Richard Ogima

photo: Richard Ogima

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Overview

Midway between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, White River is surrounded by the rugged beauty of northwestern Ontario. Besides the great outdoors, its main claim to fame is its connection to Winnie the Pooh. Back in 1914, one Lieutenant Harry Colebourn – traveling between Winnipeg and Toronto on a train full of troops heading toward the battlefields of World War One – purchased an orphaned black bear cub during a stopover in White River. He named the bear Winnie after his hometown, and took her to England, where she soon became a mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. Before Colebourn was shipped to France, he arranged for Winnie ...

Midway between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, White River is surrounded by the rugged beauty of northwestern Ontario. Besides the great outdoors, its main claim to fame is its connection to Winnie the Pooh. Back in 1914, one Lieutenant Harry Colebourn – traveling between Winnipeg and Toronto on a train full of troops heading toward the battlefields of World War One – purchased an orphaned black bear cub during a stopover in White River. He named the bear Winnie after his hometown, and took her to England, where she soon became a mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. Before Colebourn was shipped to France, he arranged for Winnie to live at London Zoo. The rest is history. The little bear became immensely popular, and A.A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin was one of her most ardent fans – he reportedly came up with the addition of “Pooh” to the bear’s name. This most treasured of children’s stories is now honored in the White River Heritage Museum and at the Annual Winnie’s Hometown Festival.

Joanna Ebbutt
About the Expert

Joanna Ebbutt is the author or editor of three Insight Guides to Toronto and Canada, and coauthor of Off the Beaten Track: Western Canada. She has been writing about travel for three decades, including chasing the aurora borealis in Northern Ontario.

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Joanna Ebbutt for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: White River is a township located in Central Ontario, north of Lake Superior, at the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 631.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: Canadian Dollar
  • Research: Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, late spring, early fall