Famed groundhog (prognosticator) Wiarton Willie dead at 13
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 1:49 PM - Wiarton Willie, Canada's most famous groundhog, has died at the age of 13, after more than a decade of weather prognostication.
The town of South Bruce Peninsula, which includes Wiarton, announced on Wednesday that Willie had died. Mayor Janice Jackson told the Owen Sound Sun Times Willie was found dead Saturday by his handler Saturday.
"Most groundhogs in the wild live to be approximately 4 years old, with shorter lifespans typically for the albino variety, like Willie," the town said in a release. "Willie's daily care regimen coupled with living in a safe and protected environment allowed Willie to reach the ripe old age of thirteen."
The town will host a memorial service for Willie on Saturday, September 30, 2017, at 11 a.m. in Bluewater Park in Wiarton.
“I think we owe a lot to Wiarton Willie and I think this is an appropriate tribute to him and I hope a lot of people come out on Sept. 30," Jackson said.
Though Willie is not the first groundhog to pipe up about the end of winter on any given Groundhog Day -- that honour goes to Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam in the Atlantic time zone -- he was arguably Canada's most famous, drawing hundreds of people to hear the good (and sometimes bad) news.
The current Willie is not the first of his name, however, and like previous Willies before him, the town says he will be replaced, with his two-year-old understudy "Wee Willie" ready to step into the role.
WATCH BELOW: Wiarton Willie's final forecast
SOURCE: Town of South Bruce Peninsula | Owen Sound Sun Times | Thumbnail Image: Town of South Bruce Peninsula