Feb 02, 2023
By Jane Brown
Two of Canada’s most famous groundhog prognosticators have made conflicting calls about spring’s arrival.
Southern Ontario’s Wiarton Willie did not see his shadow and so is predicting an early spring.
Shubenacadie Sam, Nova Scotia’s most famous groundhog, apparently saw her shadow this morning as she emerged from a snow-covered enclosure at a wildlife park north of Halifax.
And in the United States, Punxsutawney Phil agreed with Sam for a second straight year, predicting six more weeks of winter.
There was some sad news on this Groundhog Day.
Organizers in Quebec broke the news Thursday morning to the crowd gathered in Val d’Espoir, saying nine-year-old Fred la Marmotte had been found dead the night before.
In Fred’s place, organizers pulled a stuffed toy groundhog from a miniature wooded hut and handed it to a child who called for six more weeks of winter.
In a playful, peer-reviewed study published by the American Meteorological Society, researchers at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., concluded that groundhogs are “beyond a shadow of a doubt” no better at predicting spring’s arrival than flipping a coin.
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