Monday, May 20, 2024
ADVT 
National

Groundhog Day: Canada's famous furry forecasters predict early spring

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 02 Feb, 2024 10:44 AM
  • Groundhog Day: Canada's famous furry forecasters predict early spring

Canada's famous prognosticating rodents appeared to reach a consensus on Groundhog Day, as furry forecasters spanning three provinces predicted an early spring.

Ontario's Wiarton Willie, Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam and Quebec's Fred la Marmotte all reportedly did not see their shadows on Friday morning. According to centuries-old folklore, that's good news for Canadians tired of wintry weather.

The tradition holds that if a groundhog doesn't see its shadow on Groundhog Day, springlike weather will soon arrive. But if a shadow appears, winter's icy grip won't let go for quite some time.

The consensus on spring's early arrival extended to western Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil, whose annual declaration exploded in popularity after the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day".

As usual, Shubenacadie Sam was the first groundhog in North America to make a prediction. But Nova Scotia's famed meteorological marmot did not appear to be in any rush.

At 8 a.m. local time, the door to Sam's enclosure was opened by Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton, but Sam — or Samantha — did not come out.

"Come on, woodchuck!" shouted one youngster who was among a group of bundled-up onlookers at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park north of Halifax.

About five minutes later, Sam took a few tentative steps outside, then immediately ducked into a thicket of evergreens and disappeared.

Folklorists say the Groundhog Day ritual may have something to do with Feb. 2 landing midway between winter solstice and spring equinox. In medieval Europe, farmers believed that if hedgehogs emerged from their burrows to catch insects, that was a sure sign of an early spring.

After a streak of untimely deaths and controversy, the festivities in Ontario and Quebec appeared to go off as planned.

The successor to Fred la Marmotte in Val d'Espoir, Que., emerged after daybreak into falling snow, and there was no shadow to be seen.

Last year, the late Fred was found dead shortly before the Groundhog Day festivities. He was hastily replaced with a child plucked from the event crowd, who held up a stuffed toy groundhog and declared that spring would be delayed.

"But it's all relative, like they said in the time of kings: 'The king is dead, long live the king,' so we're starting again with a new groundhog," said Roberto Blondin, an organizer of the event and the mayor of Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé, Que.

Those keeping the Wiarton Willie tradition alive in Ontario's South Bruce Peninsula had also been seeking a fresh start in the aftermath of controversy.

The white-haired groundhog was wheeled out onto a stage around 8 a.m., resting on a bed of straw inside a see-through box. The mayor, who per local tradition is the only person who can speak "Groundhogese," put his ear to the box and then relayed Willie's prediction of an early spring to the crowd.

The groundhog was nowhere to be seen at the festivities held virtually in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. It took nine months for the town to acknowledge the albino rodent had died.

Willie's handlers brought in an understudy the following year, but in a break from long-standing tradition, that animal was the usual brown colour. A white-haired replacement Willie was finally procured from Ohio for Groundhog Day in 2023.

MORE National ARTICLES

Shots fired at B.C. home of Sikh activist, an associate of slain Nijjar, group says

Shots fired at B.C. home of Sikh activist, an associate of slain Nijjar, group says
Surrey RCMP say multiple shots were fired at a home in the 2800 block of 154 Street in Surrey at 1:21 a.m. in what is believed to be an isolated incident. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun with the group Sikhs For Justice says the home belongs to an member of the movement who is an associate of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was killed in a shooting last June that triggered a diplomatic row with India.

Shots fired at B.C. home of Sikh activist, an associate of slain Nijjar, group says

Global Affairs Canada investigating 'malicious' cyberattack and data breach

Global Affairs Canada investigating 'malicious' cyberattack and data breach
Global Affairs Canada announced Tuesday it is investigating a cyberattack and data breach that has forced it to limit remote access to its networks. The department said in a statement, which confirmed earlier media reports, that early results from the investigation found someone accessed the personal information of employees.

Global Affairs Canada investigating 'malicious' cyberattack and data breach

B.C. Health Minister says investment in nuclear medicine will expand cancer care

B.C. Health Minister says investment in nuclear medicine will expand cancer care
The British Columbia government is spending $32 million in advancement of nuclear medicine, to operate imaging equipment for cancer diagnosis and to expand research.  The announcement comes just two years after a worldwide shortage of isotopes used in medical imaging machines that detect and monitor cancers. 

B.C. Health Minister says investment in nuclear medicine will expand cancer care

Five Canadians facing extradition to the U.S. for involvement in drug-smuggling ring

Five Canadians facing extradition to the U.S. for involvement in drug-smuggling ring
According to U.S. authorities, Scoppa, 55, is alleged to have bought massive quantities of cocaine and other drugs on a wholesale basis. In addition to Scoppa, the Mounties arrested Ivan Gravel Gonzalez, 32, of Trois-Rivières, Que., Ayush Sharma, 25, and Guramrit Sidhu, 60, of Brampton, Ont., and Subham Kumar, 29, of Calgary. One of the indictments says Sidhu allegedly purchased kilograms of methamphetamine from suppliers in Mexico and Los Angeles. 

Five Canadians facing extradition to the U.S. for involvement in drug-smuggling ring

Champagne says he's working phones to court new players for Canadian grocery market

Champagne says he's working phones to court new players for Canadian grocery market
Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne is once again insisting that he is reaching out to international grocers in the hopes they will open up shop in Canada and spur more competition. Champagne said Tuesday that he'd spoken to one foreign grocer that very morning as part of his efforts to court new players for the Canadian grocery sector  — but he's not naming any names. 

Champagne says he's working phones to court new players for Canadian grocery market

Canada sends $40M for Palestinians in Gaza, as Liberal MP decries UNRWA freeze

Canada sends $40M for Palestinians in Gaza, as Liberal MP decries UNRWA freeze
Canada is sending another $40 million in aid to organizations that are helping people in the Gaza Strip after pausing funding to the UN's relief agency for Palestinians — with one Liberal MP saying it's doubtful other groups will be as effective. The funding top-up, bringing the total commitment to $100 million, comes as Ottawa condemns what it calls "inflammatory rhetoric" from Israeli government officials about the forced displacement of those who live in the besieged territory. 

Canada sends $40M for Palestinians in Gaza, as Liberal MP decries UNRWA freeze

PrevNext