88 entries categorized "Great Links"

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.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.

First Nations-owned Petro-Canada Stations: A strong investment and source of pride

In a recent PumpTalk post, I mentioned how local Petro-Canada owners don't just operate a gas station, but are important contributors to their communities – among other things, they build playgrounds, inspire local immigrant women to become entrepreneurs and donate their time to charitable causes.

This community aspect of Petro-Canada stations is especially evident in sites that are First Nation owned and operated. The Ochapowace Nation recently opened a new Petro-Canada location in Pilot Butte, SK. It is the 30th First Nation owned and operated site in our network - something we are very proud of.

Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada

One of our long time First Nations sites is owned and operated by the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc (TteS) Band, in the Kamloops area of British Columbia. The Kamloops Indian Band Development Corporation (KIBDC) partnered with Suncor to convert an existing gas station to the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada in 2012. The Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada has been a very successful business, winning Kamloops Chamber of Commerce 2014 Aboriginal Business of the Year. 

I had an opportunity to discuss with Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, the Tk’emlups chief, how the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada fits into her band's economic and community plans.

Chief/Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir
Chief/Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir - Photo Courtesy of Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc

Q. What were the goals when you set out to open this station?
A. We knew that we wanted an investment that would maximize its return as well as provide a growth opportunity. We also wanted to provide employment opportunities for our membership. Partnering with a recognized fuel brand like Petro-Canada helped us build a strong relationship with TteS band members.

Q. How does the station fit into your economic development plan.
A. We want our business investments to generate revenue that we can re-invest into new business opportunities for our members. The Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada helps provide that revenue. Our economic plan also calls for opening businesses that meet tourism needs as well as creating employment opportunities for band members. The Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada fulfills these aspects of the plan. The TteS Petro-Canada, boasts astounding numbers during our PowWow Event, serving thousands on a daily basis.

Q. What has this station meant to the community?
A. Band members are proud to be employed in our businesses that have relationships with large corporations like Suncor and Petro-Canada. Plus, they are proud of the community ownership of a successful business that has won awards through the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce as well as the BC Achievement Foundation who named it Community-owned Business of the Year in 2016. Also, the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada gives our indigenous youth entry-level employment opportunities to help them succeed in moving along their career path.

Award Video about the Tk'emlups Petro Canada/Carwash courtesy of the BC Achievement Foundation

Q. Is there anything else that you would like us to know about your Nation and/or the business?
A. We are pleased that Petro-Canada respects our culture by creating initiatives for indigenous people. Whether it is through indigenous bursaries or contributions to a cultural park, we are happy with these programs that promote strong relationships between our membership, indigenous people and Petro-Canada. Regarding the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada in particular, all revenues are utilized for growth and for programs and services that are offered to TteS membership. We are very proud of the legacy it is creating.

Thank you, Kukpi7 Casimir, for taking the time to share the success of the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada and the positive impact it is having on the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc (TteS) Band!

- Rose R.