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Remembering the Real Winnie: The World’s Most Famous Bear Turns 100

Remembering the Real Winnie

Remembering the Real Winnie: The World’s Most Famous Bear Turns 100 is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project that focuses on a unique chapter of Canadian history from WWI. It is based on the Colebourn Family Archives, a collection of photographs, diaries, images, books, and objects, which has been lent to Toronto Metropolitan University for the purposes of this project. The Exhibit (November 5 – December 6, 2014), held in the Image Centre focuses on the role of photography within the archive while the collection websites presents the complete contents of the collection along with browsable diaries, dynamic maps, and manipulatable 3D objects. The interactive experience website tells the story of Winnie through interviews, soundscapes, imagery and motion graphics with photos from the exhibition.

The Remembering the Real Winnie website which was created by the Library offers digitized versions of documents, photographs, diaries, and objects in the Colebourn Family Archive.  The site’s primary objective is to provide comprehensive and easily-accessible research materials to anyone searching the web for information on Winnie, Harry Colebourn, veterinary medicine and World War I.  Trough detailed descriptions, transcriptions of diary entries, and collection contents listed with dates and place names, the site ensures broad exposure to these academic holdings.

By introducing elements of interactivity, the website animates the collection: the diaries have been transformed into “flipbooks“, three-dimensional scans of several tools in the veterinarian’s kit allow users to rotate and view them in detail, and interactive maps have been created based on Harry Colebourn’s movements during the war.