CAIRO – 18 January 2018: January 18 is the official “Winnie the Pooh day”, aimed at celebrating everything related to that adorable honey-loving bear and his friends at the Hundred Acre Wood.
The real story of Winnie the Pooh starts all the way back in World War I. On August 24, 1914, Canadian soldier Harry Colebourn had a chance encounter with a black bear cub in a small Lumber Town in Ontario.
Tied to a leash, the little bear belonged to a trapper, who took her in after the death of her mother and was looking to sell her off. Colebourn, an avid animal lover, was immediately smitten with the cub, feeding her honey.
He served as a veterinarian during the war as well, tending to the Regiment's horses, and thus had a way with animals.
Taking the bear along with him, Colebourn named her Winnipeg, after his hometown. She proved a popular sight amongst the regiment, being rewarded for her cute antics with treats of apples and frequently posing for the camera. When Colebourn was drafted to serve in the trenches, he realized little Winnie couldn't possibly come along, and had her sent to her new home at the London Zoo, hoping to meet again.
WWI refused to end however, and by the time Colebourn was reunited with his beloved bear in 1918, she was a fully grown adult. By this point, he realized Winnie was better off with London Zoo, where she was beloved by both the zookeepers and visitors. One of those visitors happened to be a little boy named Christopher Robin Milne, who loved seeing the bear so much that he renamed his own Teddy Bear at home from Edward to Winnie.
Winnie the Pooh was born.
Christopher's father, English author A.A Milne, penned the first of the “Winnie the Pooh” novels in 1924 with the poetry collection "When We Were Very Young,” soon followed up in 1926 with "Winnie the Pooh", a collection of short stories, and then "The House at Pooh Corner” in 1928. Illustrations were provided by E. H. Shepard, who helped bring the characters to life in a whimsical fashion.
The stories went on to become popular best-sellers, becoming literary classics and childhood favorites, particularly to the daughters of Walt Disney. By 1966, Disney had decided that it was time to share Winnie the Pooh with a grander audience, and released the short film, “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree”.
It served as Pooh's animated debut, and was an instant hit, soon followed up by “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day”, which proved even more popular. By 1977, Pooh and his friends had starred in their first feature length film, “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”.
Disney brought the bear to life through a whole new franchise, spanning more films, books and even a Television series. Eventually, Pooh bear became one of Disney's most beloved and widely known characters, rivaling even the face of the company himself, Mickey Mouse.