CANADA’S FURRY FORECASTERS
Wiarton Willie, the albino groundhog from central Ontario, likely has the most famous shadow in the country, but as many as ten of his extended family (including at least one puppet) attempt to predict the end of winter each year all over Canada. Nova Scotia boasts both Shubenacadie Sam and Two Rivers Tunnel, the latter from Cape Breton Island, while Val d’Espoir, Quebec, is home to Fred la marmotte. Over the years, Brandon Bob and Winnipeg Willow (and now Winnipeg Wyn) have provided predictions for Manitoba, while Balzac Billy — a human in a groundhog costume — does likewise in Alberta. Naturally, Toronto had to get in on the act with Dundas Donna (actually a South American coati), while just to the northeast Kleinburg, Ontario, hosts Gary the Groundhog. —
46 Top row, left to right: Wiarton Willie, Shubenacadie Sam, Dundas Donna (a coati, not a groundhog), and Fred la marmotte. Bottom row, left to right: Two River Tunnel, puppet prognosticator Manitoba Merv, and Balzac Billy, actually a human impersonating a groundhog.