Never mind what the groundhogs say, the real estate boom goes on …

Wiarton Willie sees shadow, forecasts 6 more weeks of winter

Canada’s major prognosticating rodents provided a split decision on whether the country is in for an early spring or six more weeks of winter.

Ontario’s Wiarton Willie emerged from his cozy den Sunday morning and immediately spotted his shadow, which according to groundhog folklore means Canadians can expect six more weeks of what has already been a long, cold, snowy winter.

Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam was the first groundhog out, delivering a promising forecast for winter weary Canucks after he did not see his shadow — signalling an early spring.

Wiarton Willie sees shadow

Wiarton, Ontario, Mayor John Close (right) laughs after listening to groundhog Wiarton Willie’s weather prediction in Wiarton on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Shubenacadie Sam a lone harbinger of spring

<b>Sutton Sammy</b><br><br />
Sutton West, Ont. <br><br />
- mascot<br><br />
- said to live under the water tower<br><br />
- was created by local Home Hardware<br><br />
- during his prediction, Sammy gets dressed up with a top hat and people who attend the event also can wear top hats that are provided<br><br />
 (Photo: Supplied/QMI Agency)

Shubenacadie Sam
Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, N.S.
– pronounced “Shoo-ben-ack-a-dee”
– has a Twitter account @ShubenacadieSam and a live webcam people can follow year round
– said to train for the big day with meditation and yoga
(Photo: Supplied/QMI Agency)

With overcast skies as far as the eye could see, Shubenacadie Sam didn’t see his shadow when he popped out of his home at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park Sunday morning.And if you believe in the folklore behind groundhogs, shadows, and spring, that means an early spring, not another six weeks of winter.

Not even real groundhogs? Canadian tradition now steeped in silliness 

By Kate Schwass-Bueckert, QMI Agency 
<b>Sutton Sammy</b><br><br /><br />
Sutton West, Ont. <br><br /><br />
- mascot<br><br /><br />
- said to live under the water tower<br><br /><br />
- was created by local Home Hardware<br><br /><br />
- during his prediction, Sammy gets dressed up with a top hat and people who attend the event also can wear top hats that are provided<br><br /><br />
 (Photo: Supplied/QMI Agency)
Sutton Sammy
Sutton West, Ont. 
– mascot
– said to live under the water tower
– was created by local Home Hardware
– during his prediction, Sammy gets dressed up with a top hat and people who attend the event also can wear top hats that are provided
(Photo: Supplied/QMI Agency)
Every year on Feb. 2, Canadians turn to groundhogs to find out just how much more winter we have to endure.As Wiarton Willie in Ontario and Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia leave their burrows, we wait to hear whether they see their shadows.It’s a tradition that dates back to paegan times in prehistoric Europe.But, as silly as the holiday already is in the modern world, it’s gotten even sillier in recent years with some areas looking to host the holiday on the cheap.Imposter groundhogs have taken over.Fakes have been cropping up from coast to coast in recent year, and even include the famous likes of Manitoba Merv (a puppet) and Calgary area’s Balzac Billy (a mascot).
<b>Sutton Sammy</b><br><br />
Sutton West, Ont. <br><br />
- mascot<br><br />
- said to live under the water tower<br><br />
- was created by local Home Hardware<br><br />
- during his prediction, Sammy gets dressed up with a top hat and people who attend the event also can wear top hats that are provided<br><br />
 (Photo: Supplied/QMI Agency)

Winnipeg Willow
– began predicting weather in 2012
– was rescued by the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in 2010 and now serves as an ambassador for the centre
– Willow broke her leg during rehabilitation and therefore needed additional care, which resulted in her becoming too accustomed to humans to be released again into the wild.
– in her first two predictions, she said the opposite of what Manitoba Merv did. But Merv is a puppet.
(Howard Wong/Handout)

<b>Sutton Sammy</b><br><br />
Sutton West, Ont. <br><br />
- mascot<br><br />
- said to live under the water tower<br><br />
- was created by local Home Hardware<br><br />
- during his prediction, Sammy gets dressed up with a top hat and people who attend the event also can wear top hats that are provided<br><br />
 (Photo: Supplied/QMI Agency)

Oromocto Ollie
CFB Gagetown, N.B.
– started predicting the weather in 2011 after officials at CFB Gagetown approached the New Brunswick Provincial Capital Commission about getting their own groundhog
– competition was held to come up with his name (he is named for a town near the base)
– has yet to be seen on Groundhog Day – he has not made it out of his burrow to make a prediction

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