Six more weeks of winter, Manitoba’s furry forecaster says

Manitoba Merv, the province's furry forecaster. Oak Hammock Marsh

Manitoba is looking at six more weeks of winter, at least according to a stuffed groundhog at Oak Hammock Marsh.

“Manitoba Merv” saw his shadow on Wednesday morning — Groundhog Day — which, according to tradition and folklore, indicates more cold is on the way.

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This marks the second consecutive year the groundhog showed up for his big day clad in a facemask due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Merv is a puppet — technically a golf club cover — which is a bonus, because he lives forever and doesn’t need to be awakened from hibernation for a prediction, Oak Hammock Marsh’s Jacques Bourgeois told Global News.

“Manitoba Merv started predicting the arrival of spring in 1994, as we needed our own groundhog in Manitoba, since we have a very different climate here,” he said.

“He has a great track record, with 98 per cent accuracy. He only made a mistake once, the year he fell in love with his girlfriend, Manitoba Maria. Their relationship was short-lived.”

Bourgeois said it’s hard for Merv to be wrong, as six more weeks of winter after Feb. 2, in Manitoba, is still an early spring.

Not every furry forecaster across the country shared Merv’s view this year, however. While it was the same story in Halifax with Shubenacadie Sam and Quebec with Fred la Marmotte, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie is predicting an early spring.

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In addition to Groundhog Day, Wednesday is also World Wetlands Day, which raises global awareness of the significant impact wetlands have on the worldwide environment.

Click to play video: 'Groundhog Day a reminder of the repetitiveness of life amid COVID-19 for some Winnipeggers'
Groundhog Day a reminder of the repetitiveness of life amid COVID-19 for some Winnipeggers

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