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Manitoba Merv Makes Groundhog Day Prediction

February 2, 2020 10:38 AM | News

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Manitoba Merv

Manitoba Merv appears at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre to predict an early spring on Sunday, February 2, 2020. (CHRISD.CA)

Manitoba is in for an early spring, according to a stuffed rodent with a nearly flawless track record.

Manitoba Merv popped his head out at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre near Stonewall Sunday and didn’t see his shadow. According to Groundhog Day folklore, that means we’re in for an early spring. Had Merv seen his shadow, it would signify six more weeks of winter.

“Groundhogs have a limited lifespan and usually live up to six years, whereas this one (Merv) is eternal,” said Jacques Bourgeois, marketing and communications with Oak Hammock Marsh.

Jacques Bourgeois - Manitoba Merv

Jacques Bourgeois of Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre and Manitoba Merv. (CHRISD.CA)

“So there’s no worry of losing him or him dying on us, so it’s actually a good thing as well. Most groundhogs tend to hibernate, so we kind of feel bad about waking up some poor groundhogs from the ground. So we decided to use a puppet instead and it works just as well — he’s been right pretty much every single time.”

The Marsh is also marking Sunday as World Wetlands Day — the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Family activities are planned at the interpretive centre throughout the day.

Elsewhere in Canada

Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam emerged from his burrow northeast of Halifax, and according to his handlers, saw his shadow. But in Ontario and Quebec, Wiarton Willie and Fred la Marmotte were paraded before their respective audiences and evidently saw no shadow.

South of the border, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil also made an appearance Sunday morning with his top-hatted handlers before a huge crowd at Gobbler’s Knob, and predicted an early spring.

Doug Ford - Wiarton Willie

Ontario Premier Doug Ford checks out Wiarton Willie Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 in Wiarton, Ont. with MPP Bill Walker laughing over his shoulder. Willie did not see his shadow and predicts an early spring. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ball)


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