Shubenacadie Sam

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Shubenacadie Sam is a famous Canadian groundhog who lives at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park in the town of Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Every February 2, on Groundhog Day, Sam's shadow is closely observed at 08:00 AST to make the traditional prediction whether there will be an early spring. Due to Nova Scotia's Atlantic Time Zone, Sam makes the first Groundhog Day prediction in North America.[1]

The prediction ceremony is heralded by a bagpiper and town crier and draws an early-morning festive crowd of families and visitors.


The Shubenacadie Sam tradition began about 1987 and differs from most other famous groundhogs as he is not woken from hibernation for Groundhog Day.[2] Shubenacadie Sam most recently predicted an early spring at his appearance in February 2018.[3] Four ground hogs have served as "Shubenacadie Sam" since the practice began in Nova Scotia, as groundhogs usually live 10 years in captivity. The current Sam was born in 2006.[4] Park employee Carole Custance has been the caretaker for Shubenacadie Sam and the park's groundhogs for almost 17 years. She provides breakfast for the groundhog, usually yogurt and melon. Custance also reads to the groundhog who has been designated an advocate for Family Literacy Day. Shubenacadie Sam usually draws around 200 spectators for his prediction.[5] In 2018, Sam bit the finger of CBC reporter Brent Ruskin when the reporter grabbed the groundhog to stop Sam from climbing out of the groundhog enclosure.[6]

Past predictions[edit]

2018 "Early Spring"[7]
2017 "Early Spring"[8]
2016 "Early Spring"[9]
2015 “Long Winter"[10]
2014 “Early Spring"[11] [12]
2013 “Long winter"[13]
2012 "Early spring"[14]
2011 "Early spring"[15]
2010 "Long winter"[16]
2009 "Long winter"[17]
2008 "Early Spring"[18]
2007 "Early spring"[19]
2006 "Early Spring"[20]


While Shubenacadie offers the earliest prediction every year, it is one of many towns throughout North America known for their winter-predicting groundhogs. The most famous is Punxsutawney Phil of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The most famous Canadian is Wiarton Willie. Sam shares the Nova Scotia prediction every year with "Two Rivers Tunnel" in Cape Breton at the Two Rivers Wildlife Park in Mira River, Nova Scotia, although "Two Rivers Tunnel" is awaken for its prediction just after 11 am instead of 8 am. Shubenacadie Sam's prediction, like all weather-predicting-ground hogs, bears little relation to seasonal weather trends as it is based on random location conditions, according to Meteorologist Cindy Day. Shubenacadie Sam has an accuracy rate of about 45%, according to Day, compared to 39% for Punxsutawney Phill and 25% for Wiarton Willy.[21] Other Canadian groundhogs include "Brandon Bob" of Brandon, Manitoba, and "Gary the Groundhog" in Kleinburg, Ontario. Promoters of a lobster festival in Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia created a "Lucy the Lobster" ritual for the first time in 2018 with a lobster that crawls from the water to a lobster trap on Groundhog Day.[22]


  1. ^ "Shubenacadie Sam to Make Annual Prediction" Nova Scotia Government Dept. of Natural Resources Press Release Jan. 28, 2010
  2. ^ "N.S. Groundhog Dodges Hiberation in Heated House", Novanet News Now, Feb. 2, 2007
  3. ^ "Shubenacadie Sam predicts early spring". Retrieved 2018-02-02. 
  4. ^ Jacon Boon, "Shubenacadie sham!", The Coast, February 1, 2018
  5. ^ Raissa Tetanish, "Shubenacadie Sam gearing up for his big day", Truro Daily News, February 1, 2016
  6. ^ "Groundhog Day 2018: Mixed signals and a near escape", CBC News, February 2, 2018
  7. ^ "Shubenacadie Sam predicts early spring". Retrieved 2018-02-02. 
  8. ^ Cassie Williams, "Shubenacadie Sam says it's going to be an early spring" ‘’CBC‘’ February 2, 2017
  9. ^ "Shubenacadie Sam doesn't see shadow, predicts early spring" ‘’CBC‘’ February 2, 2016
  10. ^ "Shubenacadie Sam predicts 6 more weeks of winter” ‘’CBC’’ February 2, 2015
  11. ^ "Groundhog Day 2014: Wiarton Willie, Punxsutawney Phil, Shubenacadie Sam Make Their Forecasts” ‘’Huffington Post Canada’’ February 2, 2014
  12. ^ "Groundhog Day predictions mixed for early spring", CBC News Feb. 2, 2014
  13. ^ “Shubenacadie Sam sees shadow, says embrace winter” ‘’Chronicle Herald’’ Truro Bureau, February 2, 2013
  14. ^ “Groundhog Day 2012: Wiarton Willie, Shubenacadie Sam predict early spring; Punxsutawney Phil calls for more winter” ‘’National Post’’, February 2, 2012
  15. ^ “Shubenacadie Sam Does Not See Shadow”, ‘’Ducks Unlimited’’, Feb. 2, 2011
  16. ^ “Shubenacadie Sam sees shadow”, ‘ ‘Chronicle Herald Live’ ‘, February 2, 2010
  17. ^ "No surprises as Wiarton Willy and pals predict more winter". London Free Press (London, ON). February 2, 2009.
  18. ^ “No shadow for Wiarton Willie, Shubenacadie Sam - early end to Canadian winter” Feb. 2, 2008
  19. ^ “Groundhogs Sam, Willie and Phil say spring is near” ‘ ‘CTV News’ ‘ February 2, 2007
  20. ^ "Shubie Sam says no more winter”, CBC News, Feb. 2, 2006
  21. ^ Tom Ayers, "Shubenacadie Sam unlikely to see his shadow", Chronicle Herald, January 31, 2018a
  22. ^ Tina Comeau, "Lucy the Lobster does not see her shadow on Groundhog Day morning in a new South Shore N.S. twist on an old tradition", Yarmouth County Vanguard, February 2, 2018

External links[edit]