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Get to know Canada's most famous groundhogs

Get to know Canada's most famous groundhogs
Get to know Canada's most famous groundhogs

Click here to view the video

Groundhog Day arrives on February 2. On that day, we get to find out if winter will continue for six more weeks - although, to be fair, warmer than usual temperatures across parts of Canada this year have left some residents thinking spring has already arrived.

We will know the official groundhog forecast soon. In the meantime, let's get to know some of Canada's most famous groundhogs.

Alberta

In Alberta, we have Balzac Billy, a critter in disguise.

Groundhogs are plentiful in most parts of Canada and the U.S., but they aren't found in southern Alberta, Global News explains, and that is precisely where the community of Balzac is located.

Residents created a workaround with Balzac Billy, a man-sized mascot who has been predicting the spring forecast since the 1970s. He's not even a groundhog: according to the Lethbridge Times Billy is a Richardson's ground squirrel, a common species in this locale.

This year, Billy will greet people in person at the Blue Grass Nursery and Garden Centre.

Groundhog predictions 2023
Groundhog predictions 2023

2023 Groundhog Day predictions (The Weather Network)

RELATED: Groundhog Day still matters, so put your grievances aside

Manitoba

Manitoba Merv has been leading local Groundhog Day celebrations for over 30 years.

He started as an actor in children's puppet shows at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre but has since moved on to a Groundhog Day mascot with an impressive track record.

Jacques Bourgeois, who works in marketing and communications for the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, told CTV in 2019 that Merv has a 98 per cent success rate.

Here's what Merv predicted last Groundhog Day:

Ontario

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Wiarton, Ontario is home to Wiarton Willie, the star of an annual local Groundhog Day festival bearing his name. Willie is apparently the world's only albino prognosticating groundhog.

Officials are hard at work getting things ready for the 2024 festivities, which include a fireworks show and free public skating.

Québec

Fred la Marmotte has been the headlining act in Val-d'Espoir, Qué., since 2009.

Last year, however, things took a tragic turn when he was found with no vital signs ahead of the big reveal.

The organizer of the event, Roberto Blondin, announced last year that the tradition would continue this year with Fred’s successor: Fred Junior

Fred was unique because he was the only groundhog mascot who resided on a UNESCO world heritage site.

You can stream this year's predictions on the official Fred la Marmotte website.

Nova Scotia

Shubenacadie Sam is a spectacular prognosticator. According to the park's website, no other groundhogs "have achieved the fame of Shubenacadie Sam, and he stays ready for the big day by "eating a herbivore diet (leafy greens, fruit and alfalfa pellets), and by practicing yoga and meditation."

Be sure to check back on theweathernetwork.com on February 2 to find out what these weather-minded rodents predict this year!

Thumbnail image created by Cheryl Santa Maria using elements from Canva Pro.