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Driving change: the #ArtOfFusion with Ford

2017 Ford Fusion

I was so excited to receive a call out to join other creatives on a day long adventure with Ford Canada to discover the Fusion family of vehicles including the Fusion V6, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi, and Fusion Platinum – an award-winning lineup for midsize sedan customers.

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I was a passenger on the first leg of our journey from the Distillery District (Balzac’s coffee in hand), so I had a chance to enjoy the scenery as we left the city and went out to the beautiful Belfountain Conservation area. I can guarantee you that conservation area has never seen as much Instagram action as it did when the #ArtOfFusion crowd arrived to eat our catered lunch, exploring the scenic waterfalls and wide open spaces only the countryside can provide. The moment wasn’t lost on me. Through the work of design and innovation, we can honour our environmental spaces by living greener lifestyles, and protect our natural resources. Our choices can make a change and leave a positive impact.

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After we finished lunch, it was my turn to take the driver’s seat in our Ford Fusion Energi Platinum, driving to the McMichael Gallery. I have to confess – it’s not hard to impress me with a vehicle’s performance when I currently drive a thirteen-year-old car that doesn’t have power locks or windows #thestruggleisreal. There’s something nerve-wracking about driving people you’ve just met, somewhere you’ve never been, in a brand new car you’ve never handled. But I immediately relaxed when I realized how fun and easy it was to drive. I started watching the configurable MyView screen on the dash. The Smartguide with EcoGauge display showed how our battery actively charged as I drove and I sang along with Daniel, Nadia and Ryan to the best of the 90s on the radio. You’re welcome, collective Snapchat followers.

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I’m inspired with the innovative technology of a plug-in hybrid that allows customers to drive extended distances using just electricity, and then operates as a conventional gas engine-powered hybrid when the battery runs low. As you all know, I refuse to sacrifice style in my pursuit of green living. Ford’s kinetic designs and chic interiors make the Fusion line-up as pretty as it is (eco) powerful. They come full of features, such as a low-profile rotary gear dial that leaves more space for convenient add-ins for busy Millennials, like a USB to charge my always-on-deaths-door phone battery. Additionally, as a mother with a young child, I appreciate the safety provisions of the driver assist technology that would both protect my family and make driving less stressful. For example, adaptive cruise-control with stop-and-go functionality is perfect for city drivers who deal with traffic, and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection could help prevent serious accidents. This car is safe, stylish and sustainable, which is exactly what I aspire to have in a vehicle.

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When we arrived at the McMichael, I was relieved our Ford Fusion Energi Platinum was in the same condition as when they handed it to me. And I was a convert to the car. We cracked open some cold-brewed coffee and started a private tour of the gorgeous McMichael grounds, starting with the double life-sized sculptures by eminent Canadian artist Ivan Eyre.

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Our guide gave us exclusive access to Tom Thomson’s re-constructed cabin, complete with his hand-carved canoe paddles propped up on the wall (cue artistic-Canadian-fangirl moment). We then set up shop in our outdoor painting session inspired by the Group of Seven. Like plenty of thirty-somethings, I haven’t had an art lesson since I was in grade school, and I was feeling pretty faithless in my abilities. But with the expert encouragement of our instructors, I became totally absorbed in the moment. We all fell silent, which never happens when you round up a dozen communicators who essentially shout on social media for a living, and we actually created some pretty impressive amateur artworks.

Art Of Fusion

Ford Fusion Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While our paintings dried, we took a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the McMichael, and even perused vintage Ford advertisements pulled from the archives. I was stoked to see two photographs by my all-time favourite Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. Then, we settled into the Founders Lounge for a restorative glass of (local!) sparkling wine from Henry of Pelham estate (another of my favourites… it’s as if they knew who they were hosting…) I can’t believe this was the first time I’ve been to this world class gallery! I was enamoured with its architecture, and works from legacy artists such as Emily Carr, and moderns including Colleen Heslin. All on a property that reflects the heritage of Canadian nature represented in the artworks they curate; it’s my best cultural experience of the summer. I’ll be going back again. And may even get the paint brushes out again.

Ford Canada dinnerSoon after the bubbles were served, we settled into our supper with a perfect table setting on the terrace, drinking plenty of wine with our paintings lined up beside us. After the last cup of coffee was served, we climbed back into our chauffeured Ford Fusions to return to Toronto with our creative swag bags. The whole day was delightful from start to finish. Many thanks to Ford Canada for handing us the keys to their beautiful cars and letting us test them out. And, perhaps most importantly for me, I’m so honoured to gain a new respect for Ford’s leadership position on sustainability in the automotive industry, because by the end of this decade, more than 40 percent of their nameplates globally will be electrified. That my friends, is the #ArtOfFusion.

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About the Author

Angela is founder and editor of Sasstainable, an insider voice on sustainable lifestyle and ethical luxury. She serves on the board of directors for Toronto Zooshare Biogas Co-operative. In 2013, she completed her MSc in Environmental Management at the University of London, at the Centre for Development, Environment and Policy. Her passion for the environment grew out of her family's rural property in Raglan, Ontario, now a designated Natural Heritage System area in the Ontario Greenbelt. In 2009, she was granted Ryerson University's Top 30 Under 30 Alumni award, because of her work as a motivational speaker, in partnership with Participant Media and Me to We. She inspired over 30,000 high school and university students across North America. She is a published writer, contributing articles to Geez Magazine, Eluxe Magazine and Feelgood Style, among others. She enjoys fashion, cooking, art and yoga. She currently lives in Toronto, Canada, with her daughter, Charlotte.
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