100 entries categorized "Great Links"

Long Weekend 101: Grills, Fills and Thrills

Have you been COUNTING THE DAYS until May Long/Victoria Day/May Two-Four? I sure have! And I am ready for it. Whether this weekend hails the opening of the cottage, the launching of the boat, the first grill-up on the patio or the first camping trip of the season, there is a bit of preparation to be done to make sure you, your family and friends can enjoy the weekend.

Long Weekend 101: Grills, Fills and Thrills

If your long weekend involves a road trip, here are a few resources to help you reach your destination safe and sound.

If you’re like me, you’re looking forward to firing up that grill. First though, I want to make sure it’s clean and safe. Also, free from spiders that may have made a home over the winter (eek!). Then, I check my propane tanks. Yep. Tanks. I have a backup. Embarrassing story… a few years ago, my in-laws were over for a BBQ and I had, in the hustle of getting the food prepped, forgotten to check how full the tank was. So right in the middle of cooking, I ran out of propane. Never again.

Triple Your Petro-Points when you exchange or purchase a new propane tank with us

This summer, if you need a new tank, a backup tank (!) or just a tank refill for the start of the season, head over to your nearest Petro-Canada. Until August 7th, you can exchange or purchase a new propane cylinder at Petro-Canada and receive 3x the Petro-PointsWhen you’re transporting, using or storing your propane cylinder, make sure you’re following the appropriate safety guidelines.

How are you spending the first long weekend of the season? Let us know in the comments!

EV 101: Let’s Talk Range Anxiety

Canada is a big country. Like, really big. We have over 1 million kilometres of public roads in Canada (1,042,718 km to be exact). So, it’s understandable that when EV drivers were asked what their biggest pre-purchase concerns were, “Not Enough Range” ranked the highest with 67% of EV drivers rating the concern as “serious” or “moderately” serious. Interestingly, that percentage drops substantially – to only 30% of EV drivers – once they purchased their EV and had hands-on experience.

EV 101: Let's Talk Range Anxiety

How can you alleviate “range anxiety” when driving an EV? We’ve compiled a few tips to help ease that anxiety and enjoy taking your EV on a road trip.

Know Your Vehicle

Depending on the make and model of your EV, including both battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), it will have a manufacturer rated range – telling you how far the manufacturer expects it to go on a single charge. BC Hydro has an infographic that includes both the battery and fuel range (in the case of PHEVs) of all the EV models available in BC. And in their recent “EV Road Trip Report”, they illustrate what that looks like on a map.

Plan Your Route

There are a lot of great apps that let you find the closest EV charger, including PlugShare and ChargeHub – apps that show not only the location of chargers, but also the cost of charging, capability of charging speed, current availability of the charger and reviews or notes from fellow EV drivers. And, of course, there is our own Petro-Canada EV App that shows the locations of Canada’s Electric Highway™. We’ve created a cross-Canada network of EV fast charge stations, with a charger located every 250 km or less from Halifax, NS to Victoria, BC along the Trans-Canada Highway.

If you want to get a broader look at the available public chargers in Canada, National Resources Canada maintains an Electric Charging and Alternative Fuelling Stations Locator. Electric Mobility Canada, a national membership-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of e-mobility, maintains a list of EV charging apps and maps.

Weather and Temperature Affect Your Range

Depending upon the season, different factors can affect your EV’s range.

In warmer months, park in the shade if possible. Doing what you can to keep your car cool even before you get on the road is a good thing. And go easy on the AC. Running the AC drains your battery, so try not to run it on Full Arctic Blast and use it only when you need it.

And in cooler months, blasting your heater and running your seat warmers can drain your battery. So maybe slip on a pair of long johns under your jeans when out and about.

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

There are some small but important changes to your regular driving habits that you can make that will extend the range of your battery. If you’ve been driving your combustion engine car in a fuel-efficient manner, you’ll likely recognize a number of these tips:

  • Lighten up your cargo. Carrying a bunch of extra stuff in your EV can drain the battery faster.
  • Drive at a consistent speed. Driving at high speeds with lots of acceleration and deceleration can really drain your battery. Try to keep your speed consistent.
  • Speaking of deceleration, take advantage of regenerative braking. Regenerative braking captures energy that is lost during braking and then uses that power to help recharge the battery. Most EV models let you manage regenerative braking on your dashboard screen.

For more tips for alleviating range anxiety when taking your EV on a road trip, check out this interview with Petro-Canada guest, Marianne Kunic, who drove her Kia Soul from Sechelt, BC to St. Stephen, NB.

What do you think? Are you ready to take your EV on a road trip? Let us know in the comments if we’ve helped alleviate your range anxiety!

Ensure that You and Your Family are Ready for an Emergency - Emergency Preparedness 101

When I was growing up, my father worked as a safety manager at a petrochemical plant in Alberta. Safety was his job, but also his passion, and so sitting around the kitchen table reviewing our family emergency plan was a yearly ritual: What do we do if the fire alarm goes off? How do we get out of each room of the house? Where do we meet up?

I always found it pretty exciting as a kid, and the importance of planning for the unexpected stuck with me. Also, once I’d moved away from home, I could expect my visiting father to look for the fire extinguishers and ask about my escape route within minutes of setting foot in any new place I was renting - and I’d better be ready with an answer!

Family creating an emergency plan
Family creating an emergency plan

These days, I’ve come to realize that “emergency preparedness” means more than it used to when I was growing up. Every year, the number of severe weather or dangerous environmental situations affecting Canadians seems to increase. The reality is that we could find ourselves encountering a crisis at any time of year, whether we're at home or on the road.

The general guidance from our government is that in the event that we’re cut off from power, supplies and assistance, we should be able to look after our own needs for at least 3 days. This allows strapped emergency crews to focus on the most vulnerable people first.

Despite my upbringing, I initially found the idea of preparing for these types of situations to be a little overwhelming. Putting together an emergency kit seemed like a great place to start. I found a good checklist online and assembled the following:

  • Water: a couple of larger containers and some smaller water bottles that are easier to carry
  • Food: cans, granola and energy/protein bars (small with lots of calories) - and an extra can opener just for the kit
  • This awesome hand-crank flashlight that my mom put in my Christmas stocking one year
  • A tiny little radio that runs on batteries (+ back up batteries)
  • First aid kit - I bought a small one that was pre-packed with all the essentials like bandages, wipes, and ointments
  • Some painkillers, and an extra doses of my allergy medications
  • A key ring with a set of extra house keys
  • An envelope with cash in smaller denominations
  • One of those little toothpastes I got from the dentist on my last check-up, and an extra toothbrush
  • A little bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Candles and matches
  • A photocopy of my passport and insurance info, sealed in a plastic bag
  • An extra charging cord for my mobile phone

I tucked my life-saving kit somewhere out of the way, but easy to grab. As a final check, I made sure my kit was not too heavy or cumbersome to carry should I need to throw it in the car, or travel somewhere by foot.

Packing all the items on the list got me thinking about emergencies in a less panicky and more proactive manner. Now that that was done, what about a plan for me and my loved ones? What happens if an emergency hits, and we’re not together? Where would we meet-up? How would we get word to each other, if communication systems were down? With the help of this online guide I was able to put together a plan that covers those scenarios, and review it with my partner and family.

Of course, my car is the final piece of my emergency prep package. I always make sure its maintenance is up to date and I keep the tank full. That way, in the case of a sudden evacuation order, I’m ready to go. I also keep an extra kit in the trunk packed with anything I might need if I were to be stranded on the road.

This year, I updated my emergency kits by purchasing ones put together by the experts at the Red Cross. The great thing about these is that they are compact, light and packed with all of the essentials mentioned above PLUS some useful extras: Mylar sleeping bags! Light sticks! Multi-purpose tools! I gotta say, these kits feel COMPLETE.

Contents of an emergency kit
Contents of an emergency kit

The world around us continues to be unpredictable, but I feel a little better about things, knowing that I’ve taken some steps to look after myself and my loved ones in the event of a crisis. If you haven’t already, I hope you will too. The first week of May is Emergency Preparedness Week #ReadyForAnything so the timing is just right to give your kits, plans and cars a once over, and make sure you’re ready for whatever surprises might come our way.

How do you stay prepared for the unexpected? What emergency kit items did I forget? Leave your tips and stories in the comments below!

(My Dad is going to be so proud when he reads this post.)

~ Paul D.

The Great Canadian Candy Basket

We’re coming up to the Easter long weekend, and depending on your faith and cultural practices, for many Canadians that means treats: hidden around the house, provided by loved ones, or dropped off by a very busy bunny. It’s a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and indulge in some sweetness. But did you know that certain candy bars and snacks are unique to our country, and our Canadian identity?

Basket of Canadian Candy and Snacks

A number of years ago, I was given the task of providing a basket of treats for my two American “nieces” who were visiting for the long weekend - the young daughters of my close college friends who had married and moved to the States shortly after graduation. I’m ashamed to say that I totally dropped the ball and was scrambling, the day of, to find a store that was open (Long weekend! Stat holidays!) and that had not been seriously picked over (if you’ve ever tried buying treats after Good Friday, you’ll know what I mean - all the “good stuff” is GONE).

During my desperate search, I stopped to get gas. I went in to pay and, glancing down at the row of candy bars at the counter, I had a stroke of genius: an idea that could turn me from a zero to a hero. Looking at the boxes of Smarties, I remembered my friends once remarking that they DIDN’T HAVE SMARTIES in the States. (They have a candy called “Smarties” apparently, but they are more like our sugary “Rockets”). As the friendly clerk scanned my card I wondered “What ELSE don’t they have?”.

I got on my phone and, after a quick google search, pulled up a list of Canada-exclusive candy. Scanning the list, I grabbed what I could that was in front of me, compiling an alarming array of goodies. Sure, there were no “bunnies” or “eggs” but there WAS delicious, exclusive Canadian content:

ONLY IN CANADA: Smarties, Eat More, Big Turk, Coffee Crisp, Maltesers, Caramilk, Wunderbar, Crispy Crunch, Mr. Big, Jersey Milk and MacIntosh’s Toffee.

And, not specifically exclusive to Canada, but NOT available in the States:

Wine Gums, Swedish Berries, Aero, Crunchie and Dairy Milk.

I topped it off with a bag of Hickory Sticks and Ketchup chips to complete the Canadian experience. The clerk looked at me with an expression that seemed to say hey, no judgement here, I don’t know your life, and said “I guess it's good to have snacks in the car. Just don’t keep them on your dashboard, or the chocolate will melt.”

After thanking her for her good wisdom, I headed to the hotel where my friends were staying. They seemed a little concerned when I presented the enormous stack of candy bars to their wide-eyed little girls but hey, it’s not my job to protect their kids from cavities. It IS my job to become their favourite Canadian “uncle”. Which I am.

The taste test that followed was a group event. The girls have a discerning palette, and had acute observations about our Canadian offerings:

Our chocolate is better, they decided. And it is! Canadian chocolate companies use a different recipe than Americans. The result is a smoother, sweeter, thicker coating. I confirmed for the girls that this has been well documented by the experts.

Big Turk (with its gelatinous Turkish Delight filling) is an acquired taste.

Coffee Crisp may be a national treasure, but it is for grown-up tastes. It was also decided that Dairy Milk’s Fruit and Nut is a chocolate bar… for dads.

Maltesers and CARAMILK beat their American cousins (Whoppers and Caramello) hands down for chocolate coating and quality of filling.

And, Wunderbar lives up to its reputation as the “greatest candy bar ever created,” as reported by the International Business Times.

So now you know. I hope you’ll go into this long weekend with these important lessons: If you are stuck for last-minute candy or snacks, your local Petro-Canada has got your back with a sweet and salty array of goodness. And don’t forget, it is possible to be patriotic whilst enjoying chocolate this weekend. #winning

What Canadian candy bar or snack keeps you fuelled up? Share your favourites in the comments below!

~ Paul D.

Cheering for our FACE™ Athletes at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games

If you’re like me, you may be going through a little bit of “Games withdrawal” since the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games ended. Good news! “The Games” ain’t over, folks. These past two weeks have only been a lull, before the action picks up again. From March 4 -13, the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games take place in Beijing, and Canada is sending 49 athletes from across the nation. With 5 sports competing, including wheelchair curling, Para ice hockey, Para alpine skiing, Para snowboard, and Para nordic skiing, these Paralympic Games are set to be the most exciting yet.

Lisa DeJong
Lisa DeJong, FACE Athlete (2021)

If you haven’t followed the Paralympic Games before, then this is the year to tune in. The Canadian team is stacked with accomplished competitors and fresh young talent. In the words of Josh Dueck, chef de mission for the Beijing 2022 Canadian Paralympic Team:“I know the performances and stories of these incredible athletes will elevate, motivate, and unite Canadians across the country, displaying the joy and resiliency of the human spirit and the power of sport to change lives.”

Now, I myself am no stranger to winter sport. In my youth, I was an exceptional downhill skier: exceptional in my eagerness, and my clumsiness. (I could never get the hang of that tow-rope, and was nicknamed “the wipe-out King” by my junior high ski club). HOWEVER, I loved the feel of the fresh winter air, and the thrill of a smooth and (though rare for me) graceful run. As an adult, witnessing the perseverance, dedication, courage and incredible skill of Paralympian winter athletes fills me with awe and admiration. These athletes are masters of their sport, and at the same time are pushing the boundaries of human achievement.

As you may remember from my previous PumpTalk about the Olympic Games, when it comes to cheering on Team Canada (from my couch) I can get a little worked up. I’ve been warming up for the Paralympic Winter Games by watching interviews from Petro-Canada’s Fuelling Great Athletes // Propulser de grands athlètes series, featuring Natalie Wilkie and her coach Robin McKeever (Para nordic skiing), Lyne-Marie Bilodeau and Coach Graham Nishikawa (Para nordic skiing), and Alexis Guimond and Coach Jean-Sébastien Labrie (Para alpine):

Both Natalie Wilkie and Lyne-Marie Bilodeau are past recipients of a Petro-Canada Fuelling Athlete and Coach Excellence (FACE™) grant. They will be joined in Beijing by 14 other FACE™ alumni including:

Mark Arendz
Mark Arendz, FACE Athlete (2008)

We’re proud to see so many past FACE™ grant recipients compete with the world’s best, and thrilled for their success thus far. For a peek at the next round of up-and-comers, check out the 2022 FACE™ announcement. These 55 athlete/coach pairs will receive $10,000 each to help them chase their dreams.

While you’re waiting for the excitement to begin, check out this interview with Catherine Gosselin-Després, the Executive Director of Sport for the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Catherine describes the substantial planning, organization and preparation that goes into ensuring that all the athletes’ accessibility and competition needs for the Games are met, including on-site equipment repairs, assisting devices and even prosthetics. It’s an impressive operation!

Go Team Canada! Over on our social media pages, we’re ready to help you root for our athletes. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to celebrate our FACE™ athletes’ successes, and cheer them on in the comments! Each time Team Canada wins a medal, we will be giving away three sets of our limited edition 2022 pins (one Olympic, one Paralympic and one Coaching Association of Canada pin, each featuring that adorable red panda!) on our Facebook page, so be sure to stay tuned.

Pin Giveaway

It’s easier than ever to access coverage of the Paralympic Games on CBC/Radio-Canada or CBC Gem online.  You can also follow the Canadian Paralympic Team’s Twitter account and Facebook Page for competition coverage.

Go get ‘em, team! You got this!

We’ll be rooting for each and every one of you.

-Paul D.