Quebec’s furry forecaster, Fred la Marmotte, died before he was able to reveal his 2023 Groundhog Day prediction.
The organizer of the Val-d’Espoir event, Roberto Blondin, made the tragic announcement in front of a crowd of awaiting spectators.
“When I went to wake him last night he had no vital signs,” Blondin said. “He most likely died during hibernation.”
Despite the loss of the beloved groundhog, the annual celebrations continued in the cold.
The late famed whistle pig of nine years old was honoured with a plush animal toy.
A prediction, done by a committee of volunteer children, confirmed six more weeks of winter are to come.
Last year, the weather-minded rodent also predicted six more weeks of winter. In 2022, Fred worked from home again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so only a few people were on hand for the annual tradition. The event was broadcast on community television bright and early for Quebecers to see.
Blondin announced the annual event, which dates back to 2009, will continue next year with Fred’s successor: Fred Junior.
Groundhog Day, according to folklore, is when a groundhog will emerge from its burrow and if it does not see its shadow, then spring is just around the corner. If it does see a shadow and retreats, then we can expect six more weeks of winter.
Shubenacadie Sam, Nova Scotia’s most famous groundhog, apparently saw her shadow this morning as she emerged from a snow-covered enclosure at a wildlife park north of Halifax.
Meanwhile, Willie was brought out on stage in Wiarton, Ont. in a Plexiglass box. He heralded spring’s arrival.
— with files from The Canadian Press