Ah, Winnie the Pooh. Perhaps one of the most beloved of children's cartoons, the honey loving teddy bear has been appearing on our screens since 1966. Along with his buddies such as Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger (catch a glimpse below) the timeless story captures the imagination of kids everywhere to this day.
However, even big fans may be surprised to know Winnie the Pooh was based on a real life bear, and the true story is just as impressive as any of Pooh's adventures on screen.
And, guess what? The real bear was in fact a female!
The true story of Winnie the bear
The real story is both sad and sweet in equal measure. During World War I in 1914, a veterinarian discovered a bear tied up on the platform of a train station in Ontario. Appealing to his nature and (presumably) his love of animals, the vet paid $20 to adopt the bear. He named her Winnie.
The two had such a strong bond, the vet even kept her on during training for the war, his faithful ally always at his side. Winnie was so well trained, she could "stand up straight and hold her head high," and was also a useful navigator.
However, when it came to leaving for France, the vet felt it wouldn't be safe for his little friend. He therefore gave the bear to the London Zoo to be looked after, where Winnie became a top attraction.
Now, I don't know about you, but it sounds like $20 was an absolute bargain...
But what's the link?
It was during this time that the bear was discovered by a little boy called Christopher Robin Milne, who used to visit the London Zoo regularly.
Christopher named one of his teddy bears Winnie and his father, A.A. Milne, based all of the characters of a new storybook on his son's toys. Those who's memories stretches back will remember a character named after his son, too.
The story is told in a new book, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. And if you enjoyed the origin of the bear, check out some other facts you (probably) didn't know below: