After seven seasons, I honestly didn’t think The Amazing Race Canada would still be interesting to watch. But, as it is with reality competition programming, it’s the contestants that make a show compelling. Kudos to the casting department at Insight for continuing to find Canadians we really care about as they hurtle around this country and parts of the world on a quest to win two 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS, a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two around the world, the $250,000 cash prize and the title of champions.
As previously announced, nine pairs of new competitors were ready to race alongside Canada’s Choice, Jet and Dave, who first appeared in Season 1, where they placed fourth. Coming into Tuesday’s return, I wasn’t a fan of this decision. I much prefer a completely fresh cast, but you can’t deny the two friends are fun to watch.
The teams began Season 7 just down the block from Bell Media’s Toronto headquarters in a small park nestled up against Roy Thomson Hall. At the drop of Jon Montgomery’s finger, they were on the way, snagging knapsacks and Route Info to Extreme Reach Recording Studio. Couple Dave and Irina were the first to arrive, followed by Jet and Dave, grandfather and grandson Gilles and Sean, friends Nicki and Aisha, married couple Anthony and James, athletes Sarah and Sam, sisters Lauren and Joanne and dating couple Aarthy and Thinesh. Moms and friends Trish and Amy were the last to arrive.
Instructed to lend their voice to a trailer for The Lion King (the first of what will be many, many, sponsorship plugs this season), Irina, Jet, Aisha, Sean, Anthony, Sam, Meaghan, Lauren, Thinesh and Trish stepped up to the microphones for their teams. Irina completed her voice work in the first take—she took it very seriously—and she and Dave departed. It took some folks a while to realize that timing was the key to success. Sadly, Sam wasted precious time thinking he had to memorize the script.
Next up was the Ontario Food Terminal, where teams had to run around 100,000 square feet of cold space to find two halves of a postcard that revealed the next clue. Irina and Dave got there in first place, closely followed by Jet and Dave, Aisha and Nicki, Meaghan and Marie, Trish and Amy, Gilles and Sean, Lauren and Joanne and Anthony and James. Sarah and Sam and Aarthy and Thinesh, meanwhile, were still stuck at the studio. Thinesh finally completed the task, leaving the Olympic hopefuls in last.
Jet and Dave put the pieces together and headed off for Kamloops, B.C., on one of two flights. Irina and Dave, Aisha and Nicki, Joanne and Lauren and Trish and Amy were nipping at their heels and scored seats on the first flight. The others were on the second, delayed by 30 minutes.
In the Road Block, the person who didn’t voice the trailer were tasked with ziplining over an old copper mine and dropping a ball into a target below. Dave missed on his first try, as did Nicki, but Irina’s Dave landed it and they regained first place. Amy and Trish were befuddled by the map and argued over where to go. Sarah and Sam leapfrogged to fourth place, just ahead of Trish and Amy; Gilles and Sean were left behind. As Sean said, they’d need another team to make a mistake for them to recover. That seemed to come in the form of Jet and Dave, who were trying to navigate with no map and, ultimately, learned they had gone 80 km in the wrong direction.
Next was the Circle Creek Equestrian Centre, where teams searched moving cattle for a clue. Staying still was the name of the game for this test and Irina and Dave quickly learned their final destination: the Pit Stop at the Kamloops Bike Ranch. Sarah and Sam and Lauren and Joanne worked together to learn the destination. It was Dave and Irina who arrived first, confident and picking up a trip to South Africa and two Express Passes (one to use and one to give away). Sarah and Sam, who I thought would be eliminated, arrived on the mat next, followed by Meaghan and Marie and Lauren and Joanne.
It was Jet and Dave who arrived in front of Jon last, and they were eliminated from the Race. Wow, after the voting and the pomp and circumstance surrounding their return and the pair were cut in Week 1.
Here’s how the teams finished the first Leg of the Race:
- Dave and Irina
- Sarah and Sam
- Meaghan and Marie
- Lauren and Joanne
- Trish and Amy
- Anthony and James
- Aarthy and Thinesh
- Nicki and Aisha
- Gilles and Sean
- Jet and Dave (eliminated)
The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV. It airs at a special time, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, next week.
Images courtesy of Bell Media.