Guys! It is the first Long Weekend of Summer!! WOOHOO! Are you ready? Maybe you’re opening the cottage? Or taking in one of the many festivals held across the country? But before you fire up that BBQ, have you ever thought about what you call this holiday?
Growing up in Edmonton, I call it “Victoria Day” - that's what most of my friends and teachers called it in my youth. But my parents, who grew up in Ontario, call it “May Two-Four”. And then I heard my Calgary cousins call it “May Long”. What??
Luckily, CBC has gotten to the bottom of it. They conducted an online survey and took to social media to solicit region-specific names for the May long weekend. Firecracker Day? May Run? Hiking Day? (Hiking Day? C'mon Nova Scotia, you're taking the fun out of it).
Recently, I was trying to figure out this weird thing that was happening on my iPhone (embarrassing confession - my Bitmojis were showing up smaller than all my friends Bitmojis and they were mocking me). So, I turned to the Internet - not only a beautiful time waster, but also a source of surprisingly useful knowledge. After a quick search, I found a very helpful explainer video telling me how to fix my Bitmoji problem. I love a good explainer video.
That's why I was so happy when I saw this video from Canadian Geographic Education and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) called "Moving Energy". It is part of the Energy IQ series, a Canadian online energy literacy program that aims to increase knowledge of Canada’s energy mix.
"Moving Energy" presents an overview of how different types of energy (including electricity, natural gas and oil) are moved across Canada and delivered to where we all need it to be. I was particularly struck by the illustration of the electrical grid as well as the pipeline system in Canada. We are a big nation and have to move a lot of energy some very serious distances!
Other explainer videos in the series include "Managing Climate Change and Global Energy Demand" and "Trading Energy – The Canada-US Story". Energy IQ also hosts a quiz about personal energy use that allows you see how you compare with others across Canada and in your home province. As someone who is trying to reduce her personal and household's energy usage, I find that the info on Energy IQ gives me some insight into how I use energy in my daily routine and where I have some opportunities for improvement.
Disclosure: Suncor, proud owner of Petro-Canada, is a member of CAPP.
The other day I chatted with my dog walker, Karly, when she dropped off my very spoiled Sharpei, Effie Trinket. After filling me in on Effie’s ongoing dog park feud with a golden doodle, Karly commented that she might be temporarily raising her rates this summer because the price of gas has gone up quite significantly in Vancouver recently. You wouldn’t think a dog walker uses a lot of fuel, but each day Karly picks up several dogs all over the city and takes them to the dog park.
Now, we’re used to having some pretty high prices in Vancouver because of all the taxes that are added on to the price of fuel. But those taxes are pretty constant so the fluctuations are likely due to other factors.
In classic Dickensian form, Vancouver is a tale of two cities in the spring. One Vancouver is beautiful, full of streets lined with different species of cherry trees, bursting into bloom. The other Vancouver (like a lot of Canadian cities in the spring) is Gotham-gone-wrong, full of streets dotted with pot holes. I encountered both Vancouvers on my way home from the dog park on Sunday - so enchanted with the first round of cherry blossoms that I bounced into a pot hole.
No damage to the car (thankfully), but I thought I should do my civic duty. So I pulled over, got out of the car, whipped out my phone and opened the VanConnect app. Vancouver, like a lot of cities across Canada, has a municipal app where citizens can request services or report issues.
Not too sound too much like a geek (or a neighbourhood busy body), but I love the VanConnect app. I've used it to report a burned out street light on our block, request that some low-hanging branches be removed from trees on our boulevard and renewed our dog's license. All from the comfort of my phone. And now I can report this pot hole.
When reporting, the app first geo-locates me. I can then attach a photo, a description of the pot hole and fill in specifics of its size and depth. Takes 2 minutes. The app also has a stream of recent requests you can check out too see what else is being reported around the city. Now that I've reported it, the City will also send me updates. And the timing on those vary. The street light bulb was replaced within a week; the tree branches took a month.
I browsed the iOS app store and found several for cities and towns across Canada; a couple that stood out: Montréal's Resident Services App and Kitchener, ON's app that is built on the Pingstreet platform (a popular municipal app platform for smaller cities in Canada). These apps are such handy way to report issues, but also to stay informed about what is happening where you live. Are you using a municipal app to report pot holes or other municipal issues?
I can’t believe it’s December already - the time of year where I break out in hives, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone. I have a couple of car enthusiasts on my list and, while casting around for some cool gifts for them, I decided to put together a list of my personal top ten gift ideas for people who like to spend a lot of time behind the wheel.
Car gear is always a good choice – these first four gift ideas fall into that category:
1. Spar.saa Inverted Umbrella OK, maybe this is just because I live in Vancouver where it is always raining, but I think this is a great idea – the inverted umbrella. It lets you get in your car and fold up the umbrella with a minimum of getting wet. I would absolutely appreciate this as a gift! Check out this video.
3. Car Aromatherapy Diffuser Road rage affects all of us. So can a stinky dog. If your gift recipient’s car (or mood) needs a little freshening, go one step better than a pine tree deodorizer and get them a car aromatherapy diffuser. Some diffusers plug into the cigarette lighter and others just snap onto your vent. Choose a scent they like – something calming, energizing, spicy or floral. Or, if they want to go old school, there’s always the trusty pine scent. Refreshingly retro!
4. Car Emergency Kit A few years ago, I gave my immediate family members an earthquake safety kit. It was just a starter one, but it helped them all get on the path to preparing a bigger one for their households. Emergency kits aren’t as sexy as a LEGO Bugatti, but they are useful and potentially life saving.
If you’re not comfortable buying something for your car-lover’s beloved ride, you can always choose a gift that will help them show off their love for their car instead. Like:
5. Automotive-Themed Jewelry Help your gearhead accessorize their look with automotive-themed jewelry! A crankshaft necklace, piston and rod earrings or a pair of wheel rim cufflinks may be just the blingy ticket this holiday season. I'm particularly partial to items made from "fordite" - a simulated gemstone made from built up layers of enamel paint from the paint bays at old car factories in Detroit.
Sometimes your favourite car enthusiast can’t take their summer-only car out for a spin. That’s when you need to get them something they can enjoy at home.
6. Car Video Games Occasionally it can be fun to race through Prague from the comfort of your own living room. For the virtual car lover who has an Xbox, check out Forza Motorsport 7. It features over 700 cars – something to keep your gift recipient busy during the winter months. If a Playstation is the platform of choice, try Gran Turismo Sport on for size. It features 18 in-game locations and 54 different layouts – from racing circuits to dirt tracks.
But what if your car enthusiast has everything? What kind of gift do you get them then?
8. Unique Driving Experience Instead of giving a thing, give an experience. There are so many great options for unique driving experiences. Most performance car brands, like Jaguar or Porsche, offer training or track outings – perfect for someone who is loyal to a particular make or model. If your car lover likes to “play the field” as it were, there are several companies that will arrange tours along scenic routes and let drivers change between multiple exotic supercars. Finally, if the car doesn’t matter as much as the environment, perhaps ice circuit training on a frozen skid pond would make the perfect gift.
These are all great, right? But what if it is Christmas Eve and you are on the way to your in-laws and you forgot to get Cousin Joe a present? We’ve got you covered with two perfect last minute gifts. Spoiler alert – you can get both of these last minute gifts at our stations.
9. A Wash & Go Card I actually received one of these last year in the office Secret Santa exchange. I was surprised at how excited I was to get it (even more than the box of Quality Street). I don’t actually wash my car all that often. I find it a bit of a hassle to go in to the station, buy a ticket, get back in my car and then type a code at the entrance! But with the Petro-Canada Wash & Go Card – you just tap it at the entrance and get sudsy. Plus, when I reload online, I get a bonus wash (2 bonus washes if I reload before January 7, 2019). Nice!
10. A Petro-Canada Gift Card First of all, who doesn’t love getting a gift card? I ask for an iTunes gift card every year for my birthday. Every year. It’s the perfect gift. So, for the car lover on your list, a Petro-Canada Gift Card is a great option! They can get a fuel-up or some snacks or a lottery ticket – so many options!
And there we have it! 10 great gift ideas for the car lover on your list! Did we miss one of your great gift ideas? If so, share it in the comments!