I really enjoy it when The Amazing Race Canada explores smaller communities. The big cities are fine, but the opportunity to go to less-travelled spots in the country, I think, makes for a more enjoyableÂ Leg. So whenÂ I learned the final four were headed toÂ Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., I was chuffed. Not only wouldÂ weÂ be offered a peek atÂ the city, but it would play a role in determining which teams wouldÂ advance to next week’s season finale.
The place of the rapids was in fine fettle, boasting the rugged terrain that is the hallmark of the Canadian Shield. Sam and Paul were on top of the world with four first-place finishes this season, but would that all come crashing down in the Soo? The remaining teams all began the Leg with a trip I had the pleasure of doing when I was a kid: a train trip to Agawa Canyon. While on the train on a truncated voyage, teams had to match up and memorize the titles and descriptions of 14 paintings done by the Group of Seven. The teams had just 30 minutes to complete the task correctly or be nailed with a 30-minute delay via another loop of the train. It looked like Sam and Paul’s directional challenges meant they’d miss the train, but they arrived in the nick of time.
Sam and Paul missed just one painting in their first attemptÂ but were correct the second time aroundâ€”Paul had said “lake” instead of “land”â€”and were off to the races. (Pardon the pun.) The other three duos were stuck with another half-hour ride, leaving Sam and Paul a chance to widen their lead. Kenneth and Ryan completed the task next, followed by Karen and Bert and Ivana and Korey.
The Leg’s Detour hearkened back to the area’s dependence on fur and fish, as teams could either guide two alpacas through an obstacle course in three minutes or go fly fishing and hit three floating targets. Sam and Paul went for the alpaca test, as did Kenneth and Ryan while Karen and Bert and Ivana and Korey opted for fishing. I would have chosen the alpaca test, which looked like a ton of fun. Watching the animals gamely following Sam and Paul was a treat and the foursome completed the challenge with time to spare. Meanwhile, Korey revealed he’s an expert fisherman; minutes later he and Ivana had cast their flies and were departing. Team Giver had major issues with one alpaca and had to swap it out for one that was a little more energetic. (Maybe it got tired of all the yelling.)
The Amazing Race Canada‘s Face Off placed teams on iceÂ competing head-to-head in the hybrid game of crokicurl. The gameâ€”a mix of crokinoleÂ and curlingâ€”involved the curling button and poles and a centre-hole score of 20 points. The last team at the Face Off would, of course, incur a time penalty. While Sam and Paul waited to see who’d they’d play against, we learned Sam’s grandfather competed in The Brier (very cool) and his aunts and uncles all play too. The dating couple were shocked when Korey and Ivana showed up to play; Sam and Paul took the early lead and it was down to the last rock thrown by Ivana. She nailed it, winning the Face Off and leaving Sam and Paul behind to play Bert and Karen. After 13 attempts, Kenneth and Ryan and their alpaca pals were successful and they headed to the rink in last-place. Sam and Paul beat Bert and Karen, leaving the married couple to contend with Team Giver. Ryan brilliantly aimed for the button, nabbing them 20 points and removing the rock from the game. Thanks to Karen’s errant shot that pushed Team Giver’s rock into the button a second time, they best buds were on their way to getting buggy.
The Leg’s Road Block was a creepy crawly affair, as one team member was tasked with counting the number of four species of cockroaches … as they crawled over their partner’s head. (The look on Korey’s face when he realized the bugs would be on him was priceless, as was Ivana’s remark, “The more you talk the more chance they have to get in your mouth.”) Paul was as unenthusiastic as Korey, Ryan seemed downright angry and I’m pretty sure Bert needs therapy; Paul and Sam got the count right their very first try and wrestled the lead back from Ivana and Korey. After more than an hour of counting, re-counting and guessing, Ivana finally got the right number and she and Korey were off. Bert begging the other teams to give Karen the numbers fell on deaf ears; I genuinely felt badly for Bert, but freaking out and shaking his head made it harder for Karen to count the cockroaches.
It was off to Top Sail Island for the Pit Stop, where Sam and Paul checked in first to score a spot in next week’s season finale and a trip for two to Cape Town, South Africa. With five Leg wins under their belts, Sam and Paul are the team to beat. The trouble for other duos is that even when the dating couple fall behind, they’re able to make up ground in another test. Ivana and Korey have shown amazing growth this season and, if the right challenge is given to them, they could win it all. Kenneth and Ryan have the skills to win any challenge and take out any team and their positive attitude has gotten them out of plenty of jams. Sadly for Bert and Karen, this was the end of their Race and their tearful apologies to each other outside the bug challenge gave me a lump in my throat.
Here’s how the teams finished this Leg of the Race:
- Sam and Paul (trip for two to Cape Town)
- Ivana and Korey
- Kenneth and Ryan
- Karen and Bert (eliminated)
The Amazing Race Canada season finale airs next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.
Images courtesy of Bell Media.