Amazing Race Canada recap: Brains vs. brawn in the Far North

Not all Canadians can build igloos: And other lessons learned on the seventh leg of competition



Let the guidebook to winning The Amazing Race Canada show that, despite persistent stereotypes, not all Canadians can build igloos. On last night’s episode, no team successfully completed the challenge — and it ended one front-running team’s shot at the jackpot.

The seventh leg of The Amazing Race Canada took us from Quebec City back to the Far North, somewhat strangely. This means the show has now visited all three territories, yet not anywhere in Atlantic Canada — compounding the surprise absence of any contestants on the show from east of Montreal. But Canada’s North is a prominent Amazing Race sponsor and, hey, better for them to stage the competition on the tundra than in a charitable Tim Hortons.

The series of gruelling outdoor tasks in Nunavut had contestants sweating in the -16 Celsius weather, and seemed to settle one outstanding question: do physical or mental talents trump in this competition? The number one physical team, friends Jet and Dave, went toe-to-toe in Nunavut with the number one mental team, doctors Brett and Holly. These two front-running teams were the only ones who tried to build an igloo in the roadblock challenge. Both failed.

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“The igloo was way harder than we imagined,” Jet and Dave admitted.

As ice blocks crashed in on a panicking Holly, Brett helpfully offered: “Hol, you’ve got to be careful in there.”

Jet and Dave gave up on the igloo dream first, and managed to rally and finish third after overtaking one team in a foot race. Brett and Holly switched to the other challenge too late, couldn’t catch up, and were eliminated.

This ongoing pattern of strong, interesting teams being eliminated from the race is rather frustrating, both for viewers and for the contestants. Several teams voiced their opposition to Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. being saved by a second non-elimination round last week.


Jet and Dave told the cameras that they couldn’t feign enthusiasm at seeing them this time around, and compared the Tims to a phoenix – or zombies. “You can’t finish them.”

The Tims are here to stay – forever? – but Brett and Holly are gone for good. There are probably a number of race fans happy about this, but I’m not among them. The doctors knew their strengths and played to them, resulting in a thoughtful, well-executed performance every week. It was a strategy basically the exact opposite of Miley Cyrus’ at the VMAs, and it should have worked.

Besides being a wily, competitive team, Brett and Holly’s elimination was a surprise for two other reasons. As the resident villains, they seemed destined to last until the final episode (which features three teams, at least on the American version of the race). Furthermore, this week – for once – the married couple was largely co-operative and supportive of each other.

“I’m really proud of her. She just didn’t give up,” Brett said after Holly finally nailed the harpoon target on her 28th attempt.

Maybe any deviation from strategy does you in — Body Break stars Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod, who were nothing but loving towards each other, were eliminated in the very episode that their patience started to crack.

The Amazing Race Canada is now down to four teams that no one would have grouped together in an office pool. Brothers Jody and Cory finished first this week, a particular accomplishment given that Jody uses prosthetic legs below his knees.

The most surprising finalists are Vanessa and Celina, the young sisters who have struggled at every stage and cried at many of them. Exiting the airport, they temporarily took the lead in the Nunavut episode for the first time. They fell behind again for a variety of reasons, including that Celina had to gag her way through 10 pieces of whale blubber that she declared “Not sushi.”

In the sisters’ defence, they haven’t once finished in last place, let alone twice as Team TimTim has. Even Tim Jr. called their pair of non-elimination round saves crazy: “That doesn’t happen. I don’t think that’s every happened.”

If either of those teams win, the Canadian race will lose some credibility as a competition.

Best friends Jet and Dave, who combine focus and determination with the ability to shake off stress with a joke, definitely look like the team to beat as we get closer to the finish line.

Then again, the surprise mix of contestants who remain after the seventh leg suggest no one should try to predict the Amazing Race Canada winner.

Click here for Sonya Bell’s coverage of the race to date.