groundhog day 2022

Toronto guinea pig gives Wiarton Willie a run for his money on Groundhog Day

Is winter almost over? It's the question Ontario residents have no doubt been asking repeatedly throughout the past snow-filled month, and today is the day we get to find out the answer... kinda.

That's right, it's Groundhog Day — the day we put all our hopes and dreams about sunny skies and warm weather in the hands, or shall I say claws, of an oblivious woodchuck. Or, in the Toronto Zoo's case, a guinea pig.

The zoo posted a video on social media early Wednesday morning showing an adorable guinea pig named Eric peaking out from inside his burrow.

Faced with two choices written out on signs in front of him, one of which said "Early spring!" and the other of which said "Back to bed," Eric thankfully followed the more optimistic sign, though it may have had something to do with the lettuce and carrots waiting for him on that side.

But while Eric isn't exactly the right kind of rodent to be making such a prediction, at least as far as folklore has it, we'll take an early spring prediction any way we can get it.

And fortunately, Ontario's official weather-predicting groundhog agrees with Eric's instincts. 

Wiarton Willie, who is named after Ontario's former signature weather-minded groundhog who passed away last year, made an appearance in a Plexiglas box on stage this morning before Wiarton Mayor Janice Jackson announced Willie's prediction of an early spring — giving us even more hope that we won't be covered in snow for much longer. 

But the prediction isn't unanimous. 

Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam appeared only briefly from her enclosure at a wildlife park north of Halifax Wednesday morning before seeing her shadow and returning promptly to her cozy home, suggesting we may in fact be in for at least another six weeks of wintry weather. 

So while today's results don't exactly give us a clear indication of what's to come weather-wise, here's hoping Wiarton Willie — and the zoo's new weather-forecasting guinea pig — are on the right track.

Lead photo by

The Toronto Zoo

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