Wiarton Willie Festival


 Wiarton Willie Predicted an Early Spring!!  - 2012

About the 2012 Wiarton Willie Festival

Wiarton Willie festival 2012Wiarton Willie is celebrating his 56th annual Wiarton Willie festival this year and would love to welcome you to his party. Willie invites you to spend some time listening to the fabulous live entertainment, playing road hockey or jogging, performing in Wee Willie Idol, winning at Monte Carlo night.

The festival has an array of diverse social, recreational and fun events. This year's Festival runs from February 1st to the 5th in beautiful Bluewater Park in Wiarton. For more information on the specific events visit the Wiarton Willie Festival website (you will need FLASH plugin) and click on "Festival Events" to see what's happening at the event site and around town! 

- Here's a 2012 Wiarton Willie Media Kit.-

Wiarton Willie 2011 Festival Prediction

Groundhog Day is the highlight of the Wiarton Willie Festival, one of the largest winter celebrations in Ontario. Fabulous for families, this week-long event attracts around 10,000 people and even international acclaim. There’s a “fun zone” for kids, along with sleigh rides, ice skating, a snow hill, live entertainment and tons of food. Snow pitch and road hockey tournaments are held, along with ice carving and dog sledding demonstrations, and a lumberjack show. The big day itself includes a pancake breakfast, pig roast, parade and evening fireworks.

History of Wiarton Willie

The story of Wiarton Willie began in 1956 by Wiarton resident Mac McKenzie. Feeling a little restless that winter, McKenzie decided to make a party of Groundhog Day and sent out 100 invitations to friends. A Toronto Star reporter somehow heard the news and came up for a story. What the reporter found, and joined, was McKenzie and friends in a local watering hole. Yet not to let the reporter go home empty-handed, McKenzie took his wife’s fur hat, buried it partially in the snow and made a prognostication. The reporter took a photo of that which ran the next day, and the next year, around four-dozen people arrived for a festival that’s grown annually ever since.

Wiarton Willie is the star of Groundhog Day in Wiarton, Ontario. Every February 2nd this cute, white rodent predicts whether spring will come early – or if six more weeks of winter are in store. The albino groundhog lives in Wiarton, in a large cage with an earthen mound just outside of the Bruce County Tourism office across from Bluewater Park. The park is also site a giant stone statue of a groundhog entitled “Willie Emerging”.

Winter Activities locally


Places to Stay

Why not Stay at a Wiarton area Bed and Breakfast: They're like Hotels with Love!  Several Wiarton B&B's are open for business in the winter.  Book a room with confidence: all are members of the Grey-Bruce B&B Association and are inspected regularly.

Longlane Bed and Breakfast
483078 Colpoy's Range Rd. RR2 Wiarton
www.longlane.ca | bb@longlane.ca

Evergreen Forest Bed and Breakfast
381135 Keppel Con 17, RR1 Wiarton
www.efbnb.com  |  stay@evergreen-bed-and-breakfast.com

Sauble Falls Bed and Breakfast
6 Rankin Bridge Rd, RR3 Wiarton
www.saublefallsbb.com  |  info@saublefallsbb.com

Island View Bed and Breakfast
502119 Grey Rd 1, Wiarton
www.islandviewbb.ca  |   info@islandviewbb.ca

This is where Wiarton Willie lives!


More must sees:

must see: Snowshoe Biener Trail

Explore Port Elgin's 12km of trails in Biener's Bush, accessible at Nodwell Park or Concession 10.

must see: Skate the loop

Skate Ontario's first outdoor skating loop!

must see: Snowmobile Walkerton to Chesley

District 9 has 2400 km of groomed trails and an abundance of sled-friendly communities.

must see: Cross Country Skiing at Sauble Ski Trails

Sauble Ski Trail has 18 kms of groomed ski trails branching out from Sauble Falls Provincial Park through wooded areas and open fields.

must see: Museums

The Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre offers an unforgettable experience in a journey through thousands of years of natural and human history, state of the art interactive exhibits and more!

must see: Camping in a Yurt

What is a yurt? A yurt is an eight-sided, 16 foot diameter, tent-like structure installed on a wooden deck floor. It can accommodate up to six people. They are nicely equipped with electric heating, outlets and lighting.

must see: Snowshoe Sauble Ski Trail

Sauble Ski Trail has 10km of snowshoe trails! The best part - stop in at the cabin for a cup of warm apple cider to warm up!

must see: Sawmill Trail

Sawmill trials include a range of loops from beginner to expert. Groomed for both diagonal and skate skiing techniques, this trail system is very popular with members, clubs and schools. There's even a night skiing option, with the Jackrabbit Loop lit when the sun goes down.