Toronto

Ontario's Wiarton Willie predicts an early spring

Wiarton Willie, an albino groundhog, predicted an early spring on Sunday when he did not see his shadow.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford on hand for festival in Town of South Bruce Peninsula

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, poses Wiarton Willie, albino groundhog in glass cage, and Janice Jackson, mayor of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, right. Town criers are in the background. (Doug Ford/Twitter)

Wiarton Willie, an albino groundhog, predicted an early spring on Sunday when he did not see his shadow.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was on hand in the town of South Bruce Peninsula, northwest of Toronto, for the festival involving the large "weather prognosticating" rodent.

There was some initial confusion. Mayor Janice Jackson said: "Well, I don't think he can see his shadow, so it's six more weeks!"

Her error, however, was soon corrected. It's true, Willie did not see his shadow, but according to folklore, that means an early spring.

"I messed up totally," Jackson added.

In a tweet, Willie explained how he arrived at his forecast while sitting in a glass cage on stage surrounded the "shadow cabinet" and the premier.

"With cloudy skies and snow falling upon us this morning in #Wiarton it was very hard to find my shadow — even with all the camera lights around! Fans of spring rejoice, an #EarlySpring is around the corner," the rodent said.

Folklore has it that if a groundhog sees its shadow on Feb. 2, it will retreat into its burrow, heralding six more weeks of cold weather, which is not bad by most Canadian standards. No shadow — again according to folklore — is said to foretell spring-like temperatures are on the way.

 

With files from The Canadian Press

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