Two Rivers Tunnel didn’t see his shadow
Two Rivers Tunnel didn’t see his shadow.
Cape Breton’s resident groundhog says we can expect an early spring.
With overcast skies and flurries in the air, Two Rivers Tunnel emerged from his home at 11:22 a.m. Thursday to predict an early spring as many winterweary residents cheered when the groundhog didn’t see his shadow at Two Rivers Wildlife Park.
About 50 people attended the annual ceremony, which was led by Roland Doncaster, president of the Two Rivers Development Association.
Among the crowd were international students who were participating in Groundhog Day for the first time.
Layla Aiani from Italy said she enjoyed participating in the event.
“I didn’t know it was this much of a tradition,” she said. “It was really great to find out new things about Canada, especially Cape Breton. It was really exciting.” Aiani, a Grade 12 student at Memorial High School in Sydney Mines, said it was the first time she had ever seen a groundhog.
“He was running around so fast, I was trying to take pictures to remember the experience,” she said.
Although many favoured the result of Two Rivers Tunnel not seeing his shadow, Meggy Rossbach, a student from Germany, was disappointed.
“I was hoping we would have a longer winter,” laughed Rossbach, a Grade 10 student at Memorial. “I want more snow — I don’t know why people don’t want snow. In Germany, we get snow, but not this much.”
Students from Eskasoni Elementary School also attended the ceremony. They were the only school to participate in the event because of the work-to-rule job action by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.
Mary MacIntyre, housemother to Aiani and Rossbach, said the Groundhog Day experience is one the international students will remember.
“It was the first time they experienced it and it was nice for them to see the culture as well as the nature here on Cape Breton Island,” said the Sydney Mines resident. “Everything is new to them, whether it’s the changing of the leaves or the first snowfall or attending Groundhog Day.”
Unlike her international students, MacIntyre was happy with Two Rivers Tunnel’s prediction.
“After the past two winters, no, it’s great to know that we are going to have an early spring,” said MacIntyre.
Aiani and Rossbach have been living in Cape Breton since September. Aiani was to have returned to Italy this month, but decided to extend her time in order to graduate in June.
“I love it here, I expected it to be a good experience, but this is like a dream,” said Aiani. “I don’t even want to think about going home. I love the landscape and the people. I might cry when I have to go back.”
Rossbach encourages more residents to attend next year’s Groundhog Day ceremony at the wildlife park.
“It’s a great tradition and everyone should enjoy the opportunity to experience it, regardless if he predicts a longer winter or an early spring,” said Rossbach.
Two Rivers Tunnel wasn’t the only groundhog to predict an early spring. Nova Scotia’s other predicting groundhog, Shubenacadie Sam, as well as Ontario’s Wiarton Willie both did not see their shadows. Meanwhile, America’s rodent royalty, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, spotted his shadows, predicting six more weeks of winter for his area.
Mike Timmons, park attendant at Two Rivers Wildlife Park in Huntington, encourages Two Rivers Tunnel to go back into his home on Thursday. Two Rivers Tunnel did not see his shadow on Groundhog Day, predicting an early spring for Cape Bretoners.