GROUND­HOG DAY

Two Rivers Tun­nel didn’t see his shadow

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

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.

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

Aiani

Ross­bach

MacIn­tyre

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