Amazing Race Canada: Week Nine

Amazing Race Canada - Ah-mazing, Episode 9 (Photo: CTV)
Amazing Race Canada - Ah-mazing, Episode 9 (Photo: CTV)

The ninth leg of Amazing Race Canada picks up in Nova Scotia, where last week the four remaining teams discovered they hadn’t reached a Pit Stop, and in fact had to continue their journey to Newfoundland.

Brothers Cory and Jody reached the end of last week’s leg first only to find themselves with nothing—no prize plane tickets, not even a head start—for their troubles. All four teams end up on the same eight-hour ferry ride to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, with a footrace to a series of shuttle buses the only thing to separate them.

Some cosmic justice does win out, though, as Tim Jr. leads the sprint, but Tim Sr. brings up the rear, forcing them to have to share the last shuttle with sisters Vanessa and Celina and allowing Cory and Jody to take their rightful place in shuttle bus number one. The three shuttles leave with 15 minutes between them—a tiny gap in the grand scheme, but one that could make all the difference—driving all night to the capital city of St. John’s.

Once they arrive, they have to search for the Terry Fox Monument, the location the heroic young Canadian dipped a toe in the Atlantic and began a journey that continues in his name to this day. The racers are appropriately reverent, particularly Jody, who shares a special connection as a fellow amputee. At the monument the players have to memorize a quote attributed to Fox, then travel by taxi to a kitchen party in Quidi Vidi, Nfld., where they’ll repeat the quote to gain entrance.

Jody and Cory arrive at the party first, but after Jody repeats the first half of the quote, Cory blanks and ends up repeating most of what Jody just said. They can’t figure out what they’re doing wrong, so they retreat to their taxi thinking they’ll have to return to the monument and give up their narrow lead. But as soon as the cab starts away, Cory suddenly realizes his error and the brothers are able to scamper back and talk their way past the kitchen party’s gatekeeper.

Inside they learn they’ll be “screeched in” to earn their next clue—a tradition that involves kissing a codfish and downing a shot of rum, called Screech. This challenge is a breeze and the brothers are on their way quickly.

Dave and Jet follow closely behind, having claimed the second shuttle bus, and after helping their rookie cab driver find their destination, Jet easily repeats the Terry Fox quote and the two are allowed in. Feeling no need to rush a party, they entertain their hosts with ridiculous dancing and gags, forgetting there are teams gaining on them. By the time they take their ceremonial drinks—their first in ten years, since obviously neither of them needs any extra motivation to have a good time—we can already see the sisters and the Tims waiting in the doorway.

For some reason they stick with the same cabbie—in her fourth day on the job and without a firm grasp on the city’s geography—as they travel to the Detour. There they have a choice between memorizing a Newfoundland tale—complete with local patois—and repeating it verbatim to a group of native Islanders, or making a door-to-door grocery delivery—milk and eggs—up Heart Attack Hill using a wagon pulled by a Newfoundland dog. It’s hard to believe anyone would choose not to take the giant, fluffy pups for a walk, but the sisters and Jet and Dave actually pick the other task while the brothers and the Tims go for a little puppy love.

The brothers set out first and make relatively quick progress, but don’t have a dozen intact eggs for their fourth and final delivery and have to head back to the start to pick up more. Meanwhile, the Tims aren’t getting much love from their dog—surely it can sense Tim Sr. is uncomfortable with all that drooling—but they smartly picked up more milk and eggs than they would need and get through their delivery without having to restock. They take first place with the brothers hot on their heels.

On the other side of the Detour, Jet and Dave are supremely confident in their ability to memorize their story—after all, they’ve been actors and had to memorize lines before—but after a very strong start their tale falls apart and the locals aren’t falling for their over-the-top performance or their charm, so they’re forced to go back and listen to it all over. Five times. The sisters don’t fare much better though, taking just long enough to sink to last place again.

The next stop is a Road Block at O’Brien’s Music Store, where one member of each team has to choose from a series of items and go out to busk on famed George Street until they take in $50. The idea seems to be to make music, but Tim Sr. notices a bunch of juggling balls and figures they’re his best chance. He’s able to keep the balls in the air, but he doesn’t have much of a pitch and pedestrians just keep on walking past him. Jody doesn’t have the music in him either, so he grabs a tambourine and improvises, stopping passersby to recount the story of how he lost his legs in Afghanistan. The idea is brilliant, encouraging troop-supporting Newfoundlanders to empty their pockets—one even passes him a $20—but there’s one thing that grabs St. John’s residents’ attention even quicker than a wounded soldier.

Celina heads out on the street with a hula-hoop and a tight outfit and starts turning heads and raking it in immediately. It’s obvious what she’s doing, but even in St. John’s there are guys willing to open their wallets when there’s a pretty girl around. After all this Dave doesn’t stand a chance, and he ends up singing Row Your Boat and pleading with strangers to give him their money—a scene that could have been funny if it wasn’t so sad.

The sisters finish first and set out to the Pit Stop at Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America, where we’re guaranteed that one team is going home. The brothers are right behind, though, and after Vanessa and Celina take a wrong turn, Cory and Jody hit the mat first and earn Super Elite status—top ranking in Air Canada’s frequent flier program, and all the perks that entails—for a year and, more importantly, a video call home. The elect to call Jody’s partner so he can see her and his two daughters, a sight that brings the former military sniper—and probably a few viewers—to tears. It’s worth more than any plane ticket and could be a huge motivator ahead of the final leg of the race.

After the sisters finally find host Jon Montgomery at the finish, Tim Senior’s juggling act earns him enough cash to send him and his son on their way to the Pit Stop, meaning one of the competition’s favourite teams—even their former competitors are rooting for them—get cut just short of the finale. Dave is crestfallen knowing it’s his fault for bumbling through the final challenge, but Jet reassures him that, even though they didn’t win, they definitely had the most fun.

Unfortunately, that means next week’s finale will be a little less fun for us viewers as the teams head to the finish line in Toronto.

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Drew Berner

Drew Berner is a freelance writer born and raised in Toronto and specializing in entertainment, sports and politics. He occasionally collects vinyl records, enjoys hate-watching the Blue Jays, appreciates good beer and great scotch, and goes to sleep each night with 120 lbs. of Great Dane draped over him (it’s a lot more comfortable than it sounds). Follow him on Twitter @DrewBerner for photos of huge dogs, observational humour and assorted sports rage.

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