to make the loan a permanent one.
6. The real Winnie had a sweet tooth and preferred condensed milk to raw meat.
7. Christopher Robin Milne loved the real Winnie and was once allowed to feed her in her enclosure at the zoo.
8. Christopher Robin's stuffed animals...Winnie, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Roo were donated to the New York Public Library in 1987. The toys recently underwent a major repair job with cleaning, getting patched up, and vacuumed. Eeyore needed the most work.
9. Tigger was not an original character and didn't show up until the second book, The House at Pooh Corner.
10. In a new collection of stories to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh in 2016, Pooh makes a new friend: Penguin. The new character was inspired by a photo of Milne and young Christopher plating with a stuffed teddy and toy penguin.
11. The Hundred Acre Wood characters Owl and Rabbit were the only two that weren't inspired by Christopher Robin's toys. Instead, their characters came from real animals on Cotchford Farm, the Milnes' property in Sussex.
12. From the 1960s to the 1980s the Sears department store chain had the exclusive American rights to sell Winnie the Pooh merchandise. And that included a line of
Pooh-rated children's clothing.
13. The Cambridge University Pembroke College Winnie-the-Pooh Society was established in 1993. The Queen is apparently a member. They regularly meet at 4 p.m. every Saturday of the full term to drink tea, eat cake and read from the works of A.A. Milne. The annual membership fee is £2.
14. The Latin translation of Winnie the Pooh is the only book in Latin to ever make it onto the New York Time's best seller list. And finally,
15. Winnie the Pooh is the patron saint of teddy bears.
That does it for me this week. I hope you enjoyed learning these fun facts about Pooh and his friends. I wish you a safe and happy weekend. Consider spending time with your own BFFs, exploring a Hundred Acre Woods near you. I'll be back here again on Monday and I invite you to join me. Until then,