If you’re an avid fan of Amazing Race, you were likely a little leery about the inaugural Canadian version, which debuted tonight on CTV. Would it be as lame as Amazing Race: Family, which had contestants visiting American landmarks?


So far, Amazing Race Canada isn’t an eye-rolling exercise in patriotism. The first episode, which started off in Niagara Falls, Ont., saw nine teams confront their fears in a butterfly conservatory, dive for the mythical Ogopogo monster in Okanagan Lake, B.C., walk on a narrow plank suspended in the air, and race to the pitstop at Quails’ Gate Winery in Kelowna.

OK, so the butterfly conservatory was a bit of a bust in terms of confronting fears. Teams had to get their next clues by sticking their hands in boxes with spiders, snakes, or scorpions, but you didn’t always see the scary creatures.  Then again, two teams didn’t follow the directions — each team member had to stick his/her hand in the box and grab a clue — which led to 30-minute time penalties at the pit stop, and in one case, the elimination of Team Twin Sisters. Which spared the tearful gay cowboys,  Jamie and Pierre, from southern Alberta. “We didn’t want to win this way,” cried Jamie, as he hugged one of the sisters. Aww.

As for Edmonton’s Cory Mitic and his Ottawa-based brother Jody, the pair finished seventh. The two were the victims of a bit of a bad luck during the race — they lost time when they get locked behind a sliding door at the Kelowna airport. “Security alert, security alert!” said an imposing voice after Jody tried to wrench open the door. (They were finally saved by one of the airport’s staffers.)

We didn’t get to see much of Cory and Jody, so I hope they stick around for awhile. Jody, a former army sniper who stepped on a landmine and lost both his legs below the knees, excelled at what wasn’t an easy task — walking across the plank on his prosthethic limbs. He seemed very business-like about his injuries … as were the producers of the show, who resisted the urge to torque or trivialize the moment.

I’ll be honest … the first few episodes of a new Amazing Race series always seem like a blur of names, places and challenges … and this one’s no different. Even though I took notes. Such as “Most likely to get their heads knocked off by an oncoming car.” (Said by one of the Team Doctors about one of the Team Bros.) Or: “My cousin has been you many many a Halloween.” (Said by one of the Team Bros to Hal of Team Body Break. Yes, Hal and Joanne are one of the teams! They made it to the pit stop in third place, a few steps in front of Team Bros, who look like they might have some troubles in the next episode.)

As this is a show set in Canada, compliments and overall niceness seem more prevalent than insults and deception. A few teams tried to form an alliance based on fairness — agreeing to give the extra Express Pass to the leg’s second-place finisher — or voiced respect for their competitors or, like the gay cowboys, cried tears of sadness over the elimination of their new friends. Then again, this was only the first episode … who knows what could happen down the road? Just keep an eye out for the “hippies from Fairmont Hot Springs,” as I described them in my notes. I don’t think they’re sneaky, but the couple finished first at the pit stop and they’ll definitely be among the show’s frontrunners.

“Now that’s gotta feel good, eh?” smiled Montgomery, as the hippies hit the mat. Yup — those two little letters were just the perfect display of Canadian pride.


Source :  Edmonton Journal