It really isn’t summer until The Amazing Race Canada is back on my television. When the weather gets hot and talk turns of summer vacations, CTV’s triptych is the perfect “Must Do” list of local and countrywide excursions. The series roared back for Season 5 on Tuesday night with Jon Montgomery welcoming the 10 teams to St. John’s, on a leg that took them across the country to Vancouver.
As with all first episodes, the first chunk out of the gate introduced viewers to the contestants, the stakes—a Next Generation 2018 Chevrolet Equinox True North Edition for each of the winners, a trip around the world for two and $250,000 in cash—and the fact this season will celebrate Confederation. At first blush, fitness trainers and best friends Ivana and Korey seem to be the perfect team of strength and focus, as do married couple Karen and Bert. Meanwhile, best friends Kenneth and Ryan (“Give R!”) appear to be the fun guys of the season, around for a few laughs and quips before being eliminated early on.
But appearances can be deceiving, and The Amazing Race‘s Episode 1 challenges were quick to expose some of them. It was brilliant planning by the producers to have the teams amped up and jacked with adrenaline to begin Leg 1, only to throw a Morse code thinking test at them. With everyone raring to roll, it was a reminder that they are never fully in control of their surroundings. The adrenaline and wanting to move on led business partners Ebonie and Andrea to make a ludicrous decision: they took a time penalty. Why would you do this just moments into the first Leg?!? Why not stick it out and gauge your competitors’ skill and patience levels?
Andrea and Ebonie were first to drive to the airport to jump on one of two planes to Vancouver, followed by father-son duo Shabbir and Zed who actually deciphered the Morse code message. Teamwork between Kenneth and Ryan, dating couple Sam and Paul and brother-sister team Andrea and Adam meant they filled the first plane, leaving the others far behind.
Falconry at the Capilano Suspension Bridge—with a mere clue pickup at that location—led to the city’s Gastown neighbourhood for the first Road Block of Season 5 at the storied Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. This was no gondola from last summer, but the outside tightrope between hotel wings still looked darn scary. (Having cameras attached to the Racers really adds to the freak-out factor for viewers, another smart decision by producers.) Ebonie and Ryan completed the task first followed by Kenneth and Ryan (I was regretting my flippant remark about them being mere fodder for comedy.) and sprinted to the Detour.
“Pedal” put teams to the test in a bike polo game while “Paddle” put them in Dragon Boats. Ebonie and Andrea weaved through Pedal as Kenneth and Ryan screamed across the water during Paddle. Teams were pretty evenly split between the two Detours—I would have chosen Pedal in case you were wondering—with Kenneth and Ryan the first to finish and meet with Jon in the beautiful VanDusen Botanical Garden … where they hollered their way into first place and a trip to Spain.
Meanwhile, as Ebonie and Andrea completed the Leg and sat out their two-hour penalty, other pairs quickly caught up and passed them. The business partners were lucky Megan and Courtney and Aaron and Deb had so many struggles along the way. It was mother and son duo Aaron and Deb who were eliminated in the first Leg of what promises to be another stellar summer of The Amazing Race Canada.
Here’s how the teams finished Leg 1:
- Kenneth and Ryan (won a trip to Barcelona)
- Korey and Ivana
- Andrea and Adam
- Sam and Paul
- Zed and Shabbir
- Karen and Bert
- Andrea and Ebonie (penalty)
- Riya and Dan
- Megan and Courtney
- Deb and Aaron (eliminated)
The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.
Images courtesy of Bell Media.