Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Canada’s Connection to Winnie-the-Pooh: Remembering the Real Winnie – An Exhibit Nov.6–Dec.7, 2014

This video presents “Remembering the Real Winnie – An Exhibit.”

Ryerson Image Centre




Admission is FREE

November 6 – December 7, 2014


 Public Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 5, 6-8 pm
FREE Admission

Student Gallery
33 Gould Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

General Info
Gallery Hours:
For general telephone inquiries please call: 416-979-5164.

Curated by Kate Addleman-Frankel, FPPCM Alumna and Irene Gammel, MLCRC Director

“This exhibition focuses on the role of photography within the archive, positioning the collection of images alongside other original artifacts. To complement the exhibition, a multi-faceted website will be launched in the fall of 2014 that will make the entire collection digitally accessible to scholars and the general public. The site will include cutting-edge interactive storytelling features, allowing for the development of international online dialogues. Students, recent alumni and faculty from across the Ryerson campus have come together to co-develop this multidisciplinary project.”

Ryerson University

Ryerson University is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Canada’s connection to the world’s most famous cartoon/literary bear – Winnie-the-Pooh, thanks to a true “love story” between a Canadian soldier – veterinarian named Harry Colebourn and a real Canadian bear cub.

“The story of Harry and Winnie is a love story set against a very dark time in history and is a powerful reminder of the impact that one small loving gesture can have in this world. Winnie has played an important role in many people’s childhoods and I am very excited to get to share the historical items that bring to life the real tale behind the fictional ones.”

Lindsay Mattick, Harry Colebourn’s great granddaughter

The cub came from White River (Ontario, Canada) and was sold to Captain Colebourn who named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

  • “Winnie traveled overseas with Colebourn’s regiment, becoming a proud mascot and beloved friend to the other soldiers.”
  • When it became time to go to the front lines in France, Colebourn donated Winnie to the London Zoo in England, where AA Milne and his son encountered the bear which became the inspiration for author A.A.Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh as well as his world famous Winnie the Pooh books.

This new exhibition entitled, Remembering the Real Winnie: The World’s Most Famous Bear Turns 100 will

  • explore the themes of
    • veterinary practice during World War I,
    • military life at camp and at the front, and
    • genesis and popular legacy of Winnie-the-Pooh;
  • showcase Colebourn’s never-before-displayed wartime diaries which will be “displayed at intervals throughout the exhibition in order to carry the viewer from 1914 when Harry leaves for England to 1919 when he donates Winnie to the London Zoo,” and
  • feature items from the Colebourn family collection which comprises “photographs and ephemera such as diaries, letters, newspaper clippings and a full veterinary kit from the period, will be shared with the public for the very first time.”

“Beyond the exhibition, the history of Harry and Winnie will be explored in an upcoming children’s book (to be released in 2015 by Little Brown in the U.S., Harper Collins in Canada). Film rights to the book have been acquired by Hollywood production company RatPac Entertainment.”

Ryerson University