The journey continues

My dad was in the Canadian Air Force, so my family was always on the go. By the time I turned 18, we had moved from the Maritimes to Quebec, then Ontario and California, back to Nova Scotia and finally to Cold Lake, Alberta. As a kid, it was exciting and just part of growing up.

Kris Smith is Executive Vice-President, Refining and Marketing at Suncor, and Chair of the Canadian Fuels Association.

All our family travel was by car. In the early years it was in the blue Chevy Vega station wagon my parents owned. Even our vacations were usually car trips, often with a tent trailer in tow. The trip that really stands out was the first time we set up that trailer in the Rockies. The mountains were an eye-opener for a kid who’d spent most of his years in the East.

I realize now that all that those road trips gave me an early appreciation for the astonishing diversity of Canada. From the picturesque east-coast oceanfront to the culture of Quebec, the lakes and woods of Ontario, the expanse of the Prairies and the majesty of the mountains in Alberta and BC.

I was married and still living in Alberta when I was accepted at Dalhousie law school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For the next three years my wife and I drove from Alberta to Nova Scotia in the fall and then back each spring in our trusty old Nissan Sentra. We changed the route each time. Not in its entirety; just enough to keep it interesting and ensure we were able to see as much of Canada as we could.

A nation on the move

Those long road trips only deepened my appreciation for this country. I learned first hand the value of getting out and exploring. Meeting people. Taking in the geography. Experiencing the way one region slips seamlessly and peacefully into another—no borders, no divides. I also came to understand the vital role that roads play in keeping this country mobile and united; and by extension the vital role played by the fuels that enable that mobility.

As we prepare to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, we remain a nation on the move. Travelling, trading, learning, growing—culturally, socially and economically. The fuel that has made all this possible is also on the move. The gasoline I buy today would dramatically outperform the fuel that powered my dad’s Chev by any measure, in addition to having a smaller environmental footprint and integrating renewable fuel.

And the journey isn’t over. Petroleum fuels will continue to be a big part of the Canadian story and, like Canada, will also continue to evolve as they power a nation on the move.