31 entries categorized "Shared Values"

Creating Space for Truth and Reconciliation through Art - Meet Jessey Pacho

In September, for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we introduced you to Keegan Starlight who created the first of six murals that Petro-Canada has commissioned across Canada by Indigenous artists. We’re delighted that the second mural in the series, titled ‘Our Children’ has been completed - located at our 117 Jarvis Street in Toronto. The mural was created by Jessey Pacho, aka Phade – a Black artist in Toronto, and his co-artist Indigenous artist (who has chosen to remain anonymous out of respect for their family). Jessey shared with us his and his co-artist’s approach to art and their vision for “Our Children”.

Jessey Pacho (aka Phade)
Jessey Pacho (aka Phade)

PumpTalk: Why is art an important form of storytelling?

Jessey Pacho: Art helps keep stories alive. Stories that have, in large part, been ignored or kept hidden from Canadian society. I partnered with an Indigenous artist on this project and it's important that we're able to have this mural exist in such a public and prominent place because it shows the world that these peoples, who have practically been erased from this country, are still here and are still a strong and valuable presence. It drives the conversation forward. Art is a very powerful tool in terms of storytelling.

PT: Jessey, what inspires your art?

JP: I started in an art form that is very niche and has many negative connotations associated with it. Now, being able to do my art in public spaces, and being more accepted by society at large in a medium that is still somewhat considered illegal, really inspires me.

Also, we as Black and Indigenous people are using our art to speak on issues that are important to us. So the opportunity to create in public space is what inspires the drive to create. In terms of the art itself, I enjoy playing with color and creating images that people, when they walk by, would just be mind-boggled and wonder “How did the artist create that?!”

PT: What is the story you're portraying in the mural?

JP: On this project I partnered with an indigenous artist who is also a second-generation residential school survivor – they have family that was directly impacted by the residential school system. This mural talks specifically about the moment that we're experiencing as a country in relation to residential schools and the discoveries of Indigenous children that attended these institutions.

In terms of imagery, there's a sunrise above a landmass – nowhere specifically but a representation of one of the many unceded territories in Canada. We chose this imagery so that when people walk by they see something that's bright and colourful, but then realize there's a deeper layer of conversation.

Some of the characters in the mural and the dress they're wearing are based on Haudenosaunee culture. Also, one of the characters is an Afro-Indigenous person; Afro-Indigenous people have existed all over the world for a very long time but they are largely ignored and not part of the conversation. By putting an Afro-Indigenous person on this wall, we pay homage to their existence in this country as well.

The lettering at the centre of our mural reads "Our Children" and is written in Cayuga. There's only 60 fluent speakers of the Cayuga language left in the world and that is a direct correlation to the residential schools existing. It's important to us to feature authentic aspects of Indigenous culture on this wall because it's not something that we're seeing a lot of in the public realm. These are important aspects of the history of this country that need to be brought to the forefront.

'Our Children' by Jessey Pacho (aka Phade) and an unnamed Indigenous co-producer
“Our Children" by Jessey Pacho (aka Phade) and an unnamed Indigenous co-producer

PT: What does reconciliation mean to you?

JP: Reconciliation is about taking action to do better for our Indigenous population. Every Canadian who benefits from this land has a responsibility to our Indigenous population. They are the original people of this country that we call home. As a nation it's important to acknowledge the experiences of Indigenous Peoples and ensure that we're doing the most we can to reduce the harm that Indigenous Peoples are experiencing due to our Canadian way of life. To create spaces in which Indigenous folks can feel welcome and safe.

PT: As an organization, Suncor (the proud parent company of Petro-Canada) is on a journey of reconciliation. How can art contribute to healing and reconciliation? And what else can businesses like Petro-Canada do to support healing and reconciliation across Canada?

JP: Art keeps these stories alive and keeps the experiences of the people affected by these atrocities at the forefront of conversation. It also creates opportunities. Petro-Canada is creating an opportunity for a Black artist and an Indigenous artist to share their stories in a prominent public space.

Partnering with Petro-Canada in this way shows others within the industry that there's an appropriate way of working with Indigenous communities. Businesses like Petro-Canada can take further actions that support healing and reconciliation by knowing where their investments go and ensure they aren't being funneled into projects that negatively affect Indigenous folks living on unceded territories.

You can hear more from Jessey in the following video.

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A big thank you to Jessey and his Indigenous co-artist for creating this mural and sharing their vision for reconciliation; for more art, you can check out Jessey’s Instagram!

Over the next few months we’ll be introducing our other mural artists and revealing their creations. Stay tuned to our Instagram for sneak peeks of their work.

~Kate T.


Honouring Remembrance Day with Yvette Yong - FACE Athlete, Olympian and Naval Reservist

Each Remembrance Day, we share stories on PumpTalk from the Petro-Canada family that honour those who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces and highlight the positive impact that their service has had. This year, I was delighted to speak with Sailor 2nd Class Yvette Yong. Yvette joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 2010 as a reservist. She currently holds the role of Naval Communicator at HMCS York in Toronto.

Yvette is also a world-class taekwondo athlete. She’s won numerous medals at international competitions including the Military World Games, the Military World Championships, the Commonwealth Championships, the World Championships, and the Pan American Championships; she is currently ranked #1 in the world in her weight class. Earlier this year, Yvette competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Finally, Yvette is a Petro-Canada Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence (FACE ™) grant recipient (2007).

Yvette competing in Taekwondo in the CISM Military World Games
Yvette competing in Taekwondo in the CISM Military World Games

PumpTalk: Thank you for sharing your experiences with our readers! To start, can you tell me a bit about your military background?

Yvette: My military career actually started through my taekwondo career. I’ve been competing in taekwondo since I was 9 years old – so over twenty years. The military has a national taekwondo team. At a match in 2010, someone from the military saw me compete and spoke to my mom about opportunities, including sport, through the military. We learned that joining the military isn’t really about going to war. It's about giving back to Canada, not about being on the front lines.

I thought the Navy would be a good match - largely because I grew up and went to university in Vancouver. And I really wanted to give back to a country that welcomed my parents as immigrants.

Sailor 2nd Class, Yvette Yong
Sailor 2nd Class, Yvette Yong

Once I joined, I took an aptitude test to see what I’d be good at. That turned out to be naval communications.

Naval communications manages the external voice – getting the tactical information and support to our different operations. You get to see everything that happening, all information coming in and out.

PT: What has been one of the best or most surprising moments about your military career?

Yvette: The best moment is actually a combination of sports and military. In 2018, the International Military Sports Council (CISM) named me the International Military Female Athlete of the Year. It was the first time that a Canadian military member had been chosen as a CISM athlete of the year. I was really honoured and proud to be chosen; this award recognizes fair play, personal empathy and discipline. It really brought my two worlds of sport and military together.

CISM’s motto is “Friendship through Sport” and when you compete at CISM events, you really can forget everything that is going on in the world. Friendship through sport is what I truly believe in. I feel like I can be a role model through being a member of the forces as well as being an athlete.

Yvette receiving a medal at the CISM Military World Games
Yvette receiving a medal at the CISM Military World Games

PT: How has being in the military influenced your competition style or routine?

Yvette: My job in the navy, being in the communications control room, requires me to be alert at all times. I have to be able to make decisions on the spot and with urgency. I need to be able to communicate clearly under pressure. This is similar to a taekwondo match – to think on your feet and react right away. The military really taught me those skills.

PT: Do you have a particular routine on Remembrance Day?

Yvette: On Remembrance Day we have a formal parade – usually at City Hall – and we have a moment of silence to honour the soldiers who fought for our country, for the soldiers who are serving now, and for all the people who provide our freedom, our safety and our peace of mind.

PT: What do you think is important for Canadians to know about serving in the military or about the Canadian Armed Forces?

Yvette: Being in the military isn’t necessarily about going to war. We are trained to do so many things – to be ready and provide humanitarian support wherever we’re needed. Firefighting. Flood control. Refuge support. A couple of years ago, I was on a search and rescue mission off the coast of Vancouver Island near where a lot of forest fires were happening. We cruised up and down the coast, listening to calls and being ready to evacuate or help in any way we could. Being in the Canadian Armed Forces is about so much more than being on the front line. You have an opportunity to learn and to use your skills to serve your country in so many different ways.

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Thank you so much, Yvette, for sharing your story about your military and taekwondo careers to date. We look forward to hearing about your continued success.

If you’d like to follow Yvette’s competitions, you can check out her Instagram and her Facebook page.

~ Kate T.


Join Us in Committing to 19 Hours of Care – Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation

This is a special edition of PumpTalk – brought to you by the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation. Today’s post is written by Ulrike Thomas, Senior Advisor Petro-Canada Community Involvement.

Every week more than 8 million Canadians spend an average of 19 unpaid hours as a family caregiver – someone who cares for a family member, close friend or neighbour on top of their regular commitments.

With this in mind, the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation is launching an opportunity for you to get involved not only in supporting family caregivers but in learning first-hand what it’s like to provide 19 hours of care.

From October 19 – November 19, we’re holding the first annual Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation 19-Hour Care Commitment and invite you to join us in raising awareness and funds for family caregivers across Canada.

sign up for the 19 Hour Care Commitment

You can work alone or as part of a team to provide 19 hours of support directly to a family caregiver while collecting pledges from your networks. Some ideas for supporting family caregivers:

  • Call them to check in and see how they are doing. The power of knowing someone is thinking of you cannot be underestimated.
  • Meet them for coffee so that they get some time away.
  • Spend an hour researching local services for a caregiver’s loved one.
  • Offer to pick up their groceries.
  • Take their dog for a walk or mow their lawn.
  • Cook a double batch of dinner or bake an extra dozen cookies and drop it off.

Don’t know a family caregiver directly? You can support the cause by making a donation on our event page.

Once you sign up for the 19 Hour Care Commitment, you’ll gain access to a virtual toolkit that includes even more details about family caregivers, pre-written communications and fundraising resources. We encourage you to share your journey on social media using the hashtag #19HoursOfCare. You can follow us on our social channels and watch for details on special contests and prizes:

All monies raised through this campaign go directly to providing support and resources to family caregivers. The Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation provides grants to charitable organizations across the country that support this important group.

One of my favourite quotes about family caregivers comes from Rosalyn Carter…

"There are only four kinds of people in the world - those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers."

I hope you join us in our 19 Hour Care Commitment to raise awareness and funds for this important cause.


Frew Energy Shares the Abundance and Gets Farmers Much Needed Hay

I’m quite lucky in my choice of profession – writing is a job I can do almost anywhere and it certainly isn’t weather dependent. This summer, when a “heat dome” covered Vancouver in record-high temps for a week or so, I did wonder if I could take my laptop into a walk-in-cooler and still get some work done. But my week of trying to stay cool is nothing compared to what Canada’s farmers are going through. It’s been a tough year for many farmers across Canada. Not only did they contend with record-breaking heat waves but summer droughts and extreme wildfires have left a number of farmers continuing to struggle with feed shortages for their livestock.

Most of us aren’t in a position to directly help farmers - though buying local produce and meat is a good start! However, Mark Frew, President of Frew Energy (a long-time partner of Petro-Canada) found himself in such a position earlier this year. He heard that one of his customers, Titan Trailers – an Ontario company that manufacturers high-end 53’ rolling floor trailers – offered to transport donated hay to beleaguered farmers when they shipped their trailers out West.

A truck from Frew Farms with a Titan Trailer attached
A truck from Frew Farms with a Titan Trailer attached

The folks at Titan had their shipments taken care of, but they identified a need in Rainy River, Ontario – a town located on the Ontario/Minnesota border, just 250 KM from Winnipeg. None of Titan’s trailers were schedule to stop in that area but, after facing the impacts of wildfires and drought, the farmers in Rainy River needed hay. Upon hearing that, Mark rolled into action.

I was able to catch up with Mark and talk with him about what happened next.

PT: So, you heard about the need in Rainy River?

Mark: Yes. And I knew it was just a matter of pulling together the right team to get their farmers some help. Jerry, the manager of Frew Farms, secured a donation of a full load of hay. Frew Farms supplied the truck. Titan was able to loan us a trailer. And Frew Energy supplied the fuel for the trip.

Loading up the hay for the trip to Rainy River
Loading up the hay for the trip to Rainy River

PT: Sounds like a real family affair.

Mark: It definitely was. Plus, everyone on the farm has their license to drive a truck – so my brother Jack and my nephew Aiden actually drove the load of hay up to Rainy River.

Mark’s nephew, Aiden
Mark’s nephew, Aiden

PT: Why Rainy River?

Mark: Mike Kloepfer over at Titan identified that area for us. We’ve been really fortunate in our part of Ontario with the weather this year. It’s the opposite over in Rainy River. Lots of droughts and fires. It was an opportune time – to share our region’s abundance with those who didn’t have it this year.

PT: What inspired you to take action?

Mark: I grew up on a family farm with my three siblings. When you’re born and raised on a farm, there is always a part of you that is looking out for other farmers. Farming is in your blood. You never forget the values you learn on the farm.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Mark! And kudos to you and the extended team at Frew Energy for supporting farmers and sharing the abundance in a year when not everyone was as fortunate – a great example of what it means to #LiveByTheLeaf.

~Kate T.


Being Thankful for Members of Our Community

In Canada, early October can be a time of reflection and gratitude. One of my favourite rituals at this time of year is sitting around a big table of family and friends, and reminiscing - and in particular, noting what we are each thankful for.

Giving thanks...

Looking back over 2021, something that stands out for me are the stories that members of the Petro-Canada and Suncor community shared with us and allowed us to share with PumpTalk readers. I am grateful for the generosity of these folks and proud to be a member of this community. Here are some of my favourites:

Many, many thanks to this inspiring group of people for sharing their stories and for making the world a better place.

~Kate T.