On early Friday morning, the 'Prairie Prognosticator' Balzac Billy,  predicted six more weeks of winter during the 21st Annual Balzac Groundhog Day Celebration.

Billy's anticipated prognostication is an annual event hosted in front of the Blue Grass Nursery, Sod and Garden Centre in Balzac.

But what of all the other Canadian groundhogs on this special day? Did they agree with Billy's prediction? It looks like Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam as well as Ontario's Willie Wiarton all predicted an early spring! But what about Quebec’s Fred la Marmotte? He also didn't see his shadow - which means an early spring! Billy's American colleague, Punxsutawney Phil down in Pennsylvania also predicted an early spring. 

An interesting tidbit that not everyone may be aware of is that although Billy is seen as the lovable groundhog, he is a Richardson Ground Squirrel, a common species in Alberta. According to the Blue Grass Nursery & Garden Centre, often called gophers, Richardson ground squirrels are plump, yellowish-grey squirrels with short tails.

"Billy and his colony of approximately 19 others live on a hectare of land surrounding CrossIron Mills and the Blue Grass Nursery & Garden Centre. They like living in the open prairie where the vegetation is short and the ground is dry and easy to excavate."

Originally, Groundhog Day was birthed from superstition by the Pennsylvania Dutch community who believed that if a groundhog came out from its burrow on this day and saw its shadow in clear weather, scurrying back into its den, that meant six more weeks of winter. If a groundhog didn't see its shadow, the daises would be blooming soon. 

Last year, Billy predicted an early spring, while in 2022, he predicted six more weeks of winter.

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