The Brigade will test contestants’ mettle retracing an ancient fur trade route

Regular readers know I’m a history buff with a particular interest/fascination in Canadian stories. Anything to do with the exploration of the Northwest Passage, settling in this country by Europeans, deadly winters and the fur trade are right in my wheelhouse. What kind of stuff are the folks who came from overseas to eke out a living in this rugged terrain made of?

A group of 10 will soon find out.

The Brigade, set to air on Canada’s World Fishing Network in 2019, is currently casting for the experience of a lifetime: the opportunity to retrace the steps of fur traders. Men and women from across the U.S. and Canada are encouraged to apply at thebrigadetv.com for their chance to join the ultimate trek and win prize money up to $1 million.

The money divided up among the members will be well-earned. Over 10 weeks this summer the participants will retrace a 2,600-mile fur trade route that links waterways from the coast of Oregon, through two states, four Canadian provinces, two mountain ranges and five river systems before ending on the icy shores of Hudson Bay in Manitoba. It will all be done without cell phones, GPS or creature comforts. And, as it turns out, without human guides.

The Brigade is going to be led by a route book,” executive producer Robert Cohen says. “This route book was inspired by history. So much work went into these route books and they were inspired by the adventurers before them. They would leave notes and expedition reports outlining how to get around a certain passage of white water and how to make a certain alpine pass successful.” This route book, Cohen explains, will be the source and guide for the group.

And, unlike other reality series that stress competitions and eliminations, The Brigade is only successful as long as the participants work together towards the goal: Hudson Bay. Casting is key, Cohen says. To that end, he and his team have been flooded with applications by folks with varying degrees of outdoor experience set to participate when production begins in July.

“We’re going to cast The Brigade with men and women of different skills and experiences,” he says. “No one is going to be totally green because you couldn’t survive out there. Some may be very skilled and others less so. And some will bring other skills to the table, like an engineer or a doctor or a carpenter or a navigator or an oarsman. There will be so many different skills pooled together to succeed.”

“How does the group pool together, find their strengths, skills and tackle this mammoth challenge?” Cohen continues. “It will be fascinating to see.”

It certainly will.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be part of The Brigade? Apply at thebrigadetv.com now through May 15!

The Brigade will air in Canada on World Fishing Network in spring 2019.

Images courtesy of Media Headquarters.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
Greg David
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