I’ve made no bones about my love of Canadian history on this website. From slightly fictionalized stories in Frontier to documentary series like Future History, 1491: The Untold History of the Americas and even The Other Side, I love it all. But would a program retracing the route of The York Factory Express, the 19th-century fur trade route, pique my interest?
Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life, the eight-part The Brigade: Race to the Hudson, follows 750 miles of the 2,600-mile fur trade route linking 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. As an added bonus, the series cast 10 participants and placed $500,000 to split at the finish line. The catch? Working together as a team, just like the traders of the past, is key. And, with 750 miles of the route to cover in 28 days—from Castlegar, B.C., to York Factory—the task proved to be tough.
In last week’s debut, we were introduced to the participants, told no modern-day things like GPS or cell phones were allowed, and headed out. Food and other key supplies were planted along the way and the only way out was to quit or be medically evacuated. And, with military veterans, noodlers and folks used to the outdoors, spirits were high. But, as the miles passed by, bugs descended and dehydration became a concern, reality set in. This was going to be immensely difficult.
In Tuesday’s newest instalment, concerns surrounding Vincent are swirling. Will he be the first to go? Meanwhile, reaching the first cache successfully bolsters everyone’s spirits and gives them some much-need energy via vittles. But some bright yellow helmets hint at the white water coming up and navigational mistakes threaten to derail the team.
And while there is a cache of cash at the end of this journey, this isn’t Survivor or The Bachelor. People aren’t voted off. You have to work together to survive, success and cash in.
The Brigade: Race to the Hudson airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.
Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.