Everyone who steps on the pink bus is one step closer to a future without breast cancer.
That’s how Jennifer Perry, representing the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Atlantic Division, sums up Charlottetown’s new Big Pink Sightseeing initiative.
Ambassatours Gray Line, Atlantic Canada’s largest motor coach and tour operator, expanded its pink bus tour operation into the P.E.I. capital on Friday, just in time for most of the 2011 cruise season. It’s being done in co-operation with Prince Edward Tours.
Dennis Campbell, president of the motor coach business, said it all began last year in Saint John, N.B.
It has since grown to feature a hop on, hop off service in Halifax, N.S., and now in Charlottetown.
The big pink buses will be operating with three double-decker buses and two of Charlottetown’s own transit trolleys, all of which are painted pink in support of breast cancer awareness.
“I’m biased about this,’’ Campbell said at a press conference Friday. “My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 78 and we were told not to expect (her to live long).’’
His mother recovered and recently celebrated her 83rd birthday.
“Hopefully, we’ll find a cure,’’ he said.
To help launch the Charlottetown service, the public is invited to take a ride today and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Buses depart from Founders’ Hall. Tours are free with all of the net donations going directly to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Campbell said awareness is key, explaining that 99 per cent of all breast cancer diagnoses are curable if detected early.
Perry encourages all women to get mammograms.
“These buses are already turning heads,’’ she said. “It’s encouraging people to speak about breast cancer and I cannot say enough about the importance of mammograms.’’
In the four months the pink buses were on the road in Saint John last year, they brought in more than $33,000 for breast cancer research and all of the money was spent in Atlantic Canada.
Following the free weekend tours in Charlottetown, the pink buses will follow two routes throughout the capital city — a one-hour loop around the city and the Cows Express, which will take guests out to the Cows Creamery for a tour of the plant.
The ‘hop on-hop off’ tours are exclusive to cruise ship passengers on cruise ship days. There are a total of 42 cruise ships visits this year.
Prince Edward Tours will be offering the service to the public on days when there isn’t a cruise ship in port. One dollar from every ticket sold goes to breast cancer research.
Tourism Minister Robert Vesey calls the initiative a great project for a great cause.
“It’s great to see tourism connected to our community,’’ Vesey said, in reference to a portion of the money being directed at breast cancer patients.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said it’s a project that should entice every citizen to take a ride.
“Unfortunately, cancer is one of those diseases that has touched us all in one way or another,’’ Lee said.