GERTIE riding into 2017 in high spirits

Susan Yates

GERTIE Biographer

Tuesday, December 27 2016

The GERTIE Singing Bus became two buses tootling around the island full of carolers on the evening of December 15. Thanks to the enthusiastic conducting of Leah Hokanson in Blanche and Aleksandra Brzozowski in Gertie-Noir, everyone aboard sang their way through the carol sheets. We sang our last song just as the GERTIE buses rounded Lochinvar to park where we started out at the Village bus stop.

Special thanks also to the two volunteer drivers, Steve Earle and Trevor Gear, who rearranged their schedules at the last minute to accommodate two busloads instead of one. Passengers and drivers agreed at the end of the evening that the caroling bus is worthy of becoming a new Gabriola tradition.  It’s a great way to enjoy a GERTIE ride with the added delight of stopping at all the best Christmas light displays. We saw some very impressive ones, from Berry Point to Penty, along North Road and around South Road to the Clamshell neighborhood. Our favourite was the Rockwell residence at the end of Molly’s Way, where the full moon hung over a magnificently decorated house and yard.

A stop at The Commons for hot drinks and cookies half-way along the caroling tour was another highlight of the evening. Blanche’s Christmas lights and warm blankets for the passengers helped to make the coldest night of the year (so far) especially warm and enjoyable. We were pleased to have Hilda Pattern, one of GERTIE’s very first passengers 3 years ago, join us for the singing bus trip. Hilda is probably our most senior passenger too, at 98 years old, and so Blanche (with driver Steve Earle) took Hilda and her walker right to her front door at the end of the evening.

2016 has been a good year for GERTIE and we hope that 2017 is even better as far as ridership and community engagement. We will continue to provide the best service possible within our budget, and we hope that GERTIE will always be able to respond to our island’s needs. 

If you are looking for a year-end tax receipt and would like to help GERTIE purchase a newer bus, please consider making a year-end, tax-deductible donation to the Gabriola Community Bus Foundation.  

The website at has all the information you need to help us maintain a reliable and environmentally sustainable public transportation service.