Tag Archives: Canada’s Smartest Person

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.


Professional gamer Stephanie Harvey claims Canada’s Smartest Person title

From a media release:

A season full of mind-bending challenges and intense competition on CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON came down to five worthy finalists vying for the title in Sunday’s holiday-themed season finale on CBC. In the end, 30-year-old Stephanie Harvey, a professional gamer from Quebec City, rose to the final challenge to take the crown and — in a CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON first — to have a $20,000 donation made to her charity of choice, Operation Enfant Soleil.

Harvey and her four fellow finalists did battle in festive versions of some of the show’s classic challenges that added holiday magic to the season finale, creating a winter wonderland complete with falling snow.  Edmonton’s Joshua Williams, a 25-year-old youth-program director, was the first competitor to be eliminated after registering the lowest score through the first three challenges. Mechanic Brittain Bancroft, 30, from Minto, N.B., bowed out next followed by Calgary’s Maria Samson, a 33-year-old former national team rugby player.

The grand finale, known as the Super Gauntlet, saw Harvey go head-to-head with Eric Yue, 40, a recreational hockey league commissioner from Victoria. The fast and festive face-off featured Christmas trees and snowmen as the key to the ultimate prize, the title of “Canada’s Smartest Person” and the $20,000 charitable donation. Yue leapt to an early lead in the first challenge of the Super Gauntlet, which tested linguistic intelligence, but struggled with the visual intelligence challenge that followed. Harvey took advantage of this opening and never looked back, flying through the visual, physical, musical and logical intelligence challenges to complete the Super Gauntlet and become the fourth person to be named “Canada’s Smartest Person.”

Harvey was moved to tears by her win and the knowledge that Operation Enfant Soleil, a foundation that raises funds for the care of sick children throughout Quebec, would receive the $20,000 donation in her name.

Image courtesy of CBC.


TV Eh B Cs podcast 53 — Hosting Jessi Cruickshank

jessicruickshank2016b-highresJessi Cruickshank is one of Canada’s most beloved TV personalities and has been hailed as “one of the funniest women on TV today, period” by The Province. Cruickshank grew up in Vancouver where she broke into comedy as the only girl in an all-male improv troupe alongside Seth Rogen. She soon became a household name as the face of MTV, hosting the daily comedy show MTV Live and smash hit The Hills After Show, which was syndicated in 10 countries and generated record-breaking ratings in Canada and the U.S.

Cruickshank went on to host Live from E!, Jerseylicious, Olympic Morning and recently wrapped six seasons as the LA correspondent for Canada’s #1 entertainment show, etalk. She has also travelled the world as a keynote speaker and the Canadian ambassador for Free the Children.

Cruickshank returned to CBC in the fall of 2016 as one of the co-hosts of CBC’s highly anticipated new daytime show The Goods, and to host Season 3 of Canada’s Smartest Person.

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

Listen or download below, or subscribe via iTunes or any other podcast catcher with the TV, eh? podcast feed.

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Canada’s Smartest Person reveals competitors ahead of Nov. 13 return on CBC

From a media release:

CBC’s hit competition series CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON has narrowed down the field to 30 remarkable Canadians from coast to coast to coast who will put themselves to the test, squaring off each week for their latest chance to take home the title of “Canada’s Smartest Person.” From ages 16 to 62, and with diverse occupations including psychic medium, pro video gamer, neuroscientist, cancer researcher/fashion blogger, Paralympian, and law student/Miss Universe Canada, the competitors are ready to show the country what they’ve got as they tackle challenges that offer a new spin on what it truly means to be smart. CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON returns for Season 3 Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT) on CBC.

Each week, host Jessi Cruickshank (The Goods), with special guest judges, guides the competitors and viewers through the hour-long competition series, which illuminates how Canadians are smart based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In each of the first five episodes, six competitors go head-to-head in a series of fun and revealing challenges that test six areas of intelligence: linguistic, physical, musical, visual, social and logical, with one winner advancing to the championship finale. Then, in the climactic season finale, five finalists will battle it out to claim the title of CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON. New this season is CSP SmartPlay, where viewers can join in on the fun from home by playing along in real-time on the CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON Facebook page.

Introducing this season’s CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON competitors:

Episode 301 – airing Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT)
● Susan Forgues, 54, retired military helicopter pilot from Orleans, ON
● Jonathan Gagnon, 31, engineer from Vancouver, BC
● Stephanie Harvey, 30, pro video gamer from Québec City, QC
● Vincent Law, 33, cancer researcher and fashion blogger from Calgary, AB
● Rup Magon, 41, musician from Montréal, QC
● Steve Norn, 40, insurance broker from Yellowknife, NT

Episode 302 – airing Sunday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT)
● Christine Cho, 36, makeup artist from Toronto, ON
● Donna Hartt, 46, psychic medium from Cranbrook, BC
● Jennifer Martin, 33, copywriter from St. Phillip’s, NL
● Chad “CJ” Studer, 38, physical education teacher from Miscouche, PE
● Chris Williams, 54, innkeeper from Round Hill, NS
● Joshua Williams, 25, youth worker from Edmonton, AB

Episode 303 – airing Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT)
● Rebecca Bromwich, 39, lawyer from Calgary, AB
● Frankie Cena, 24, international speech and debate coach from Vancouver, BC
● Ryan Coelho, 30, millennial consultant from Toronto, ON
● Gwyneth Foster, 16, high school student from Uxbridge, ON
● Maria Samson, 33, professional rugby player from Calgary, AB
● Vanessa Vakharia, 35, math tutor and entrepreneur from Toronto, ON

Episode 304 – airing Sunday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT)
● Brittain Bancroft, 30, mechanic from Minto, NB
● Siera Bearchell, 23, law student and Miss Universe Canada 2016 from Moose Jaw, SK
● Darryl Gidyk, 42, neuroscientist from Lethbridge, AB
● Devon Jones, 37, personal trainer from Winnipeg, MB
● Bruce Tsuji, 62, university professor from Ottawa, ON
● Michelle Zakrison, 33, lawyer from Iqaluit, NU

Episode 305 – airing Sunday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT)
● Tristan Campus, registered nurse from Mississauga, ON
● Melissa DeCiantis, 25, arborist from Mississauga, ON
● Dustin Herbison, 29, high school shop teacher from Kelowna, BC
● Michelle Salt, 31, Paralympian from Calmar, AB
● Wali Shah, 21, rapper and spoken word poet from Mississauga, ON
● Eric Yue, 39, commissioner recreational hockey league from Victoria, BC

Episode 306 – airing Sunday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT)
The five finalists will battle it out to claim the title of CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON.


Canada’s Smartest Person casting now open

From a media release:

A new hunt is on for CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON as CBC’s hit competition series returns for its third season. Starting today, Canadians coast to coast to coast are encouraged to apply or nominate someone online at cbc.ca/smartestperson for the chance to participate in the television event of the season. 

CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON is looking for enthusiastic and dynamic competitors from all backgrounds. “We’re thrilled to be back for another season. This series is really about acknowledging all the different ways we’re smart. You don’t have to be a trivia buff or math wizard. We’ve had athletes, artists, teachers and first responders shine on our stage,” said executive producer Robert Cohen. Successful competitors can expect to have their intelligence tested by new and exciting challenges. Applicants must be 16 years of age or older as of January 1, 2016 to apply. Casting kicks off today and will close on July 24, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Hosted by Jessi Cruickshank, CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON inspires and entertains Canadians with a new spin on the way to look at smarts. Each week, competitors from all walks of life go head-to-head in fun and revealing challenges that test six categories of intelligence: musical, linguistic, social, physical, logical and visual. Audiences can also join in on the action from home in an interactive play-along experience. Canadians will never look at smarts the same way again.