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3 entries from August 2021

Celebrating International Dog Day with Joe and his Petro Pals

It seems like I’ve always had a dog in my life. Honeybear, the fluffy and gregarious Old English sheepdog, dominated my childhood. An incorrigible black lab puppy named Lucy ruined several of my university textbooks. And four Sharpeis (not all at once!) have blessed my adult years. The most current is Pumbaa – she’s a sweet one-eyed girl adopted from Korea. Look at that face!

Smiling dog, Pumbaa

August 26th is International Dog Day – a holiday first celebrated by American Colleen Paige in 2004 to draw attention to the number of dogs in shelters. It has grown in popularity and is now celebrated across the world. I thought today would be a fitting day to introduce Joe Rustad and his @Petro_Pals account on Instagram.

Joe is the site manager at the full-serve Petro-Canada station located on Lakeshore Road in Kelowna, BC. When you’re working full-serve, you interact with customers a fair bit, including the furry-faced customer peering out at you from the window of the vehicle.

Joe Rustad and his @Petro_Pals Instagram account

Joe noted that the station has always been a treat-friendly place for dogs and he just ramped that up a bit when he started taking selfies with the dogs. The customers asked Joe to post them online and, voila, @Petro_Pals was born.

Joe doesn’t currently have any canine companions: his Mastiff/Ridgeback/Pittbull cross, Buddy, passed away from cancer and his black lab/Rottweiler cross, Keena, passed away a few years ago – she was 14. Taking the selfies is a way to have interaction with dogs. Joe believes that “Dogs are the gateway to a happy life.”

The account is popular with customers and employees alike – there’s even been a little family rivalry to see whose pup takes the best selfie. Some customers stop by just to get their dog’s picture taken. It’s easy to understand why - who wouldn’t love seeing a pic of their happy pet with a friendly fellow like Joe?!

We’re featuring more of Joe’s Petro Pals over on Petro-Canada’s Instagram account today. Check them out and be sure to give the @Petro_Pals account a follow for more cute pics of pups.

~Kate T.

Tuning in to Watch Our FACE™ Athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

The Olympic Games are the ultimate sporting event – bringing the world together to watch athletes put it all on the line. But that's only half the story of our country’s incredible athletes. I’m here to tell you if you aren’t watching the Paralympic Games – you’re missing out on seeing some of the best competitors in the world. Too often, they take a backseat to the Olympic Games but anyone who has watched the Paralympic Games knows exactly why they deserve their own spotlight.

Wheelchair Basketball Players

I’ve played basketball my whole life – I’ve always been on the taller side and can shoot a mean free throw. I’ve also followed professional basketball and occasionally caught a match or two in the Olympic Games, but I remember what blew me away were the wheelchair basketball events at the Paralympic Games. Even as a younger athlete, I knew that what they were doing took incredible skill; it was so exciting to watch! It’s some of the best hoops competition I can remember seeing, and I still hope to catch it live one day!

The Paralympic Games show what can happen when people dedicate themselves to their passion and push boundaries. A perfect example is wheelchair basketball star, Bo Hedges. He’s the captain of this year’s Canadian team and won a Gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He credits the words from his coach, Joe Higgins – “Practice with purpose” – to remind him of all that he’s achieved and the drive that got him where he is. You can watch an interview with Bo on the playlist below.

Petro-Canada is proud to support Canadian athletes striving to represent Canada in the Paralympic or Olympic Games but who don’t yet qualify for government funding through our FACE™, or Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence, program. Every year, we select 55 up-and-coming athletes and their coaches from across Canada to receive a FACE grant.

This year we are thrilled to have 24 FACE athletes competing in Tokyo in sports from Boccia to Wheelchair Rugby, including Olivia Meier who will be the first Canadian to compete in Para badminton – a sport making its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games! You can see the full complement of FACE athletes competing in Tokyo over on our Facebook page.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will run from Aug. 24 – Sept. 5, and it’s easier than ever to catch all the action. You can watch live coverage on CBC/Radio-Canada or CBC Gem online as well as catch competitions on the Canadian Paralympic Team’s Twitter Account and Facebook Page. Make sure you tune in to cheer on the Canadian Paralympic Team!

~Allison D.

Cross-Canada Road Trippin’ in an EV

I love a good road trip. I’ve done a few memorable ones so far in my life, including a Waterloo, ON to North Battleford, SK trip that taught me the absolute truth of the lyrics in Wendell Ferguson’s song “Rocks and Trees” about the landscape of Northern Ontario:

Rocks & trees, trees & rocks
Reams and reams of endless trees and tons of rocks
The whole north is just proliferous
With metamorphic and coniferous
Rocks & trees, trees & rocks

The most exciting vehicle I drove in one of my road trip excursions was a 1976 Dodge Dart sedan. It was the mid-1990s at the time – as you might imagine, there were several stops for repairs along the way.

Ever since Petro-Canada completed their EV fast charge network along the TransCanada, I’ve been thinking I’d like to try another big trip – but this time in an EV. While I still haven’t been able to get out, I recently spoke to someone who had. Earlier this year, Marianne Kunic, with her brother, Agan, and her dog, Gigi, in tow - drove from Sechelt, BC to St. Stephen, NB in her Kia Soul EV, affectionately named “Cricket” because of its bright green colour.

Marianne and Agan

PumpTalk: Thanks for chatting about your recent cross-country trip with me! How did it go?

Marianne: We had a great time. It was lovely getting to spend quality one-on-one time with my brother, Agan. Plus he helped me manage any anxiety I had about the trip, such as planning a good route or finding a charger.

PT: Is Cricket your first EV?

Marianne: It’s my second. I’ve owned an EV for seven years now – both of them have been Kia Souls. Travelling in an EV really sparked a lot of good conversations. Everywhere we stopped, people were interested in electric vehicles – wanting to know more about them. Even in places where they don’t have a lot of charging stations, people were curious. There is definitely some anxiety about getting an EV – specifically about running out of charge. But the cars are so smart – they warn you ahead of time. It was like being an ambassador for EVs.

Marianne and Agan

PT: How was your experience at Petro-Canada’s EV fast chargers?

Marianne: We really like the Petro-Canada machines. They are well-lit, state of the art, easy to use. We used a lot of different chargers on the trip; we charged the battery two or three times a day, depending on the distance we travelled. The Petro-Canada ones were definitely our favourite, but there were some kinks that still need to be worked out.

We ran into some Wi-Fi problems at one station in Saskatchewan. The Wi-Fi by the charger was quite poor. So I was in the restaurant, talking to customer support and would then have to relay those instructions out the door to my brother who was at the charger – it made it a bit difficult.

And there was another location where the charger was out of service and the site staff was unable to fix it. So we ended up using an external outlet at a local motel. Took us three hours just to get enough of a charge to limp to the next fast charger.

Editor’s note: we thank Marianne for sharing this information with us! We’ve gotten in touch with the locations she mentioned and are working on solving these issues.

Agan and Gigi

PT: A lot of people, like myself, are considering going cross-country in an EV. What tips or advice can you share?

Marianne: Having an app that helps you locate the chargers is essential. We used the Petro-Canada EV app as well as ChargeHub and FLO (mainly in NB).

Make sure you update your car’s GPS maps before you leave. If you’re in an area without a connection, you’ll still want to have the latest maps.

Plot your route ahead of time and make sure you factor in enough time for charging. In general, charging time took longer than we anticipated. Build in an hour for each time you need to charge.

Drive at or below the speed limit. You use more charge if you go above the speed limit. Staying under made us a bit slower, but it stretched out the distance we were able to go. Using cruise control really helped with this.

PT: Would you do it again?

Marianne: Yes, in a heartbeat!


Marianne, thank you so much for sharing your experience driving across Canada in an EV with us! It always helps to hear from trailblazers and get the best tips and advice. What do you think, readers? Are you ready to drive across Canada in an EV?

~Kate T.