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Written By: Tuesday, January 31st 2017

Groundhog day is on February 2nd, but how did all start in Wiarton?

[For the past 60 years, the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, or more specifically, Wiarton has been celebrating the Wiarton Willie Festival and is the home of Canada’s most famous prognosticating groundhog, Wiarton Willie. Each February 2nd, dark and early, towns’ folk and fans come out to hear Willie’s prediction. Will it be an early spring or six more weeks of winter?

Many ask, “How did it all begin”? The answer is easy, Mac McKenzie, our most famous resident wanted to have a party for a hundred of his closest friends. He sent out a press release inviting them to Wiarton for Groundhog Day to break the winter doldrums and have a little fun. Well, somehow the media got a hold of the story and a lone reporter came out to see what was going on. After making inquiries all over town, he was directed to the local ‘establishment’, where sure enough, Mac and his buds were raising an elbow or two. When Mac was asked “where is the groundhog?” he threw a fur hat into the snow. The reporter took advantage of the photo op and the rest they say is history.

Then it seems that three wise groundhogs, Grundoon, Muldoon and Sand Dune broke hibernation to tell Mac of the birth of a white groundhog who would forever alter the world of weather prognostication. The white groundhog would be known for his uncanny ability to correctly predict the timing of spring and he would emerge each February 2nd to announce his prediction to those who spoke Groundhogese.]

You can continue reading about how it all began by clicking here

A photo posted by Andy Jibb (@andyjibb) on


Prediction Morning – What Means What?

If Wiarton Willie sees his shadow, he will be scared back into his burrow giving us 6 more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t see his shadow he’ll stay out of his burrow and this signifies an early spring.

February 2nd – What to do?

Go to Wiarton – everyone is welcome!

7:00am – Morning fireworks in Bluewater Park
7:15am – Prediction Morning festivities and entertainment begin on the outdoor stage located in the area parking lot
8:07am – The Official Prediction

You can also enjoy a free  pancake breakfast which will be prepared by the Wiarton Propeller Club, the Wiarton Optimists and the Wiarton Forget Me Nots (Red Hat Ladies).  Breakfast will be served in the upstairs of the Wiarton Arena. Donations  will be accepted with proceeds going towards the Wiarton Skate park project.

The Weekend to follow is filled with fun events and activities. This started after 1982 and this is how it went down:

Here is a list of all this year’s event and activities:

wiarton willie 2017

(click here for link to poster)

Here are some flashbacks to previous Groundhog days:

For all things Wiarton Willie visit the Town of South Bruce Peninsula Website or the Wiarton Willie Festival Facebook page