It was a cold, snowy winter day in Wiarton, but that did not stop Ontario’s Wiarton Willy from predicting an early spring Saturday morning.
Willy did not see his shadow and did not flee back to his burrow, meaning the lovable white groundhog is anticipating that spring will come nice and early this year.
As tradition dictates on Groundhog Day, the furry rodents are observed when they leaves their burrow, with folklore saying if a groundhog sees its shadow it’ll flee back to that burrow, heralding six more weeks of winter.
In Wiarton for the event was Breakfast Television’s Kevin Frankish, who sits on Willie’s “Shadow Cabinet”, and was the only out-of-towner on stage when Willie made his prediction.
“They don’t ask out-of-towners to be part of the shadow cabinet, so I was honoured when they asked me,” Frankish said.
Canada is home to three of the furry forecasters, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie, Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam, and Manitoba’s lesser known woodchuck, Winnipeg Willow.
Sam was the first out of his burrow Saturday morning to make his prediction to a worldwide audience via webcam, and sadly for those hoping for an early spring, the pride of Shubenacadie did see his shadow.
Stateside, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil is generally regarded as the groundhog of record. He disagreed with Sam, not spotting his shadow and predicting we will have an early spring.
Willy acted as the tie-breaker of record then, giving spring a 2-1 edge as far as the Groundhog Day predictions were concerned.