Heartland star lands Canada’s Smartest Person return

I competed in Canada’s Smartest Person, and I won. OK, I didn’t compete in a full instalment of the intelligence test, but I did come in first in a head-to-head special journalist edition matchup against my buddy Denette Wilford in The Gauntlet. (For proof, check out the video below.)

Meanwhile, contestants from across the country once again descended on Toronto to compete in Season 2 of CBC’s mind-bender, returning Sunday at 8 p.m. with 16-year-old wunderkind Maya Burhanpurkar of Barrie, Ont., rapper Anthony Craparotta (a.k.a. iLLvibe) of Toronto, diversity executive Richard Pinnock from Montreal, and new mom Jessica Joy of Golden, B.C., facing off.


With the title of Canada’s Smartest Person up for grabs, the four competitors test the theory of multiple intelligence in six categories: linguistic, logical, physical, musical, visual and social before the top two scorers race through The Gauntlet to determine a winner.

“In Season 2, you really want to go bigger and better and we have,” says host Jessi Cruickshank. “The challenges in every episode are unreal, the new challenges are so spectacular and we have fantastic guest stars appearing.” Among them is Heartland lead Amber Marshall, who pops by for Human Lie Detector, telling a mixture of truth and fiction to test social skills. (One unforgettable story recounts a memorable Christmas involving a puppy and an ex-girlfriend; tune in to see if it’s true or not.) Upcoming celebrity guests include Mary Walsh, Steve Patterson, Perez Hilton and Alan Thicke.

“All of Alan Thicke’s stories were so over-the-top for Human Lie Detector,” Cruickshank says with a laugh, noting just one person read Thicke perfectly.

Canadians will once again have the chance to compete at home via the show’s app and—new this season—compete with friends and family in Head2Head. Jeff Douglas, who explained the app and noted test result trends across the country, is not back for Season 2, meaning Cruickshank is doing all of the heavy lifting, juggling hosting with challenge explanations and playing cheerleader to the weekly players.

“As much as I’m running the challenges, it’s my job to bring out the personalities of the competitors,” she says. “We have smart and incredibly charismatic people this season with a wide range of abilities and it’s my job to make them shine.”

Canada’s Smartest Person airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.