Winnie-the-Pooh is Coming to Canada in 2020

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) brings a trip back to childhood for Torontonians

The Royal Ontario Museum has announced that it will be the exclusive Canadian venue for Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, opening in March. Organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the exhibit explores the origins, creation, and enduring legacy of the classic stories written by A.A Milne (1882-1956) and illustrated by E.H Shepard (1879-1976).

This is especially exciting as Winnie-the-Pooh has a special place in the hearts of many Canadians for a historic reason. Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian, purchased a female black bear cub from a trapper in White River, Ont. He named the cub Winnie after his hometown of Winnipeg. Colebourn then brought Winnie with him to England just before the First World War. When he was stationed in France, he decided to leave Winnie in the care of the London Zoo. Eventually, he donated Winnie to the zoo after the war ended.

‘Pooh sitting on his branch… beside him, ten pots of honey’. Winnie-the-Pooh chapter 9, line block print. Line illustrations copyright © E. H. Shepard. Colouring of the illustrations copyright © 1970 and 1973 E. H. Shepard and Egmont UK Limited. Reproduced with permission from Curtis Brown Group Ltd on behalf of The Shepard Trust. From the Egmont UK Ltd Collection held at University of Surrey, Ref No. EGM/1/74

This is just the start of the story. A young Christopher Robin Milne met Winnie and became so enamoured of her that he named his teddy bear in her honour. He asked his father to take him to the zoo frequently to visit Winnie. Seeing his son’s interest and love of the bear, A.A Milne introduced the Winnie-the-Pooh character to readers through poems and then later in his Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

Line block print, hand coloured by E.H. Shepard, 1970 © Egmont UK Ltd, reproduced with permission from the Shepard Trust

The exhibit presents the real-life people, relationships, and inspirations that helped shape Winnie-the-Pooh, his friends, and his home in the Hundred Acre Woods. Through the presentation, visitors will be reminded of the valuable life lessons in the books that have stood the test of time with families around the world.

The exhibition runs from March 7th to August 3rd.

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