Official Tourism Website of Wiarton, Ontario

Wiarton Willie Festival
Wiarton, Ontario, Canada

EARLY SPRING OR 6 MORE WEEKS OF WINTER? 

Join Us for Prediction Morning!
February 2, 2017
7:00 am
Wiarton Arena

The Town of South Bruce Peninsula is fortunate to have something that no one else has, an albino weather prognosticating groundhog. As the most famous groundhog in Canada and the only albino weather prognosticator in the world, Wiarton Willie's prediction of the timing of spring is a news event that captures the interests of people around the world. Each year media from around the world converge on Wiarton to hear Willie make his famous prediction. 

The Wiarton Willie website receives hundreds of thousands of hits over the course of a few days from people all over the world and thousands more come to visit Willie both at the Festival and at his waterfront home in Bluewater Park.

The Festival has grown tremendously and offers something different each year. Visitors can expect entertainment, fireworks, indoor and outdoor activities, and so much more!

Wiarton loves their beloved groundhog so much that they have branded the town "Willie's Basecamp"! Banners, signs and sidewalks all boast that Wiarton is Willie's hometown.

Willie loves to make new friends so add a visit to the home of Wiarton Willie to your bucket list today! 

Join Us February 2, 2017 for Prediction Morning

Wake up Willie with a spectacular fireworks display beginning at 7:00 am in Bluewater Park. 

Enjoy Prediction Morning festivities and entertainment beginning at 7:15 am on the outdoor stage located in the Wiarton Arena parking lot emceed by Kevin Forget, Travel Promotions Officer/Ontario Travel Information Centre.  There will be special entertainment sponsored by this year's Festival Sponsor Sunwing.ca                                                                                                 

See  Willie's 2017 Shadow Cabinet, the Queen of the Festival and her court, the McLaren Pipe and Drum Band, Dave Nixon and Brooklyn Hewton, the Town Crier and of course Wiarton's own weather prognosticator, Willie. 

Enjoy a free  pancake breakfast which will be prepared by the Wiarton Propeller Club, the Wiarton Optimists and the Wiarton Forget Me Nots (Red Hat Ladies).  Breakfast will be served in the upstairs of the Wiarton Arena. 

The Official Prediction will take place at 8:07 am. 

So come on out and join us for what is sure to be a morning filled with fun filled excitement for everyone!

Sunwing.ca Experience the Difference

Event Name: Co-ed Sno Pitch Tournament

Event Date(s) and Time(s): February 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm and February 4, 2017 at 9:00 am

Event Category: Sports

Event Description: Co-ed Sno Pitch Tournament

Admission Fee: $150.00 per team

Event Venue: Bluewater Park Ball Diamond 543 Brown St

Event Phone: 519-377-7415

 

Event Name:Groundhog Jog

Event Date: February 4, 2016

Event Time: Registration 7:30 am     Start Time: 9:00 am

Event Category: Sports

Event Description: Every Groundhog Day, there's an opportunity to get out and run a fun 5k!  Saturday morning during the Wiarton Willie Festival, the run starts at the high school and sets out around town catching all the sights.  So "bridge the gap" between last year's running season and next summer's goals by following these simple steps:

1. Register Right Now to commit & motivate yourself
2. Train
3. Burn some winter fat!
4. Race!

Admission Fee: Sign up Online before January 2nd, 2017 for:$30.00

Sign up Onlinein the new year (January 2nd - February 3 @8pm) for: $35.00

or Sign up at PSDS on race day (cash/cheque only) for: $40.00

Register Online *note online registrations will be subject to an admin fee of approx $4.

Event Information                   

Course Route: The 5km run/walk route will start and finish at PSDS and will stay on the west side of Hwy. 6. Participants will not be crossing Hwy 6.

Race Times: Unofficial times will be recorded for runners only.  Walkers are most welcome but will only qualify for the random prizegiving during awards.

Race Kit Pick-up: Available Saturday morning from 7:30am until 8:30am inside the front doors of the school.  Manual registration is available during these hours at the above premium fee.  Please enter through the North entrance and follow signs for runners.

Note:  Dress appropriately for the weather please!

Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 male and female runners and to top 3 male and female masters (45+) Additional door prizes will be drawn at random.

Make any cheques payable to: Peninsula Adventure Sports Association

*Registration is Non-Refundable*

Directions to the race start at Peninsula Shores District School (PSDS)

1. Follow Hwy 6 to Wiarton.

2. Once in Wiarton, turn west at second set of lights (George St.) and follow to PSDS.

Event Address: Peninsula Shores District School 115 George St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: Leigh Grigg (519) 270-8041

Event Website: peninsulaadventure.ca 

Event Name: Dan Fries Memorial Dart Tournament

Event Date: Saturday, February 4, 2017

Event Time: 10:00 am Registration

Event Category: Sports

Event Description: 4 person team darts

Admission Fees ($50.00 per team)

Event Venue & Address: Boyd St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone:519-534-0622

Event Name: Wiarton Willie Lion's Hockey Tournament

Event Dates:

Friday February 3, 2017 starting at 7:00 pm
Saturday February 4, 2017 All day
Sunday February 5, 2017 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Event Category: Annual Event

Event Description: Recreation Teams and Oldtimers Compete

Admission Fees: Donation

Event Venue & Address: 526 Taylor St, Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0 (Wiarton & District Community Centre & Arena)

Event Email: valeriemitchell1@sympatico.ca  

Event Name: Pool Tournament

Event Date: February 4, 2017

Event Times 9:00 am to midnight

Event Description: 8 Ball & Snooker Tournament

Addmission Fees: $15.00 per person registration

Event Venue & Address: 570 Berford St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0 (Lloyd's Smoke Shop)

Event Phone: 519-534-1445

Event Name: Wiarton & District Culring Club's Groundhog Mixed Bonspiel

Event Date: Sauruday, February 4, 2017

Event Times: 1st Draw 8:30 am; 2nd Draw 11:00 am; 2nd game (Draw 1) 1:00 pm; 2nd Game (Draw 2) 3:00 pm

Event Category: Sports, Annual Event

Event Venue & Address: Wiarton Curling Club 563 George St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Description: Curling bonspiel for men and women on mixed teams.  Entry fee guarentees 2 x 8-end games, continental breakfast, snacks, and hot lunch (meals for curlers only).  Prizes for every participant.  Cash bar after 11:00 am.  Limited to 16 teams.

Entry Fee $140.00 /team

Free viewing of Curling in Club House

Event Phone: 519-793-4193 (Dennis Morton)

Event Email: bridden47@gmail.com
 

Event Name: Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen's Association Outdoor Fun

Event Date: February 4, 2017

Event Time: 10:00 to 4:00 pm

Event Category: Annual Event

Event Description: Outdoor hotdogs, ice hut fishing display, and hot chocolate

 

Event Name: Road Breaker Road Hockey

Event Date: Sunday, February 5, 2017

Event Time: 9:00 am

Event Category: Sports

Event Description: Road hockey for young children from Novice to Peewee ages

Admission Fees: Teams of 5 for $75.00 per team

Event Address: Wiarton Arena Parking Lot (440 George St)

Event Phone: 226-974-1432

Event Eamil: cinni13@sympatico.ca

Groundhog Jog/photo by Wiarton Echo Hockey Tournament/photo by Wiarton Echo Pool Tournament/photo by Wiarton Echo

For the past 60 years, the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, or more specifically, Wiarton has been celebrating the Wiarton Willie Festival and is the home of Canada's most famous prognosticating groundhog, Wiarton Willie. Each February 2nd, dark and early, towns' folk and fans come out to hear Willie's prediction. Will it be an early spring or six more weeks of winter?

Many ask, "How did it all begin"? The answer is easy, Mac McKenzie, our most famous resident wanted to have a party for a hundred of his closest friends. He sent out a press release inviting them to Wiarton for Groundhog Day to break the winter doldrums and have a little fun. Well, somehow the media got a hold of the story and a lone reporter came out to see what was going on. After making inquiries all over town, he was directed to the local 'establishment', where sure enough, Mac and his buds were raising an elbow or two. When Mac was asked "where is the groundhog?" he threw a fur hat into the snow. The reporter took advantage of the photo op and the rest they say is history.

Then it seems that three wise groundhogs, Grundoon, Muldoon and Sand Dune broke hibernation to tell Mac of the birth of a white groundhog who would forever alter the world of weather prognostication. The white groundhog would be known for his uncanny ability to correctly predict the timing of spring and he would emerge each February 2nd to announce his prediction to those who spoke Groundhogese.

These prognostications brought locals and visitors from near and far, soon turning in to an annual festival. As Willie's fame grew, so did the Festival. It matured to become the largest winter festival in Bruce County. Willie's position as the premier prognosticator brought more fame to the town and soon Town Fathers realized their icon needed a proper entourage and the "Shadow Cabinet" was created. The Mayor of the Land and of the Marmot, (the only person who can speak Groundhogese); Minister of Inter-Burrow Affairs, (to manage the political affairs); Minister of Hogwash and Hot Air, (to handle the media); Minister of Marmot Management, (to ensure the 'home front' is in good order); Director of Business, Buttons and Bows, (to ensure we are well decorated); Director of Surf, Sand and Fun, (to make sure there are lots of great activities to enjoy) and of course Mother Nature to make it all go well.

So famous had Willie become that in 1995 a statue was erected. With stone donated from the Adair Quarry in Hope Bay and the sculpting donated by Dave Robinson a beautiful white limestone statue called "Willie Emerging" was created. The statue is located in Bluewater Park in Wiarton and is used for many photo ops. Aside from visiting the real Willie, the statue is a 'must see' for most tourists visiting the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.

Now the week-long Festival brings in thousands of visitors and draws national and even international attention.

Our founder Mac McKenzie 2016 Mac McKenzie Award Winner - Paul Sutter (middle)

Event Name: Wiarton Willie Craft Show

Event Date: February 4, 2017

Event Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Event Category: Food; Exhibitions, Families, Annual Event

Event Description: The 19th annual Wiarton Willie Craft Show will be held at Peninsula Shores District School on Saturday, February 4th from 10: 00 am until 4:00 pm.  There will be a wide array of local vendors selling such things as homemade candles, soaps, clothing, jewellry, food, knitted items, wood products, cards and much more.  A delicious lunch is available

Admission Fees: Free Admission

Event Venue: Peninsula Shores District School, 115 George St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: 519-534-2205 Ext 528

Event Email: mattrap@sympatico.ca

 

Event Name: K'NEX Challenge

Event Date: Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Event Time: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Event Category: Families

Event Description: Come bring your imagination and visit the Wiarton Public Library to take the K'NEX challenge on Sunday, February 5th.

Admission Fees: Free and for all ages

Event Date: 578 Brown St, Wiarton ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: 519-534-2602

Event Email: jmitchener@brucecounty.on.ca

 

Ice Carving Ice Carving - Bruce Power Picture Frame Willie Historical Display

Event Name: Ground Hog Jog

Event Date: February 4, 2016

Event Time: Registration 7:30 am     Start Time: 9:00 am

Event Category: Sports

Event Description: Every Groundhog Day, there's an opportunity to get out and run a fun 5k!  Saturday morning during the Wiarton Willie Festival, the run starts at the high school and sets out around town catching all the sights.  So "bridge the gap" between last year's running season and next summer's goals by following these simple steps:

1. Register Right Now to commit & motivate yourself
2. Train
3. Burn some winter fat!
4. Race!

Admission Fee: Sign up Online before January 2nd, 2017 for:$30.00

Sign up Onlinein the new year (January 2nd - February 3 @8pm) for: $35.00

or Sign up at PSDS on race day (cash/cheque only) for: $40.00

Register Online *note online registrations will be subject to an admin fee of approx $4.

Event Information                   

Course Route: The 5km run/walk route will start and finish at PSDS and will stay on the west side of Hwy. 6. Participants will not be crossing Hwy 6.

Race Times: Unofficial times will be recorded for runners only.  Walkers are most welcome but will only qualify for the random prizegiving during awards.

Race Kit Pick-up: Available Saturday morning from 7:30am until 8:30am inside the front doors of the school.  Manual registration is available during these hours at the above premium fee.  Please enter through the North entrance and follow signs for runners.

Note:  Dress appropriately for the weather please!

Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 male and female runners and to top 3 male and female masters (45+) Additional door prizes will be drawn at random.

Make any cheques payable to: Peninsula Adventure Sports Association

*Registration is Non-Refundable*

Directions to the race start at Peninsula Shores District School (PSDS)

1. Follow Hwy 6 to Wiarton.

2. Once in Wiarton, turn west at second set of lights (George St.) and follow to PSDS.

Event Address: Peninsula Shores District School 115 George St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: Leigh Grigg (519) 270-8041

Event Website: peninsulaadventure.ca 

Event Name: Wiarton Propeller Club Bid Euchre Tournament

Event Date: February 2, 2017

Event Category: Annual Event

Event Description: Play 6 games.  Must register as a couple.  Games will be 20 mins each.  Must Register prior to February 2, 2017 by calling Event Phone number below.

Event Venue & Address: 575 Edward St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: 519-534-0135

Event Name: Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen's Association Outdoor Fun

Event Date: February 4, 2017

Event Time: 10:00 to 4:00 pm

Event Category: Annual Event

Event Description: Outdoor hotdogs, ice hut fishing display, and hot chocolate

Event Name: K'NEX Challenge

Event Date: Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Event Time: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Event Category: Families

Event Description: Come bring your imagination and visit the Wiarton Public Library to take the K'NEX challenge on Sunday, February 5th.

Admission Fees: Free and for all ages

Event Date: 578 Brown St, Wiarton ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: 519-534-2602

Event Email: jmitchener@brucecounty.on.ca

Snow Hill

2017 Queen of the Festival Pageant 

Don't miss the 2017 Queen of the Festival Pageant on Friday, January 27, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at the Wiarton Meeting Place (Propeller Club).  Admission is just $6.00 for adults and $5.00 for Seniors and all others.  Entertainment by the Dave Nixon, Brooklyn Hewton, Steenika Gilbert and Alexa Miller and the contestants themselves.  Who will be the People's Choice winner in 2017?  This is your chance to vote. 

2017 Little Miss Festival Queen Pageant

Come out to see the first ever Little Miss Festival Queen Pageant sponsored by Mother's Fabrics in Wiarton.  7-10 year old young ladies from across Grey and Bruce counties will be participating in this new event.  Enjoy musical entertainment by Dave Nixon, Brooklyn Hewton and Maddie Perreault and a special little sing song presented by Dave and the little contestants.  $6.00 admission for adults and $5.00 for seniors/others.  Arrive early for a good seat at the Wiarton Meeting Place (Propeller Club) on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.

Event Address: 575 Edward St Wiarton, ON 

For information, contact the event organizer, Mary Lynn Standen at (519) 534-9125. 

Let’s stroll down the Willie’s Queen lane. I bet you will recognize some of these names for sure.

  • 1958 Lois Taylor Losole
  • 1959 Jeannette Smart Mallard 
  • 1960 Barbara Taylor Gibson  
  • 1961 Evelyn Ward Elliott
  • 1962 Brenda Hahn Gilbert
  • 1963 Mary Symon Forrester 
  • 1966 Margaret Taylor Bray 
  • 1967 June Taylor VanBastelaar 
  • 1968 Maureen Low 
  • 1969 Linda Loucks Newton             
  • 1970 Carol Barfoot Forbes
  • 1971 Anna Marie Lymburner 
  • 1972 Patricia Sutter Perry
  • 1973 Bonnie Sutter Downs
  • 1974 Natalie Leeson Kirolos
  • 1975 Cathy Mielhausen Zarzycki   
  • 1976 Penny Robins Gildner            
  • 1977 Cindy Morton
  • 1978 Rhonda Smith Mullan   
  • 1979 Diane McKenzie
  • 1980 Vicki McCaw Scarlett
  • 1981 Susan Johnston Craig
  • 1982 Patty Collins McLean          
  • 1983 Nancy Butchart           
  • 1984 Marjorie Williams Hambly
  • 1985 Rosemary Witteveen                 
  • 1986 Sherry Tomlin Lumley
  • 1987 Tara Glassford Wilson             
  • 1988 Darci Lombard        
  • 1989 Shannon Cosgrove
  • 1990 Carrie Bateson
  • 1991 Angela Catcher
  • 1992 Tabatha Gibbons          
  • 2010 Kim Liverance
  • 2011 Bridget Boyle
  • 2012 Teegan Wilson
  • 2013 Kristin Otten
  • 2014 Sarah McLeod
  • 2015 Brezshia Ashcroft
  • 2016 Tianna Krampien

-------------------------------------

 

2016 Pageant Contestants

Photo (Front Row) left to right:  Paige Concordia (Spirit Rock Outpost & Lodge) and Alexandra Nixon (Rankin River Trading Co.)

Photo (Back Row) left to right:  Mariah Slot (Davis & McLay Insurance), Kaitlin Smith (Forbes Sand & Gravel), Sarah Spragg (Josie’s Fashions), Tianna Krampien (Shear Style Studio), Kristina Mountain (Dockside Willie’s), Emily Urbshott (Hair Solutions) and Channing Miller (Paul Miller Excavating & Landscapes Inc.)

Gateway Haven Senior Shadow Seekers Crowning of Royalty

Event Date: Friday February 3, 2017

Event Time: 1:30 pm

Event Category: Annual Event

Event Description: Annual Event that is the crowning of Gateway Haven Residents for Queen, King, Miss Congeniality. "Royalty"

Event Venue & Address: 671 Frank St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: 519-534-1113

2016 Pageant Contestants Festival Queen Tianna Krampien with Sarah Spragg, Channing Miller and Paige Concordia (left to right)

Event Name: BPACL Wiarton Self-Advocate

Event Date: Friday, February 3, 2017

Event Times: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Event Category: Food

Event Description: Bruce Peninsula Association for Community Living offers 100 free take away lunches for Wiarton Willie fans at their 550 Berford St location.

Events Venue & Address: 550 Berford St, Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: 519-534-0553

Event Email: reception.bpacl@bmts.com

Event Website: www.bpacl.com

Event Name:Cheap Chili Chowdown

Event Organizer: Cedar Masonic Lodge

Event Date: February 4, 2016

Event Time: 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

Event Category: Food

Event Location: Cedar Masonic Lodge 560 Claude St Wiarton, ON (Across from the Fire Hall)

Event Description: This popular event is an inexpensive way to keep you going as you enjoy the various outdoor events throughout the town. The Chowdown runs from 11-2 on the Saturday of the Wiarton Willie Festival. For only $5, you get a bowl of chili with a bun, a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate to wash it down. 

As always, the Mason's will serve you either some delicious Willie Chili (meat-lovers heaven...regular flavour or ultra-mild) or if you prefer, Willie's Chili (veggie-delight). This well-guarded recipe is a perennial favourite, served up hot and fresh. It is guaranteed to be the best way to take the chill off a cold afternoon of serious Groundhogging.

Admission Fees $5.00/meal 

Event Name: Wiarton Willie Craft Show

Event Date: February 4, 2017

Event Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Event Category: Food; Exhibitions, Families, Annual Event

Event Description: The 19th annual Wiarton Willie Craft Show will be held at Peninsula Shores District School on Saturday, February 4th from 10: 00 am until 4:00 pm.  There will be a wide array of local vendors selling such things as homemade candles, soaps, clothing, jewellry, food, knitted items, wood products, cards and much more.  A delicious lunch is available

Admission Fees: Free Admission

Event Venue: Peninsula Shores District School, 115 George St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: 519-534-2205 Ext 528

Event Email: mattrap@sympatico.ca

Event Name: St. John's United Church-Pancake Brunch

Event Date: Saturday February 4, 2017

Event Time: 8:00 am to 1:00 pm

Event Category: Food

Event Description: Pancake Brunch 8:00 am to 1:00 pm at St. Johns United Church on Berford St right beside Town Hall!!.  Enjoy some warming hospitality on a cold day along with pancakes, sausage, tea, coffee, and juice.

Prices: Regular Price $8.00; Ages 5 to 10 $4.00; Children under age 5 $Free

Event Venue & Address: 528 Berford St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Name: Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen's Association Outdoor Fun

Event Date: February 4, 2017

Event Time: 10:00 to 4:00 pm

Event Category: Annual Event

Event Description: Outdoor hotdogs, ice hut fishing display, and hot chocolate

Event Name: Wiarton District Optimist Club's Fancy Tea

Event Date: February 4, 2017

Event Time 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Event Category: Food, Annual Event

Event Description: A fancy tea featuring tea, a light lunch, music and prizes.  Wear a hat, dress in 1867 consutme to celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday.

Event Venue & Address: 576 Edward St Wiarton, ON N0H 2T0

Event Phone: 519-378-6758

Event Email: gaylehall@sympatico.ca

Pancake Breakfast/photo by Wiarton Echo
Prediction Morning/photo by Wiarton Echo Prediction Morning/photo by Wiarton Echo Prediction Morning/photo by Wiarton Echo Prediction Morning Prediction Morning Prediction Morning Prediction Morning. Prediction Morning Prediction Morning/photo by Leigh Grigg Prediction Morning

The Wiarton Willie Festival Committee appoints Willie’s Shadow Cabinet annually in late November – early December.   Being a Shadow Cabinet member is an honour bestowed upon individuals, representatives of the Committee and Community.   Shadow Cabinet members graciously show their presence at all Festival events, most particularly, on Prediction Day, February 2.  

2017 Shadow Cabinet Members include:

Festival Founder
Regan McKenzie (representing her father Mac McKenzie)

Mayor of the Land and of the Marmot
Mayor Janice Jackson

MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
Bill Walker

Minister of Sea, Sand and Sun
David Wright
(representing Sunwing.ca)

Minister of Hot Air and Hogwash
Stephen Canton
(representing Wiarton & District Lions Club) 

Minister of Youthful Affairs
Hunter Lemon (representing Peninsula Shores District School)

Minister of Ancient History
Art Haley
(recipient of the Ontario Senior of the Year Award)

Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation
Chief Gregory Nadjiwon

Saugeen First Nation
Chief Lester Anoquot

Town Crier
Bruce Kruger


 

Minister of Bucks and Dough
 

315 George St
Wiarton
Ontario, N0H 2T0
519-534-1400

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