Today we drove along the shoreline of the top of Lake Superior. They say it is 500 nautical miles of shoreline. There were contrasting views. Some were sandy beaches. Some were bluffs towering over the sparkling water. There were also sections of dark forests of spruce and fir trees and watery grasslands.
There were long stretches of highway with beautiful vistas, but very few towns or communities and most of the rest stops were too small for our rig. So, it was a long day.
Another thing that made it a long day is a company called TBayMobile has an umbrella over most of this province. At least I hope it is just this province. We haven’t had any phone service for two solid days and probably won’t have for a while tomorrow until we move into another province. We went to a lot of trouble to make sure our carrier was available in Canada, but we hadn’t planned to come through this part. We were told that TBayMobile had all Bell and Verizon towers removed. Hopefully, we will be out from under that umbrella sometime tomorrow.
The best part of the trip today was going through a small town called White River. The town was founded by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. During World War I, many trains carrying troops and horses stopped in the town. The horses would be exercised and the troops would do practice drills on the street.
In 1914, a little black bear cub was brought in to town. It had been orphaned when a hunter killed its mother. A trapper sold it to one of the soldiers. During this time, it was very acceptable to have live bears as pets.
The soldier who bought the bear was Lieutenant Harry Colebourn. In his journal, he noted he’d bought a bear for $20.00 in White River, Ontario. The bear named Winnie, became a pet to the soldiers and slept under his owner’s cot. He liked to climb the center pole of the soldiers’ tent. When Colebourn, now a Captain, was transferred to France, he knew he could no longer take care of the bear. He donated Winnie to the London Zoo on a temporary bases. Kids were allowed to ride on her back. She was a big attraction. Harry always visited when he was on leave, but after he saw how popular and loved the bear was, he decided not to take her back to Canada with him. He officially donated her to the zoo on December 1, 1918.
Among the many visitors to see Winnie in the London Zoo, was A. A. Milne and his son, Christopher Robin. For his first birthday, Christopher Robin was given a bear named Edward Bear. The boy also had a swan named Pooh. When Christopher Robin was a few years older, he changed the name of his bear to Winnie the Pooh. Then his dad began writing the stories we now all know and love.
White River, Ontario, holds a festival for Winnie the Pooh each year in August. There are statues in a park in the center of town. The original Winnie died in 1934 at the London Zoo. A few years ago, a statue was unveiled and part of the inscription reads, “She gave her name to “Winnie-the-Pooh” and A.A. Milne and Ernest Shepard gave “Winnie-the-Pooh” to the rest of the world”.
Now you know how Winnie the Pooh got his name, but can you guess where the original bear of 1914 got the name Winnie? Let me know what you think, and I’ll give you the answer in tomorrow’s blog.
Until next time,