News Release Archive

Teddy bears, constant companions or bed decorations, have charmed
people of all ages for almost a hundred years. This month
visitors to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax can
see hundreds of teddy bears romping on an imaginary high seas in
the special holiday-season exhibit "Teddy Bears AHOY".

Early in November the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic invited
Nova Scotians to send their bears on a "high seas adventure". The
museum wanted to borrow as many bears as possible for a December
exhibit. Hundreds of people around Nova Scotia from Yarmouth to
Musquodoboit Harbour to Kentville arrived at the Maritime Museum
of the Atlantic to register their bears. Bear-lovers from as far
away as Yellowknife answered the call.

For the next month, most of the 550 teddy bears will live on a
model of a sailing ship. Bear owners may also find their bears
hanging on to the seven-foot bear-tree.

So what exactly are 550 teddy bears doing at the Maritime Museum
of the Atlantic? "We knew that teddy bears were connected to the
sea. Once we started this program we realized just how close the
connection is," said the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic's Gerry
Lunn. "The bear stories our lenders told us reinforced that tight

Teddy bears and the sea go back many years. Toy bears became
popular at the beginning of the century. The only way to cross
oceans then was by ship. Countless teddy bears have crossed
oceans around the world giving their owners comfort, security and

One almost sad marine bear story is Polar. In 1912 a stuffed bear
named Polar and his master, Douglas Spedden sailed on the
ill-fated Titanic. The best friends were separated the night the
ship went down when sailors on the Carpathia pulled Polar and
Douglas's lifeboat to safety. Douglas' parents found him a
replacement bear; but it didn't work. But there was a happy
ending. Polar was reunited with Douglas later during the journey
home and Douglas never set him down again. Douglas' mother wrote
Polar's story and it was published as a popular children's book.

Many bear lenders at the Maritime Museum told stories of their
favourite teddy bears and the sea. One teddy bear has been so
loved he is made almost entirely of patches. Rupert is over 90
years old and sailed to Canada with his owner aboard the
Aquitania in 1946. Visitors to the museum can not only see
Rupert, but can also see photos and artifacts from the Aquitania.

Violet Bragg tells how when she was younger she and her beloved
bear often went down to the Halifax harbour. One day while she
was peering into the water her little brown teddy bear slipped
from her grasp. Violet watched helplessly as he spiralled down to
the bottom. Now, 60 years later she still collects teddy bears.
She gave the museum a new bear to be donated to the IWK at the
end of the exhibit in memory or her irreplaceable friend. Some
famous bears also went on sea voyages. The original Winnie, a
brown bear cub, made a sea-voyage from his home in Ontario to
England. A.A. Milne's son, who always carried a stuffed bear
named Pooh Bear, became Winnie's fast friend and even visited the
bear inside the cage at the London zoo. Thus the famous
Winnie-the-Pooh was created.

During bear registration at the museum one man, dressed in a suit
and carrying a brief case, turned to wave good-bye to his old
companion and called across the room in a booming voice, "Bye
Buddy! Have a good time!"

A six-year old girl brought two bears, one to lend, the other to
hang-on to. Sometimes it is too hard to part. As Gerry Lunn's
younger son said, "Dad, you can take any other bears, but there's
no way my favourites are leaving this house."

Throughout the month of December lenders and visitors can visit
the bears and take part in teddy bear activities, and Gerry Lunn
is expecting a few return trips. "I'm positive some people are
going to be back more than once. People love this idea. We've
gotten a great enthusiastic response."


Contact: Gerry Lunn  902-424-8793

trp                    Dec. 2, 1996 - 9 a.m.