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Talking with tourists: B.C. couple and dog conquer cross-Canada drive in fully electric car

Piper, Barb Heatherington and Buddy Boyd were reluctant to leave Newfoundland after driving all the way from British Columbia for a visit.
Piper, Barb Heatherington and Buddy Boyd were reluctant to leave Newfoundland after driving all the way from British Columbia for a visit.

PORT AUX BASQUES, NL – They’re a long way from home but Buddy Boyd, Barb Heatherington and dog Piper don’t seem to mind.

The couple and their furry friend hail from Gibsons, B.C., where they own and operate a recycling depot.

Gibsons was the setting for "The Beachcombers," the popular CBC television show of the 1970s and '80s, and in 2009 was voted as the Most Liveable City in the World (population under 20,000) by the International Livecom Award organization.

Piper is both friendly and stylish in her doggles.

The couple left Victoria on Canada Day, heading East to Quidi Vidi. On July 22 they dipped the back tires of their 100 per cent electric car into the Atlantic, having accomplished their goal.

“This is the first Chevrolet Bolt all electric, first time across Canada. Ever,” Boyd told The Gulf News during a stop at Port aux Basques. “And the last charging station in Newfoundland is at the St. Christopher’s Hotel.”

That even smaller communities like Port aux Basques have upgraded facilities to accommodate electric vehicles and environmentally-conscientious tourists is part of what made this trip both attractive and possible, the couple said.

“We belong to the not-for-profit group Zero Waste Canada,” explained Boyd. “We wanted to show that we could travel across Canada in electric vehicles because it has extended range.”

The electric Bolt was able to find charging stations at various points in Newfoundland, including at St. Christopher’s Hotel in Port aux Basques.

The couple took two months hiatus from work in order to make the drive and Boyd praised smaller communities for their forward-thinking initiatives to draw tourists. Both he and Heatherington actively sought to avoid larger urban centers for the trip, preferring to explore the more rural and scenic areas along the way.

“It’s because some towns have progressive administrators, public servants and/or businesses,” said Boyd, who claims he almost kissed the general manager of St. Christopher’s Hotel once he was told the hotel had a charging station.

The couple spent their last evening in Newfoundland strolling in Scott’s Cove Park and listening to some local music, before heading, reluctantly, to the ferry the next morning for the journey back to BC.

 “Oh man I don’t want to leave,” said Boyd.

“It’s so beautiful,” agreed Heatherington, who has enjoyed meeting so many Newfoundlanders. “The friendliest, kindest people.”

Rosalyn.roy@gulfnews.ca

Twitter: @tygerlylly

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