Here's something for you Americans: There is a case to be made that an American won The Amazing Race Canada. The difference between his U.S. and Canadian background - well, you can hear it in his words here.

That first season - all in Canada - was a really special thing in my opinion. It had some charismatic guys, and I thought the two girls were THE story of the race. I miss the sound of "hippie" girl's voice (sounding similar to B.C. lady Sukhi), and the loud emotion of the two early elimination ladies added something.

Written before season 2:

I'm obsessed with The Amazing Race Canada. That great Season One had many iconic activities and places within Canada. They already had Niagara Falls, mounties, lobster fishing, polar bear dip, Alberta dinosaur bones, football, lacrosse, the Bluenose, storytelling and getting screeched in in Newfoundland, and probably others I've forgotten. The Nunavut episode was excellent, with Inuit throat singing, a dog sled, making an igloo and the neat activity of eating muktuk.

So what would they do with other seasons? They've kind of run out of a lot of iconic activities, especially for the far North.
I predict something with the army NAVY. The maple industry would be iconic but the opposite of thrilling.
In Manitoba the Narcisse snake pits would have various problems, starting with distance. What could you do with polar bears in Churchhill? The golden boy on the legislature building might show up YES.
Skiing or snowshoes? Requires winter, or at least snow. Hockey in some form is inevitable YES. Curling? Doubt it, see above. How much do you want to bet that Blue Jays baseball will be featured?
Is crokinole in Ontario a little too crazy? There will be a native event, complete with totem poles, in B.C. The Calgary Stampede might get in - no, too many problems. Anne of Green Gables YES (and potato farming? YES) will get in there. What about Second City? No.
What kind of transportation will they use CANOE, particularly for the opening entrance?

I had said I would like to see an Amazing Race with U.S./U.K./Australia/N.Z./Ireland teams. Well, no. A better idea would be to have Great White North vs. Down Under, a neat juxtaposition. Five Australian teams and one N.Z., six Canadian teams including one Quebec.

Each international version of The Amazing Race has its own thing going on. The approach to casting is different. The U.S. version set the template, traditionally casting ordinary people. Americans are, well, Americans. Some teams are the "dumb blondes" dependant women perceived as only useful for their looks. ARC does not do that, at least not in the second season. Would Canadians get through, e.g. airports more easily than Americans? Phil seems to think so. The Canadian show has a nationalist edge. There was a focus on extreme in Season Two, as if the show wanted to say that our race and racers are especially amazing. I counted six Olympians involved (and one stuntman). The Australian show likes to cast "nutters".

When you watch the show over and over you notice details.
Ah, Hong Kong. A black bus in the background has French on it. I would have had a field day with languages if I was there.
Players met Canadians in Hong Kong, sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally. See the extra scene. Can you imagine if a racer from Amazing Race Australia got into a taxi in Hong Kong and the driver was from Sydney?
I'm glad someone made a compliment about the people in their Edwardian dress.
The Amazing Race Canada has excellent challenges. If you think about it, the naval flooding challenge was a great task.
Finding miscellaneous food in Hong Kong was a nice, apt task, and it's great to see that team did it.
The snake bile challenge from a live snake was controversial. After that they had to eat snake dick soup or whatever.

There is a moment or two in Episode 4 which is certainly going to show up in somebody's Amazing Race Stupidest Moments. I am on record - see Stuff - that this inability to notice important, obvious things happens surprisingly often, and you have to bear in mind the special conditions of The Amazing Race. Note the physical environment of a Macau market.
I'm not one of the many people complaining about the behaviour of the Indian siblings.


I did not know that people in Muskox Ontario speak like dopy California surfers.
The young Indian siblings had already visited 29 countries. They've got the experience, and clearly enjoy it too. (The girl has a crucifix bracelet.)
The alpha male bartender team has not found their groove yet, things they are good at, like the Tims early in season 1.
Can you imagine going through the race with your mom, being micromanaged in front of millions of people in a stressful situation for an extended period of time? There is a take-no-prisoners parent and child team from Winnipeg. I don't know how well they will do, but there is the matter of precedent.
I knew a young lady whose parents were bikers. She said she was the only person who could say her parents were cooler than her (she also told me about the time she and her friends had meth and fireworks indoors and they almost died, but that's getting off topic).
I've always respected the athletic abilities of ballet dancers.
The Quebec team really aced a couple of challenges, but they seem to have trouble with transportation. They told a little lie to gain an advantage. Cue discussion about whether that is not cool or just part of the game. Other teams can react to real or imagined breaking of taboos by punishing them, and that is part of the game.
The Quebec couple are doing quite well. I picked up somewhere that the black gentleman comes from Haiti.
The hockey girls are doing even better. One of them broke her hand during the Olympics, and still has a bandage on it. There was a hockey duo in The Amazing Race who went through the show so effortlessly, winning a million dollars, that this was to the detriment of the show.

It's always fun to see how people have little advantages in different activities. The Indians have an ethnic connection with the cab drivers. Does being from the relatively cold world of Winnipeg give you some kind of advantage?

There is a lot of Olympians on The Amazing Race Canada. I count seven so far. Olympian racers must be a problem for cameramen and sound people.

Of course different people have advantages for different situations. Being a surfer helps during a surfing challenge, being from a slaughterhouse helps during a filleting challenge, and being a graphic artist helps you to notice details. The Indians have an ethnic connection with the cab drivers.

I saw the Manitoba episode of The Amazing Race Canada. I'll definitely have more to say about that. In the end pit stop encounter everything .. well, I defy you to find a neater pit stop encounter in The Amazing Race. What type of person would they use at the pit stop to represent the locals in Winnipeg?

I saw the Normandy episode. It's not bad, but it's not something I've watched more than once. The D-Day connection made it tonally odd, but I can see why the producers did that.

I just saw the Paris episode. The drama on this episode is stunning. Keep an eye on the provinces involved. Just above I said "I defy you to find a neater pit stop encounter in The Amazing Race." Et voilà.

Some pronunciation for you: Bon appetit is pronounced like Bone appetee, with a silent t at the end. Bon voyage is not pronounced like bonn voyage or bone voyage, but with a nasally French boe.

The host of the Amazing Race Canada is from Russell, Manitoba. For the first season of The Amazing Race Canada the winning team was from Winnipeg. On the last episode of season two the Winnipeg team was eliminated after a grueling, tragic challenge (something that wouldn't happen in my Manitoba Challenge, where racers can route around impossible challenges and nobody gets eliminated). Alas, the next episode of The Amazing Race Canada will take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

If you are a serious fan of The Amazing Race Canada, check out After The Race featuring the teams that have been eliminated so far, before it is removed from the CTV website. These things are fun, they flesh out the people involved, and they show more of the other injury suffered by the first team to be eliminated. This clip, an interview with the bartenders, answers the question of whether players knew they would leave Canada.

Here are some tidbits (or titbits as they say in the U.K.) regarding ARC:
I`ve always respected ballet dancers as athletes. Have you seen Rex Harrington leap? This is going to give guys mixed messages about being a ballet dancer.
Older teams merit respect on The Amazing Race, but they invariably get weeded out.
The Indian siblings are students. Maybe it is normal for them to ask another student for help figure out how to make their statistics spreadsheet. Note that other teams are helping each other.
I figure the older team and the younger teams, including the surfers, will be stripped away. The trailer for the upcoming France episode shows an interview with the surfers - at night.
A team of twins is a bad thing in my opinion. If one of the duo, for example, can't deal with water, then the other person can not plug the gap.
My money is on the Quebec couple.
From Jon's blog on the CTV website, regarding the Yukon episode: "And the weather was absolutely perfect, a balmy 17 or 18 degrees, crisp mountain air, can’t beat it! When we shot this episode of the race the Yukon was the warmest spot in all of Canada on that day – AMAZING!"

SPOILERS for earlier episodes of The Amazing Race Canada

Episode 6 - Manitoba

I just love the challenge they had at the Royal Canadian Mint, matching coins with flags.

You have to understand that I'm very tied to this episode by geography. My life takes place mostly in a strip of downtown between work, home and Safeway. Most of this episode takes place in a tight area downtown. I shluff by the Legislative Building, topped by the Golden Boy, all the time on the way to Safeway, almost touching the building, often after dark. Who knows, maybe I passed by; they are often filming around there. The MTS building where they did the hockey is actually just down the street from me. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, not shown, is located between me and the coffee shop. The Exchange District, close to the intersection of Portage and Main, is where Whiskey Dix and the ghost signs are. The perogy church is not so close, a little farther north down Main St.

I get the impression that perogies can be a community thing.

You don't see many people. The Mint facility is, as far as I know, outside of city limits. The intersection of Portage and Main, where the cluebox is to go to Paris, has no people because it is shut off to pedestrians. This works because they were in the centre of the city without people walking around snooping.

Imagine you went through a grueling biathlon challenge over and over unsuccessfully, cycling and shooting at targets, and getting tossed out of the race (and failing to go to your home province on the next leg). Fine. Note that the ability to shoot at targets is not something that shows up on most people's resumés.
But what if you were thoroughly blowing a challenge and it was very much part of your resumé, even something you are famous for doing?

The players have various connections to Winnipeg. The hockey girl was more familiar with Whisky Dix than I am, although it's in the neighbourhood. The Atwals first came from India to Winnipeg, and that's got to mean something to them. Rex's partner Bob is from Winnipeg. Rex, a big ballet star, worked at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet a few times. Host Jon Montgomery was a local.

Imagine you wake up one day and you are unexpectedly in front of an audience singing an unfamiliar (and awful) song in a ridiculous outfit. You are under a lot of stress, with half a million at stake. When you go on stage you are faced with an audience that repeatedly boos you. You are sick from a virus, and did not sleep the night before.

In the end pit stop encounter everything .. well, I defy you to find a neater pit stop encounter in The Amazing Race. What type of person would they use at the pit stop to represent the locals in Winnipeg?

The pit stop was in The Manitoba Museum of Human Rights, a building that is sure to become an iconic shape on Winnipeg's skyline. Alas, it is close to me, next to The Forks. There was a ballet dancer from the RWB. The last team to arrive was Rex and Bob, and they were eliminated. Rex did a little pas de deux move with the ballerina. They knew each other. This fits nicely with the province that bills itself as "Friendly Manitoba". It is true that around here you might not know the person next to you on the bus, but maybe you worked with her good buddy, or some kind of two degrees of separation like that.

Episode 7 - Normandy

The Normandy episode is not bad, but it's not something I've watched more than once. The D-Day connection made it tonally odd, but I can see why the producers did that.

Episode 8 - Paris

The drama on the Paris episode is stunning. Keep an eye on the provinces involved. Just above I said "I defy you to find a neater pit stop encounter in The Amazing Race." Et voilà.

For the Mentos challenge I would have used a checksum. Blue is 1, orange is two, yellow is 3 and the total for a row is, e.g. 56, which could be compared to the example. I would have been very proud of myself. But I was not on the race.

Some pronunciation for you: Bon appetit is pronounced like Bone appetee, with a silent t at the end. Bon voyage is not pronounced like bonn voyage or bone voyage, but with a nasally French boe.

Episode 10 - PEI

At Prince Edward Island (pop. 140,000) I wonder if that hockey lady was frustrated by the nature of the name challenge. I also wonder if the producer gave things a nudge so that pronunciation could be straightened out and she could move on.

Episode 11 - New Brunswick

Well I liked the flag challenge, with its debugging. Different people look for different things in these shows.
I think the Dairy Queen/birthday party would have been a cute experience for the players. Did you see the smiles on their faces?

They are trying to portray Natalie Spooner as the energetic hockey girl while Meaghan Mikkelson is the detail-oriented one. Actually it was Meaghan who messed up on the memory challenge in the last episode, while it was Natalie's observation that kept them in the race for half a million dollars.


The finale of last season had teams that were all close relatives. For the finale of this season, all the teams are friends. Weird.

The second season of The Amazing Race Canada had a bit of a dirty vibe. Note that none of these things are bad, but it all adds up.

The first episode has someone vomiting in fear, and shows the vomit.
I'm on record as being not 100% happy about the hugging and kissing of volunteers.
There was a nasty injury or two.
There is the usual team of gays. And another team of gays. And a third team of gays.
The editors elected to edit sounds to simulate gay sex when they were pitching a tent.
One team has to dig through a big pile of manure to get to bottles of bootleg liquor.
There was off-camera nudity.

Things reach a climax when a team chose to strip down to their underwear - at the Governor General's residence.
Worst of all for me was the wrapup show when the flamboyant Winnipeger uttered a hostile swear against the Quebec team on a livish program. Ugly.

The Amazing Race does not allow A vs. B challenges. I addressed this in The Manitoba Challenge by having A vs. B games before the race itself, and giving winners advantages for the race.
Check out what The Amazing Race Australia (vs. New Zealand) did on the first leg.

For serious fans of The Amazing Race Canada, check out the podcasts on Rob Has a Website. The comments are nice, showing things you didn't see on the race.

Here is a video of young Phil Keoghan hosting a New Zealand show. Mr Keoghan has a confused background, having grown up in Canada, some Caribbean island, and New Zealand, and by now he has spent a lot of time in the states. There is an interview out there I can't find where Mr. Keoghan speaks in a West Indian accent akin to Jamaican, because this was the way he used to speak. He could do the whole interview like that. He can also pull off a neat imitation of the Oklahoma cowboys.

The host of Amazing Race Australia for the past few years, Grant Bowler, is an Australian originally from New Zealand. They are now doing an Ozzies vs. Kiwis race. You can go to the home site, but they don't have episodes yet. This trailer with Typical Bloody Jarrod is worth checking out.

The Amazing Race - The Best of Andrew and Dan

Well, they got far. Don't they seem like they should be in a Seth Rogen movie?

The Russian Army recently stopped their quite old tradition of wrapping their feet like that.