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  • Photo du rédacteurLouise Doche

Willie the groundhog

This week-end, we visited Wiarton, at 1h30 from Walkerton, the city where we live. In Wiarton, my canadian family made me discover the story of Willie the groundhog, a story very atypical and interesting.

Alyssa and me with Willie's statue

I learned that in this township is where Willie is located , who is in fact a groundhog who predicts if spring is on the way. I had the opportunity to see his burrow, but unfortunately, he was not in.

Many Canadians celebrate Groundhog Day. There is a festival in Ontario, where the town groundhog, Wiarton Willie, delivers his “prediction” early in the morning on February 2 every year.

The tradition say that, this day, we must observe the entrance of the burrow's groundhog. If the groundhog leaves his burrow and we don't see his shadow, the winter will finish soon. In contrast, if we see his shadow, winter will continue during 6 weeks.

I was able to see the famous statue of Willie made in 1996 to commemorate the 40th birthday of Wiarton Willie prognostications, representing the first Willie groundhog, replaced after his death by another Willie groundhog.

Other groundhogs exist who predict the winter in other cities of North America, and I had the chance to see one of them, I am very happy because it's something very different from France.

When I talked with my family about that, I also learnt that a famous film in the world exists which was dedicated for Willie « Groundhog Day » from Harold Ramis.This film is about the groundhog in Pennsylvania. When I did some research about it, I discovered that I already saw it with my family when I was younger.

Last year, people didn't see Willie's shadow so he predicted an early spring. Waiting on the second of February for a new prediction...

Thanks for reading about this part of my trip,

Louise DOCHE

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