Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day!

Hallo everyone. Today is...Winnie the Pooh Day! Winnie the Pooh Day was created to celebrate author Alan Alexander Milne (A.A .Milne) who was born on this day in 1882. A. A. Milne was an author of many children's story books, most famously those which include Winnie the Pooh and his pals from 100-Acre-Wood; Christopher Robin, motherly Kanga, bouncing Tigger, gloomy Eeyore, nervous Piglet, little Roo, bossy Rabbit and ol' smarty the Owl.

It's all in the Name

The origins of the name given to Winnie the Pooh begins during WWI. During World War I, troops in transit to eastern Canada stopped at White River, Ontario. Lieutenant Harry Colebourn purchased a small female black bear cub for $20 from a hunter who had killed its mother. He named her Winnipeg, after his Canadian hometown, Winnie for short. “Winnie” became a pet for the soldiers, sleeping under the cot of her master even after they reached the Salisbury Plains in England. As Winnie got bigger, she loved to climb the centre pole in the soldier’s tent and give it a shake. It was becoming a concern that the tent might collapse during the night, so she was tethered to a pole outside the tent. In 1914, Colebourn asked the London Zoo to keep an eye on the bear until he returned from France. Eventually, on December 1, 1918, Captain Colebourn officially donated the growing bear to the zoo when he noted how much attention the bear was receiving at the zoo. Christopher Robin Milne and his father A. A. Milne were frequent visitors to the zoo and soon the bear became Christopher favorite zoo animal. These meetings inspired Christopher to name his own teddy bear, given to him on his first birthday, Winnie.

A.A. Milne writes "Well, when Edward Bear said that he would like an exciting name all to himself, Christopher Robin said at once, without stopping to think, that he was Winnie-the-Pooh. And he was."

Winnie-the-Pooh's Winnipeg connection began in August of 1914 when a young veterinarian, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, enlisted in the Canadian army. Harry's regiment, The Fort Garry Horse, soon left Winnipeg on a train bound for Quebec. The train stopped at White River, Ontario. There, on the station platform, Harry spotted a hunter carrying an orphaned black bear cub. Harry bought the cub for twenty dollars and they continued on their journey together. Harry named the bear Winnie after his current home base of Winnipeg. The two soon became good friends and after a short stay in Quebec they sailed for England. While camped at Salisbury Plain Winnie stayed in Colebourn's tent, slept under his cot, and became a favourite of the Canadian soldiers. When Lt. Colebourn's unit was ordered to the battlefields of France, Harry placed Winnie in the London Zoo for safekeeping. Four years later, in 1918, Harry returned to London to take Winnie home. It didn't take long for Harry to realize what a hit Winnie was with the children. Harry donated Winnie to the London Zoo permanently and Harry, now a Captain, returned to Winnipeg alone...
Over eighty years ago, the community of White River, Ontario, Canada, bid farewell to a little black bear cub. This bear would become the inspiration of author A.A. Milne and subsequently became one of the most loved bears in the world. This is her story.
Cooking with Pooh
Each year on the 3rd weekend in August, the White River Historical Society celebrates Winnie's Hometown Festival. Since August is a long way off, I thought perhaps I would share a smackerel from Cooking with Pooh written by Marlene Brown, pencilled by Ed Murietta and painted by Bretchen Van Pelt, copyright 1995. I found additional recipes from Cooking with Pooh online and have left the link below. The scanned recipe is for Pooh's Honey Cookies on a Stick. I will be sending another box to Idaho in the near future. I think it is high time I send this book since I think Tabi & Noah already have the cookie cutters which came with the book. They are quite the little bakers you know:)
'Winnie-the-Pooh' was published on October 14th, 1926, the verses 'Now We are Six' in 1927, and 'The House at Pooh Corner' in 1928. All these books were illustrated in a beautiful way by E.H. Shepard, which made the books even more magical. The Pooh-books became firm favourites with old and young alike and have been translated into almost every known language. A conservative figure for the total sales of the four Methuen editions (including When We Were Very Young) up to the end of 1996 would be over 20 million copies. These figures do not include sales of the four books published by Dutton in Canada and the States, nor the foreign-language editions printed in more than 25 languages the world over! source

1. Winnie the Pooh Day: Ambassador of Friendship Day
2. Alan Alexander Milne
3. The History of Winnie
4. Winnie-the-Pooh FAQ
5. A real Pooh timeline
6. Meet the characters @ Disney
7. Other Cooking with Pooh recipes
8. Owl's Recipes
9. Pooh-inspired recipes


  1. If Eeyore were going to be attending Winnie-the-Poohs' birthday party there would have to be nettle soup.

  2. Nice story as always, Louise. My 8-year old daughter is a big fan of Winnie and I bought her a Winnie stuffed toy just last Christmas. I didn't know about Winnie's history until I read your article. I think my daughter will be interested in telling me this story during bedtime ;)

  3. What an excellent history! I had no idea of the origin of the name. The first book I remember reading entirely on my own is "The House at Pooh Corner." I still have the same edition, and have given copies many times over to little friends and relatives. Well, off to find a pot of honey ...

  4. I love Winnie the Pooh! The Pond needs a party to celebrate!

  5. Love that place. Right around the corner from me.

  6. Hi Karen, thank you so much for that soup tidbit.

    It's hard to imagine a world without Winnie the Pooh. He "speaks" everyone's language; young or old. Thanks for stopping in Dennis.

    I was also surprised to discover the origin of the name, T.W. It is sometimes difficult to decipher myth from truth. The House at Pooh Corner remains my favorite book to read to the grand kids!

    Have a Winnie the Pooh party, Duckie. How much FUN would that be!

    I can tell you right now, Courtney, my next trip to Chicago will include a visit.

  7. Thanks for telling the history. My SIL son is very much fond of Winnie the pooh bear.

    1. So glad you liked it. I took a hop on over to your site. Pretty cool Pooh items you have there. Thanks!


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise