This article is more than 3 years old.

Early spring, says Shubenacadie Sam

Sam's fans had to watch online this year because of COVID-19 restrictions

2 min read
caption Shubenacadie Sam didn't see his shadow Tuesday at Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.
Communications Nova Scotia

Despite Tuesday’s snowstorm, Nova Scotia’s weather predicting groundhog is forecasting an early spring for the province.

Shubenacadie Sam didn’t see his shadow, and according to folklore, it means winter won’t drag on for another six weeks.

Sam’s annual show at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park had to be held online only this year because of public health restrictions due to COVID-19. Over 2,500 people tuned into the stream over Facebook Live.

“It would’ve been a poor turnout with the weather today regardless, so it was nice to have everything planned ahead of time,” Rebecca Blank, the park’s supervisor of visitor experience, said in an interview.

Related stories

No shadow for Shubie Sam this Groundhog Day

| Multiple authors

There were fewer staff members present, but the storm didn’t stop them from holding the 30-minute event outside.

“We’re hearty Maritimers,” said Tabitha Cox, host of the event. “If we can be outside, why not?”

Shubenacadie Sam has been looking for his shadow since the 1980s. Since Nova Scotia is in the Atlantic time zone, Sam is the first groundhog to make a prediction each year.

History of Groundhog Day

The legend of Groundhog Day is based on the concept of a groundhog leaving its burrow during hibernation. If the groundhog sees its shadow once it leaves, it gets scared and runs back inside the burrow, which means six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, it means an early spring is coming soon.

The modern version of Groundhog Day started in 1887 in Pennsylvania, and is celebrated on Feb. 2 each year.

Punxsutawney Phil is the first and most famous weather-predicting groundhog. Phil predicted six more weeks of winter on Tuesday. Like all weather predictions not based in science, Phil is estimated to be correct less than half of the time. 

Other famous groundhogs include Wiarton Willie in Ontario, Staten Island Chuck, and Fred la marmotte in Quebec.

Share this

About the author

Emily McRae

Emily McRae is a journalist based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Have a story idea?