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  • Get to know the artists behind our beaded logo – Part 1

    No one likes to be stereotyped. Historically, Indigenous people in Canada have put up with racist imagery that doesn’t represent their full cultural spectrum as unique and varied nations.

    Several years ago, in preparation for Indigenous History Month, we consulted with our Indigenous associates, and members of Indigenous communities, about the visual materials we wanted to use in honour of the occasion.  The images we had chosen were respectful but somewhat traditional, including various dancers at a pow-wow.

    An elder and board member of one of the Indigenous nations said, “We are more than feathers and leathers. There is more that represents us as a people.”

    We took that comment to heart and sought to listen, learn, and understand how we might better represent Indigenous culture and our respect for our Indigenous relationships. Through this, we discovered that art through the form of beadwork is an important, and beautiful, aspect of Indigenous culture. Different nations and tribes have unique colours and designs in their beadwork practice, but the traditional craft is one they all have in common.

    Petro-Canada Beaded Logo Artists

    With that idea in mind, we reached out to our Indigenous partners and got recommendations for Indigenous beadwork artists from associates, chiefs, and board members of Indigenous nations. We commissioned artists from several First Nations across Canada to design their own version of a beaded Petro-Canada logo. The idea was to choose one to digitize and share to acknowledge the history and experiences of Indigenous peoples as well as celebrate our relationships.

    After seeing all the artists’ designs, we wanted to share all of them – along with each of their stories – with Canadians. Here, we introduce four of the artists, along with their beaded logo designs.


    Didi Grandjambe

    Didi Grandjambe, a Cree beadwork artist residing in the Fort McKay First Nation

    When Didi created her version of the Petro-Canada logo, she knew what she wanted to do – though it did take her two tries. “When I imagined my design, I could immediately see it. I wanted to take a different way around the maple leaf. I did have to try it twice – I ended up taking the first one apart but got it the way I wanted the second time. Took me about three weeks of work to complete.”

    Didi is pleased to be part of Petro-Canada’s beaded logo initiative and hopes more companies will follow suit with projects that will start the process of educating others. “Reaching out to local people who do traditional crafts… it really brings awareness to our culture. It starts a process of people asking questions and wanting to learn more.”

    Read more about Didi, her beadwork background and her thoughts on the role that companies like Petro-Canada, a Suncor business, can play in Truth and Reconciliation


    Rosita Hirtle

    Rosita Hirtle, a beadwork artist of Dene descent from the Fort McKay First Nation

    Rosita’s designs are inspired both by her traditional culture as well as pop culture. “Dene beadwork is an inspiration. The different ways the flowers are drawn in our culture. Our different colours.” Rosita laughs, “but I’ve also made a phone grip of Yoda. I love the craft. I don’t even look at it as time. If I’m troubled or stressed, I just sit down and work on my beads. There’s an area at my kitchen table that is just for beading. No one sits in Mommy’s chair!”

    Rosita sees beadwork, like other visual arts, as a way to contribute to healing and reconciliation. “Art gives notice, it gives recognition to a cause. It starts conversations. It’s something that people can point to and say ‘have you seen this?’ Art helps bring things to the surface. We need to talk about things (like MMIWG or Every Child Matters) so they aren’t forgotten. Healing starts with conversations.”

    Read more about Rosita, her 40 years of beadwork experience and the importance of learning to her spirituality


    Janice Johnstone

    Janice Johnstone, a beadwork artist and member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation

    Even though Janice has been beading for over twenty years, she’s never done a dream catcher like this one before. “I make little ones for your car with pendant feathers. And I’ve done a big one before with fringes. But never one this big with a centrepiece. I used the biggest hoop ring I could find – it’s half webbing and half centrepiece. But the fringes were the hardest part.”

    For Janice, initiatives like Petro-Canada’s beaded logo project are an important contribution to Truth and Reconciliation. “Asking for participation from Indigenous artists and sharing Indigenous cultures helps. Putting a logo like this up, whether at sites across Canada or online, helps. It recognizes what Indigenous people have gone through. It’s an awesome idea and I’m honoured I was asked to participate.”

    Read more about Janice, her other beadwork projects and her connection to Residential Schools


    Shantel Nawash

    Shantel Nawash, a beadwork artist with Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and traditional Blackfoot heritage (Siksika Nation); member of the Saugeen First Nation

    When Shantel was asked to design a logo for Petro-Canada, she knew that she wanted it to be functional. Not something that was simply hung in the lobby but could be worn to events and seen by people. So, she chose a medallion. “Beadwork is so intricate, so time-consuming. There is authenticity in something that is made from your own two hands. It’s a very sacred thing. It’s a piece of me.”

    When she isn’t beading, Shantel is a full-time employee at Suncor for the past 11 years, currently an SCM Administrator/Analyst. She is also the Cultural Awareness Circle Lead on Journeys, Suncor’s employee inclusion group for Indigenous employees. When Shantel first got involved with Suncor and its support of Indigenous culture, it was surprising to her that more people didn’t know about Indigenous culture – from something as simple as bannock to more complex issues like the history of Residential schools in Canada. “It’s not that people don’t care. It’s that they don’t know. And how can you care about something that you don’t know? That’s why visibility is really important. All during the (National Indigenous History) month I’ll be wearing my ribbon skirt and my kokum scarf. The more visibility, the better!”

    Read more about Shantel, her process for beading and her perspective on generational trauma


    Many thanks to these artists for their contributions to this project and sharing their stories! We are honoured to share them with you. Look for an introduction to the next set of artists later this summer.

    Celebrating 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians During Pride

    "A waving flag... it celebrates our diverse community. Having it in the logo puts Petro-Canada alongside the community, standing together in solidarity and celebrating our diversity."

    When graphic designer Katie Wilhelm was asked to refresh Petro-Canada's Pride logo, she was tasked with visually representing Petro-Canada’s support for 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians. Petro-Canada recognizes that the 2SLGBTQ+ community is part of what makes Canada wonderful, and we want this logo to reflect that.

    Designer Katie Wilhelm and Petro-Canada's Pride Logo

    A big ask, but Katie was up for the challenge. Katie, who identifies as pansexual and is a member of the queer community, said in designing the logo, she felt the weight of representing the whole community. “I wanted to make the community proud, to make them proud of my pride. And I didn’t want to tokenize the community. As an Indigenous person, I am often asked to do Indigenous-themed design so I am conscious of how easy it is to create designs that are inauthentic.”

    As part of her process, Katie researched other corporate Pride logos and reactions from the community, wanting to avoid any pitfalls and accusations of rainbow-washing.

    “When companies use queer symbols to sell products – that’s when ethical alarm bells go off. It’s like they’re saying, ‘Come in now (during Pride month), but don't come in in July.’ And while using queer symbols can show respect for the community, we do need to ask, ‘Is this an appropriate representation of my community?’ We can choose to trust brands who provide genuine support, but we must hold them accountable.”

    The waving flag that Katie incorporated into the Petro-Canada Pride logo represents several of the ideas she hoped the design would communicate. It shows the celebration of a diverse community and the promotion of equal rights, and its movement symbolizes that we’re making progress together.

    The raised flag also represents an invitation to Katie. “Now that we've been invited, that the flag has been raised - it is up to us to pull our seat up the table. Petro-Canada is listening. I have seen that because they have listened to me (in designing the logo). And I will continue to hold them accountable.”

    Katie also believes that initiatives like Petro-Canada’s Pride logo are calls for allies to get more involved. “If you see something, say something. This is what allies need to do. If you see hate, you need to step in and say something. As allies, your voices have been heard more around the table. Earn the community’s trust by saying something. And continue to advocate for initiatives like this, initiatives that affect the community in a positive way. Sure, well-meaning straight white people may have started these initiatives, but as queer BIPOC people, we need to continue them.”

    At Petro-Canada, we know that community isn’t just the physical space you inhabit, it’s the people you connect with. We stand with, support and celebrate members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community across Canada who are our customers, neighbours and work in our stores. Keeping all Canadians at the heart of what we do and being here for each other no matter the journey is what living by the leaf is all about. Happy Pride, Canada!

    Katie Wilhelm is an award-winning designer and marketing consultant. She is member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation at Neyaashiinigmiing with Canadian settler heritage.

    Get Up in Your Grill (and Clean It!)

    When it comes to spring cleaning, I’m a little… lazy (there, I said it). I’m more likely to do the bare minimum than any sort of deep dive. I know the outdoor grill has been sitting there, unused, ALL WINTER, but do I really need to clean it before firing it back up again?  It’s all heat and flame, the dirt and bad stuff just burns away! And what doesn’t burn away only adds to the flavour! Right?

    If you are an outdoor cuisine aficionado, or a safety-conscious grown-up, you may be shaking your head sadly at me. That’s because you already know what I learned recently: a proper spring cleaning and inspection is essential for keeping safe, preserving taste, and protecting the life of your grill.

    Father and son grilling over an outdoor barbeque

    If you’re new to BBQing (or, like me, new to cleaning one), the best place to start is by consulting the care and maintenance section of your manufacturer’s manual for how to clean your particular model.

    Be warned: cleaning your grill can get messy. Try and set aside a dedicated time that’s not an hour before the backyard birthday party you’re hosting (when you’ve already changed into your good shorts). Get all the supplies on hand before you start. Laying down a drop cloth or tarp over your nice deck isn’t a bad idea either.

    Depending on your grill, you’ll need:

    • A scraper - preferably one of those solid wood ones designed especially for BBQ grates - metal bristle brushes can cause serious health issues!
    • A big bucket of warm and soapy water (dish soap), and some clean water for rinsing (or a nearby hose)
    • Something for washing down your grates, like a tough sponge or sturdy brush
    • Another scraping tool like a spatula (for the grill’s interior) and something to scoop out debris
    • A paperclip or small tool
    • Cleaning product for stainless steel
    • Some clean, dry rags or paper towel
    • A hand-held vacuum or hose attachment
    • Vegetable oil or shortening to season your grates

    The areas you want to cover in your cleaning are:

    Grates: Scrape any build-up off the tops with your scraping tool, and check the undersides for grease deposits. Lift them out and soak them in the bucket of soapy water then scrub them down. (If they are the porcelain-coated kind, don’t soak, just wash and dry). Rinse and wipe the grates down, and put them aside to dry completely. 

    While your grates are drying, you can move onto the:

    Burners (gas grills): Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for the removal and reattachment of the burners and heat tents. Scrape off any junk and debris and give them a once over to make sure no burner holes are clogged - you can use a paper clip or small tool to clear them. If your grill doesn’t have a spider guard (many older grills do not), you can clean the burners and burner tubes with a venturi pipe brush or wire.

    Interior: While your burners are removed, scrape down the sides and bottom of your grill, scoop out any debris, and wipe down the inside of the lid. Empty the ash catcher (charcoal grills) and your grill’s catch pans. Wash them out in soapy water and replace the aluminum foil if you’ve lined your catchers. A quick vacuum will clear out any spider webs or dried leaves in and around your grill and the connection to your propane tank.

    Once your grates are completely dry, rub them down with a little bit of vegetable oil or shortening and place them back in.

    Exterior: For stainless steel exteriors, use a dedicated stainless-steel cleaner and sponge to get the best, gleaming result. Use soapy water on the side surfaces, and anywhere else, and dry completely with clean rags.

    Inspect your fuel hose and connections for rot, kinks or leaks, and tighten any loose bolts in and around your grill. Check the ignition wires and batteries (if you have an electric ignition). Fire up your grill, one burner at a time, and make sure it’s all running smoothly (or light it up and let it burn for 10 minutes or so before putting any food on).

    Once your grill is clean and ready for action, be sure you’ve got enough fuel for the next long weekend! Stock up with an extra 16lb/8kg tank at your local Petro-Canada and avoid that mid-cookout panic when you run out of propane. You can easily exchange your empty tank for a full, certified propane tank, or buy a new one at one of our locations. And for folks who are Petro-Points members (and if you’re not, why not?), you can get 3x the Petro-Points when you exchange or purchase a propane tank at any participating Petro-Canada location – offer ends August 8, 2022.

    For further advice on grill safety and maintenance, including how to use soapy water to check your tubes and connections for leaks, check out these guidelines.

    Steaks? Corn on the cob? Hot dogs? Veggie kabobs? What are you most looking forward to throwing on your outdoor grill? Let us know in the comments section and have a great grilling season!

    ~  Paul D.