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RYERSON IMAGE CENTRE

REMEMBERING THE REAL WINNIE: THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BEAR TURNS 100
November 5 – December 7, 2014
Guest curated by Kate Addleman-Frankel and Irene Gammel
Student Gallery, Ryerson Image Centre

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This interdisciplinary project focuses on a unique chapter of Canadian history from World War I. The Colebourn Family Archive, 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. Its objects attest to the story of Canadian soldier and veterinarian Harry Colebourn (1887–1947), who, at the onset of the war, purchased a pet bear he named Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg. When his regiment shipped out, Harry took Winnie with him, depositing the bear in the London Zoo when he was called to the front. It is then that AA Milne and his son encountered the bear and the world famous Winnie the Pooh books were born.

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 has been launched to make the entire collection digitally accessible to scholars and the general public. The site includes cutting-edge interactive storytelling features, allowing for the development of international online dialogues. Follow this link to access the website: therealwinnie.ryerson.ca/

Students, recent alumni and faculty from across the Ryerson campus have come together to co-develop this multidisciplinary project. 


Presented by Ryerson University:

Generously supported by Scotiabank:


Collection website developed by Ryerson University Library and Archives, therealwinnie.ryerson.ca/collection

Interactive website developed by Transmedia Zone, therealwinnie.ryerson.ca/interactive

Organized in collaboration with Ryerson University students, recent alumni and faculty from:

Ryerson Image Centre
Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre
Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management, School of Image Arts
Department of English
Children’s Literature Archive
Department of History
School of Early Childhood Studies
Fiion, Transmedia Zone (TMZ)
Digital Media Zone (DMZ)
Centre for Digital Humanities
Ryerson University Library and Archives
Department of Architectural Science

Presented with the participation of Archive of Modern Conflict; Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph; Narrative PR; STAMP; and Married to Giants.  

Special thanks to Lindsay Mattick for making the Colebourn Family Archive
available to Ryerson University for purposes of exhibition, research and study.

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Related events:

Wednesday, November 5, 6-8 pm

Public opening reception

For a complete listing of events and lectures, please click here.

REMEMBERING THE REAL WINNIE: THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BEAR TURNS 100

Image Caption: Photographer unknown, Harry Colebourn feeding Winnie, Salisbury Plain, England, 1914, gelatin silver print. From The Colebourn Family Archive

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