Canada’s groundhogs to make their predictions in virtual broadcasts today


Published February 2, 2022 at 5:25 am

For the second year in a row, Canada’s famous furry forecasters will be offering their seasonal predictions to a virtual audience.

In the interest of public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no crowds for Groundhog Day predictions in Nova Scotia and Ontario today.

Folklore has it that if a groundhog sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, he’ll retreat to his burrow, a sign that winter will go on for six more weeks, and if he doesn’t, it means spring will arrive early.

In Nova Scotia, Shubenacadie Sam is set to emerge from her home to make her prediction around 7 a.m. ET.

About an hour later in Ontario, Wiarton Willie – a brown groundhog stepping into the role this year instead of an albino one – is expected to take his guess.

Last year, Wiarton Willie was nowhere to be seen in a video marking the day, with officials calling an early spring after throwing a fur hat into the air – a move they said recalled the tradition’s first edition more than 60 years ago.

Months later, the town of South Bruce Peninsula, where the community of Wiarton is located, publicly acknowledged that Willie had died of an abscessed tooth.

Mayor Janice Jackson said the albino rodent died “quite a while before the last Groundhog Day,” but didn’t specify when, and noted that a brown groundhog would take his place this year.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Punxsutawney Phil is set to hop around his home and make his prediction around the same time as Shubenacadie Sam. An audience will be able to watch the festivities in-person but the American groundhog’s prediction will also be broadcast virtually.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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