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Published January 14, 2023 Updated January 14, 2023

Get Bear Smart

“Get Bear Smart” playing cards published by the Get Bear Smart Society, Canada, 2005.

2005 Canada Get Bear Smart Society Nature & Environment Safety Add to Collection

Anyone venturing into the Canadian wilderness would be well advised to purchase this pack which explains 52 things you DON’T want to do in Bear country. The pack consists of 52 cards, 2 jokers, and 5 extra cards (2 of which explain “bear-related” card games, and a further 3 cards which describe the background of the pack). Intended to introduce smart facts about living with bears at home (hearts), hiking (clubs), or camping (spades), as well as about general bear etiquette (diamonds), the cards show photographs of different bears with facts beneath. The pack was funded by the American Friends of Whistler and published by the Get Bear Smart Society, a non-profit Canadian charity, in 2005. See the box

“Get Bear Smart” playing cards published by the Get Bear Smart Society, Canada, 2005 “Get Bear Smart” playing cards published by the Get Bear Smart Society, Canada, 2005

Above: “Get Bear Smart” playing cards published by the Get Bear Smart Society, Canada, 2005.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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