89 entries categorized "Great Links"

It’s Auto Show Season in Canada!

If you're a car enthusiast, this is the most wonderful time of the year – auto show season! The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas just wrapped. As always, there were some pretty amazing and futuristic vehicles there; Driving.ca gives their take on the best concept cars and future auto technology of CES.

But don’t worry if you didn’t make it down to Sin City, there are a lot of great vehicles and automobile technology on display at Canada’s auto shows!

Car Show

Happening right now is the Montreal Auto Show at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal from January 17 to 26, 2020. It features the Electric Zone where consumers can learn about the latest in charging technology and inspect twenty different electric vehicles as well as the Expose ton Char where ten cars that have been modded by young Quebecers are featured.

Next up on the auto show circuit is the Canadian International AutoShow at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from February 14-23, 2020. Features at the AutoShow include EV Test Drives, a celebration of Canadian military vehicles and a tribute to McLaren racing.

Early March takes us to Calgary for the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show being held March 11th to 15th at the BMO Centre in Stampede Park. Details are still forthcoming about exhibitors and programs.

And finally, in late March, the Vancouver International Auto Show  at the Vancouver Convention Centre West rounds out our cross-Canada auto show tour. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the auto show in British Columbia and as such the show will kick off with a procession through Vancouver showcasing cars from each decade of the show. The parade will end at the Convention Centre and officially open the auto show on March 25.

Are you planning on attending any of these auto shows? Or are there more local ones that you prefer? Let us know in the comments!

~Rose R.


Driving in the Next Decade

Happy New Year, PumpTalk Readers! Welcome to 2020! And not just a new year, but also a new decade. In lieu of resolutions this year, we thought we’d take a look at what the predictions are for driving trends for the next 10 years. We’ve selected our favourite five…take a read and see what you think.

Connected Vehicles

Self-Driving Cars
A lot of hype has surrounded the promise of self-driving cars. But it turns out that Canadians are not quite ready to embrace it wholeheartedly. A 2018 survey by Ipsos found that Canadians are split on whether their view of a self-driving car is positive (55%) or negative (45%). If given the choice between a self-driving car or a manual car at an equal cost, a strong majority (69%) would prefer to continue using the vehicle they personally drive. However, if offered a self-driving car that costs less to own and maintain than a car today, only 44% would still prefer to continue using their personal vehicle.

McKinsey predicts that roughly 15% of automobiles sold in 2030 could be fully autonomous.  And if consumers aren’t ready for their own personal self-driving car, a promising area for self-driving cars is the ride share industry. In the taxi and ride-share industry up to 60% of costs can be labour-related. Autonomous vehicles could go a long way to reducing those.

Task-Specific Vehicles
Generally speaking, whether we’re headed alone to work or driving our whole family up to the cottage, we use the same vehicle. However, with the growing urbanization of the population, increasing home delivery from services like Skip the Dishes or Amazon Prime and a discouragement of private vehicle use in dense urban environments like Vancouver and Toronto, choosing a vehicle tailored to the trip seems like a good idea.

This is the idea behind Mercedes Vision Urbanetic. The Urbanetic has modules that transform it from a ride-sharing vehicle to a delivery vehicle in five minutes. Check out the video below.

Shared Vehicles
Another trend pointing away from private vehicle ownership is an increase in the use of shared vehicles through services like ZipCar or Communauto or ride-hailing services like Lyft or Kater. McKinsey predicts that up to one out of ten new cars sold in 2030 may likely be a shared vehicle, which could reduce sales of private-use vehicles. This would mean that more than 30% of miles driven in new cars sold could be from shared mobility.

In-Car Health Monitors
In 2017, there were more than 1,800 road fatalities in Canada. More than 90% of crashes were caused by human error.  Self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles could help reduce that number. But until that technology is reliable and legislation is passed, another way to potential reduce fatalities is through in-car health monitoring. In addition to incorporating biometric identification systems into vehicles, manufacturers are taking the next step and investigating ways to monitor a driver’s heart rate and fatigue level, using sensors in seat belts and steering systems, and then warning drivers though in-car alarms.

V2X Communications
In addition to monitoring the well-being of the driver, vehicles equipped with various V2X technologies can monitor the environment around them. “V2X” communications or “vehicle-to-everything” communications includes:

  • Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) exchanges of information, such as position and speed data;
  • Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications, such as vehicles notifying authorities of deteriorating roadway conditions and receiving traffic condition information; and
  • Vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communications, such as vehicles sensing pedestrian locations in relation to the vehicle and warning pedestrians to avoid collisions.

As infrastructure is upgraded and elements like road signs, road markings and camera networks allow for V2X communications, there is a potential for reduced traffic congestion and increased fuel efficiency as well as improvements to pedestrian safety.

And those are five of the trends we see affecting our driving habits over the next decade. What do you think driving will look like in 2030? We’d love to hear your thoughts – leave us a comment below!

~Rose R.


Stay Safe on the Spookiest Night of the Year

Do you have your Halloween costume all ready to go? This year I’ve considered going as a duck because it has been non-stop rain here in Vancouver. But wearing a beak all night does not delight me so I’ll probably end up with something simpler .. like a unicorn ninja.

Kids-in-halloween-costumes

Whatever costume you (or your kids) decide to wear, if you’re going out trick-or-treating, you’ll want to follow some general principles for safety:

  • Makeup is safer than wearing a mask.
  • Light colours are better than dark – think more Rey and less Kylo Ren.
  • Make sure your costume fits well and isn’t a tripping hazard.

Once you’ve got your costume ready to go, you’ll want to make sure you and your kids are safe when you head down the block. Or, if you’re the one staying home to pass out treats to local ghosts and goblins, you’ll want to be sure your property is safe. Check out our tips for staying safe on the street and for creating a safe trick-or-treating experience.

What costume are you wearing this year? Leave us your best ideas in the comments!

~ Rose R.


Safety Tips for Back To School Season

More folks on the road, more kids on the sidewalk, pumpkin-flavoured drinks on the menu – must be back to school time! As the days get shorter and the traffic gets busier, here’s a refresher on sharing the road and staying safe this time of year.

School Bus

Put down your phone. This applies to both drivers AND pedestrians. That’s right, I’m looking at you, kid who walked right into my dog this morning because he was too distracted by his phone to watch where he was going. Distracted driving due to phone use has become a major problem; and distracted walking has its own set of perils. Put your phone away when you’re driving or walking.

Turn down the tunes. Here’s another tip for both drivers and pedestrians; if you’re listening to music, in your car or on your headphones, keep it at a reasonable level so you can still hear ambient sounds.

Allow extra driving time for your commute. Traffic is generally more congested when school is back in session - even if you don't live near a school, your drive times may be affected. Try to leave a half hour earlier than you usually would, at least for the first few weeks of the fall - then you'll be able to take your time and keep an eye out for darting children without worrying that you'll be late for work.

Respect the speed limits. Obviously, speed limits are lower in school zones, but be vigilant when driving in residential areas as well. While the weather is still good, more kids will be walking, skateboarding or riding their bikes to school. Children on the sidewalk can be difficult to see behind cars parked on the street, so be sure to scan the ground for little feet getting ready to cross the road.

Obey the school bus rules. When the upper red lights are flashing, drivers travelling in either direction must stop until all of the children have exited the bus. Also, if you're behind a school bus, be sure and leave lots of room - they often make sudden stops.

Take it easy on new drivers. In high school areas, newly licensed drivers who've been practising all summer may be experiencing back to school traffic for the first time. Be patient and set a good example for those more inexperienced drivers - after all, you were just like them once.

Back to school time is a good time to educate your kids on pedestrian safety. Check out this article from Parachute Canada for more tips on how best to teach your kids to stay safe on the streets.

Do you notice a change in traffic patterns when school is back in session? What kind of adjustments do you make to your commute? Let us know in the comments. Hope you all have a safe and happy back-to-school season!

- Rose R.


Summer Festivals Across Canada: Celebrating Regional Diversity

I love a good festival. There’s just something about sharing a cool experience with 10,000 of your closest friends. When I lived in Toronto, I made sure to hit Taste of the Danforth close by my own neighbourhood, and I even ventured forth to Guelph, ON to attend the Hillside Festival. In Vancouver, two of my favourites are the Hot Chocolate Festival (admittedly not a summer festival) and Word on the Street at the central library downtown.

Festival Crowd

Across this great country are festivals for every interest, musical preference and taste bud. I’ve selected a few in each province and territory to highlight. Let’s start in my neck of the woods and head east.

British Columbia

  • Vancouver again hosts The Celebration of Light with Canada, Croatia and India having entries in the festival. July 27, July 31 and August 2, 2019.
  • The 40th Annual Kamloopa Powwow runs from August 2-4, 2019 on the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Powwow Grounds in Kamloops, BC. The Powwow is a spectacular expression of the Secwe̓pemc people’s heritage and is a vibrant display of storytelling, song, and dance in traditional regalia.
  • Nanaimo hosts the annual Great World Championship Bathtub Race on July 21, 2019 – part of the 2019 Marine Festival.

Yukon

  • The Yukon Culinary Festival in Whitehorse - August 1-4, 2019 – showcases the culture, local food and culinary expertise of Yukon Territory, including cooking lessons and a riverboat cruise where guests wear period costumes and sample canapés.
  • At the other end of the spectrum is the Great Klondike International Outhouse Race in Dawson City where, on September 1, 2019, where teams design and then tow a rickshaw-like porta potty over a 5 KM route.

Alberta

  • Step back in time at the Days of Yore celebration – August 3 and 4, 2019 – in Didsbury, AB. There are costumed battles, music, sing-alongs and big cannons!
  • If beets are more your style, enter the Borscht Cook Off competition that’s part of Babas & Borscht Ukranian Festival in Lamont, AB on August 24 and 25, 2019.

Night Sky

Northwest Territories

  • The Slave River Paddlefest is a 4-day celebration of water activities. Pool toy races, beach parties, canoe and kayak slalom races, technical paddling clinics and more are held from August 2 – 5, 2019 in Fort Smith, NT.
  • Experience the wonders of the universe at the Dark Sky Festival hosted by the Thebacha & Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society from August 22 – 25, 2019. Taking place in locations in both Fort Smith and Wood Buffalo National Park, activities include model rocket construction, basics of astrophotography, telescope selection and, of course, observatory tours and night sky viewing.

Nunavut

  • The Nunavut Arts Festival will be held in Iqaluit from August 20-25, 2019, featuring festival workshops, an art fair, industry presentations and artist studio time.
  • Okay, this one is for next year. Put the Toonik Tyme Festival on your calendars. It’s held in Iqaluit and is an annual celebration of Inuit traditions and return to spring. Past events at the festival have included: dog sled races, elder craft fair, traditional clothing fashion show, and a Palaugaq (bannock) Making Competition.

Food Truck

Saskatchewan

  • Foodtruck Wars Street Festival is held in Saskatoon from July 26-28, 2019. During the festival are several eating contests (Hotdogs! Pie!), street vendors, a pet photo booth and the highlight of the festival: the Foodtruck Wars Flavour Challenge, a taste testing competition with competing food vendors entering their favourite dessert, beverage, and entree items.
  • The Western Development Museum in Yorkton, SK hosts the 64th annual Threshermen's Show & Seniors' Festival on August 3 and 4, 2019. Events include: an antique tractor & car show, plowing demonstrations, clay oven bread baking, and the Parade of Power.

Sunflowers

Manitoba

  • The 2019 Manitoba Sunflower Festival held from July 26-28, 2019 in Altona, MB is a family friendly event that includes a petting zoo, quilt exhibit, a parade, an Old Tyme Dance and a pancake breakfast. Plus, presumably, lots of sunflowers.
  • Held from August 2-4, 2019 in Gimli, MB, the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, or Islendingadagurinn, promotes an interest in Icelandic culture and descent through events such as an Icelandic fashion show, Icelandic film screenings, a Viking battle, and the infamous Islendingadunk - a sport where two combatants sit on a soap-lubricated plastic pole suspended over the water in Gimli Harbour and try to bat each other into the water with a wet sack filled with sponge.

Ontario

  • Bradford, ON hosts Carrotfest August 16 and17, 2019 – a celebration of the region’s agricultural heritage and, in particular, the role the carrot has played. Carrotfest features street buskers, a vendor market, a classic car show, a demonstration by Ontario’s Aqua Dogs and a not-to-be-missed Flaming Carrot Finale to close out the festival.
  • Get your sculpt on at Cobourg ON’s Sandcastle Festival – Aug 4, 2019. Here you can watch master sculptors at work, take part in an amateur sandcastle competition, get sculpting lessons and then end the night with a fun family-friendly movie on the beach.

Hot Air Balloons

Quebec

  • The International Balloon Festival of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu runs from August 10-18, 2019 in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC. Multiple music stages, skateboarding lessons, an elevated obstacle course, a Kid Zone and, of course, hot air balloon rides are all part of the fun.
  • Quebec City hosts Le Festibière de Québec from August 15-18, 2019. In addition to sampling microbrews and ciders from across Quebec, there are also food trucks, seminars by industry experts and great music.

New Brunswick

  • Speaking of music, it's the 62nd Anniversary of the Miramichi Folksong Festival from August 4–9, 2019 in Miramichi, NB. It’s a week of non-stop music, including a gospel concert, kids show, daily music luncheons and a Folksong Feast and Fun cruise.
  • I can’t believe I am still writing this post after I discovered Chocolate Fest held in St. Stephen, NB from August 4-8, 2019. Five days of chocolate: Chocolate Jamboree (what?!), Create Your Own Chocolates workshops, Peppermint Patty Bingo and chocolate lover’s cocktail hour. So much yes.

Nova Scotia

  • If a sweet tooth isn’t your vice, the Avondale Garlic Fest in Newport Landing, NS may be more your preference. Held on September 21, 2019, the garlic fest boasts garlic roasting demos, seminars on growing and curing garlic, a garlic eating contest and live music all day.
  • Ahoy, mateys! You’ll want to check out Pirate Days in St. Stephens from Sept 12–15, 2019 in St. Stephens, Cape Breton, NS. A sea skirmish, pet parade, Best-Dressed Pirate Contest, and cardboard boat races are some of the many events.

Potato Flowers

Prince Edward Island

  • The PEI Potato Blossom Festival in O'Leary, PEI just wrapped up for 2019 (July 15-21), so put this one down for next year. Celebrating the importance of the potato to the Island, events include a national potato peeling contest, car show, a parade, a pancake breakfast and the crowning of Miss PEI Potato Blossom.
  • The 2019 PEI International Shellfish Festival takes place in Charlottetown, PEI on September 19-22, 2019. “Best Caesar in Town” and “Shiny Shell Oyster Shucking Championship” are two of several food-themed competitions and demonstrations that run alongside an excellent music lineup.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Roots, Rants and Roars, a celebration of Newfoundland's food, culture, land, and sea is held in Elliston, NL on September 20-21, 2019. The two day celebrations has events like “Cod Wars”, “The Hike” and “The Feast” – events promising great food, music and activities.
  • Bakeapple berries (or “cloud berries”) are celebrated at the annual Bakeapple Folk Festival in Forteau, Labrador from August 8-11, 2019. Events include a schoolhouse concert, square dancing, a bakeapple breakfast and lots of great music.

Wow, don’t those all sound fantastic? I wish I could attend them all! What do you think? Add any to your bucket list? Or did I miss your must-attend summer event? Drop a line in the comments and share your favourite Canadian festival.

- Rose R.