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Real City Matters

Join us Tuesday night for a discussion about municipal ethics in Toronto

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Vintage Toronto Ads: Feeding BP to the Lions

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Source: Don Mills Mirror, October 28, 1970.

We imagine that if BP stations still existed in Toronto and offered a circus-themed promotional event, the public would want to see a few executives served as a tasty snack for the lions in the wake of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Forget giving the kids sugar-laden food—give them a real adrenalin rush and a lesson in corporate responsibility! We also hope that the prizes in the treasure chest were nice toys and free fill-ups that weren’t soaked in crude.
British Petroleum entered the Canadian market in 1957 and acquired one thousand service stations in Ontario and Quebec within four years. Problems of limited refinery resources were solved when BP acquired the Canadian arm of Cities Service (now Citgo) in 1964 and its 25,000 barrel a day processing facility in Bronte. Within a year of today’s ad, BP picked up “Canada’s All-Canadian Company” Supertest, whose stations gradually lost their patriotic fervour as they switched to the green shield. BP stations were a staple on Canadian roadways until 1982 when Petro-Canada purchased its retail and refining operations, including the station that still pumps away at Don Mills and Lawrence. BP retained some properties and built up its current presence in Canada through subsequent acquisitions, including Amoco Canada, from whom the company derives its current Canadian launch date of 1948 [PDF].
Additional material from the March 13, 1964 edition of the Globe and Mail.

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