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Groundhog Day Canada 2024 Results: Meet 6 Celebrity Groundhogs by Province

Bright and early at 8:00am on February 2nd — all across Canada— Canadians' eyes were on five Celebrity Groundhogs as they sleepily left their hibernation holes.

I am embarassed to say that until I started writing this very blog article, I had not even heard of Groundhog Day.

So I searched it up (thanks Google), and this is what I found out...


What is the significance of February 2nd?

February 2nd is the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox, which is believed to be indicative of weather patterns. This is also the time when Groundhogs peek out of their hibernation holes.

What is the Groundhog Rule?

When the Celebrity Groundhog ambles out of its hole, will it see its shadow? That's the big question and the answer tells us if we're in for six more weeks of winter; or if spring's around the corner. A shadow means more chilly days and the groundhog goes right back into its hole; whereas no shadow hints at an early spring.

Do they actually use a real Groundhog on Groundhog Day?

The selection process for each Celebrity Groundhog varies across provinces. The specifics are not generally told to the public, but it is understood that each Celebrity Groundhog has its own handlers and caretakers. Some provinces now use stuffed toy animals as mascots versus breathing and living animals. Whether real or a plush toy, Celebrity Goundhogs are celebrated at town parades, pancake breakfasts and dances.

Are Groundhog Day predictions accurate?

Do the Celebrity Groundhogs accurately predict whether we will have longer or shorter winters? Well, the answer is, no. Groundhogs have success percentages that range from 29% to 58%. Although! Canada's newest Celebrity Groundhog from Vancouver, Van Isle Violet, has a perfect record from 2020-2023 :)

Are Groundhog predictions affected by climate change?

But why are these groundhogs so inaccurate? Is it because of climate change? Why are Canadians putting so much stock into whether a certain rodent sees its shadow?

While Groundhog Day in Canada brings a smile with the light-hearted tradition of predicting the arrival of spring, it also nudges us to have a more serious conversation about climate change.

Relying on Celebrity Groundhogs like Wiarton Willie (Ontario) or Shubenacadie Sam (Nova Scotia) — who themselves are affected by the very unpredictable weather patterns that they're supposed to predict — means that we are also having more serious conversations about climate change.

With climate change, spring is getting warmer: Climate Central analyzed 244 cities and found that 93 percent of them are warmer during the six weeks after Groundhog Day.

Thanks to Groundhog Day, our conversations about climate change go beyond the melting of glaciers and rising sea levels. We start talking about the shift in the Celebrity Groundhog hibernation patterns. We're interested in when each Groundhog will emerge from its hole. Interestingly, Groundhog Day provides Canadians with subtle indicators of how climate change affects ecosystems, agriculture, wildlife and human health in their communities.



Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia

2024 Results: Early Spring

Success Rate (2020-2023)* = 58%


Shubenacadie Sam is Nova Scotia's star weather predictor! Nestled in the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, just a hop away from New Glasgow, Sam's the go-to groundhog for the scoop on spring.

What makes Sam a standout is he's the first in North America to make the call — boasting a 58% success rate. Since 1987, Nova Scotians have cheered on four Sams, each living up to a decade, giving the country the first, yearly weather lowdown.

Here's the scoop on Sam: He's a groundhog, part of the Marmota monax family, known for their winter hibernation. Sam's no ordinary groundhog; while his buddies are snoozing, he's prepping with a healthy veggie diet, yoga, and meditation to ensure he's in top form for Groundhog Day.

Fred Junior La Marmotte in Quebec

2024 Results: Early Spring

Success Rate (2020-2023)* = 36%


Bonjours Fred Junior, the newest groundhog on the block in Val-d'Espoir, Quebec!

He stepped up to fill the shoes of his dad, Fred la Marmotte, who was a bit of a local celeb for nailing the spring weather forecast year after year.

Groundhog Day 2023 was a bit bittersweet when Fred Senior passed away, just hours before the ceremony. But the community kept the spirit alive, with music, dancing, and even a child stepping in to predict more winter was on the way, all while rocking a cute groundhog hat.

Fred Senior was kind of a big deal, hitting the nail on the head with 80% of his predictions over all time. Now, it's Fred Junior's turn to shine and keep the tradition going strong. Everyone's buzzing to see if he's got the same knack for weather forecasting as his dad.

Wiarton Willie in Ontario:

2024 Results: Early Spring

Success Rate (2020-2023)* = 29%


The most celebrated Canadian groundhog, Wiarton Willie has been making weather predictions since 1956. However, Willie does more for the community than just making predictions.

Groundhog day helps educate people on local wildlife and brings tourists to Ontario to support local businesses, thanks to Willie’s fame. In addition, the community comes together to ensure that they properly care for Willie. The role of Wiarton Willie in Ontario is passed down through succession.

Researchers have found that Wiarton Willie is correct only 29% of the time.

Manitoba Merv in Manitoba

2024 Results: Six More Weeks of Winter

Success Rate (2020-2023)* = 73%


Merv originates from a puppet and has charmed his way into the hearts of Manitobans. People from Manitoba do not like to disturb the groundhogs that are in hibernation, so they opt for a puppet! This puppet also serves as an educational tool to teach children and the community about the importance of groundhogs and Manitoba's ecosystem.

Researchers say that Manitoba Merv is 73% accurate.

Balzac Billy in Alberta

2024 Results: Six More Weeks of Winter

Success Rate (2020-2023)* = 42%

Balzac Billy actually isn't a real groundhog. Why? Well, groundhogs are not actually found in Alberta. Instead, he is a person dressed in a groundhog costume who brings cheer and predictions to Albertans.

Researchers have found that Balzac Billy is correct over 42% of the time.

Van Isle Violet in Vancouver

2024 Results: Six More Weeks of Winter

Success Rate (2020-2023)* = 100%


Van Isle Violet is 100% accurate since she took over in 2022. However, she is a real groundhog. 100% success rate!

Violet isn't your average groundhog either. She is a Vancouver Island marmot which is one of the rarest mammals in Canada, talk about special predictions!

* Groundhog success rate (Source: and Matthew Grinter, a meteorologist at The Weather Network


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