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This Day in History: The Teddy Bear makes its debut

“Whether it’s your teddy, bunny or lamb-lamb, stuffed animal toys were birthed from a less cutesy place: politics. Inventor Morris Michtom named his stitched creation aften then-U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt and placed the very first “teddy” in a store window on this day 115 years ago.

Teddy Bears
Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis / Associated Press

The origins story of the toy stems from a legend around one of Roosevelt’s hunting trips. It’s said the president came upon an injured bear tied to a tree. Some say he shot the bear, while other historical references suggest he set it free. Whatever the truth, the stuffed offspring from that tale became an instant hit; plush toys have become a $1-billon industry in the United States. The teddy bear has since evolved, spawning dozens of colours, sizes and variations from high-end collectibles (think $10,000 Gund bears) to low-end, dollar-store trinkets.”1

Angela Pacienza, “Moment in Time”, The Goble and Mail, Wednesday, February 15, 2017, p. A2.


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