The Amazing Race Canada: Mitic brothers are team to beat going into finale Monday
After three months of watching teams race across the country, Monday marks the final dash to The Amazing Race Canada’s finish line and no one is more excited about the outcome than Jon Montgomery.
Sure, the host of Canada’s most popular reality series knows which team wins the $250,000 grand prize, but he’s been watching the race unfold from his couch along with the show’s nearly 3 million weekly viewers.
“(I) know the end result, but (I) don’t know the details. It’s like reading the score of a hockey game,” explains Montgomery. “It unfolds before me just like everyone else, every Monday at 9 p.m.”
Although popular American reality shows like Big Brother, The Bachelor and Storage Wars have recently received Canadian versions, none has been as successful as The Amazing Race Canada.
Body Break duo fighting fit for Amazing Race CanadaBody Break duo fighting fit for Amazing Race Canada
Olympic golden boy Jon Montgomery to host Amazing Race CanadaOlympic golden boy Jon Montgomery to host Amazing Race Canada
Since it premiered July 15, the series has averaged just over 2.8 million viewers per episode and has been the most watched series in Canada, finishing well-ahead of competing reality shows like MasterChef and the American Big Brother as well as scripted dramas such as CBS’s Under the Dome.
“We had the fortunate opportunity to piggyback on an established formula,” says Montgomery. “I don’t know anything about the industry, but from what I’ve been told (the ratings are) ridiculous. It just doesn’t happen.”
But Montgomery is quick to add that a large part of its success stems from its all-Canadian setting and not just its link to its Emmy Award-winning counterpart.
With teams travelling inside instead of outside of Canada, Montgomery believes that even the proudest of Canadians have been able to take something new from each episode.
“All these things that people think they need to leave the country to experience — (it’s) merely an oversight on their part because it exists here within our own borders,” he says.
“I hope it will inspire people who spend their hard-earned dollars on travel and entertainment to spend it here at home because there is so much to be enjoyed and you don’t need to leave Canada to experience the world.”
As for who will be the first team to reach the finish line after Monday’s Toronto-centric episode, Montgomery’s lips are sealed.
“Canadians,” he teases. “Canadians win the show.”
Three things we learned
Canadians are too nice for reality TV: Since the show’s premiere, each of its nine teams have been accused of being too friendly in one situation or another. But while they may not be the most cutthroat players, Montgomery doesn’t believe it’s hindered their ability to remain competitive.
“I think Canadians are probably more tactful and a lot smarter than people give them credit for,” he says. “They recognize that they would be making enemies unnecessarily and that nobody had anything to gain.”
There’s no place like home: One of the biggest criticisms the show initially faced was its lack of international travel, unlike its U.S. counterpart. While watching teams struggle with cultural barriers has always been one of the series’ most entertaining aspects, The Amazing Race Canada taught us that you don’t need to travel the world to travel to exotic locations or discover different cultures.
“Every week (viewers) are surprised at what they’re seeing,” says Montgomery. “You don’t need to travel to China to experience Chinese culture. We have the largest Chinese population outside of China right in downtown Vancouver.”
Canadian pride: Some may credit the show’s cast for its success, while others may credit its premise, but the series’ greatest accomplishment comes from the fact that every episode reminds us of how proud we are to be Canadian.
“Canadians are who they are and I think we should embrace that and not try to change that,” says Montgomery. “We are celebrated for being known as peacekeepers and not war makers, for being polite, not belligerent.”
The three remaining teams
Tim Sr. and Tim Jr.: Having finished in last place twice, Winnipeg’s Tim Hague Sr. and Tim Hague Jr. could make history Monday night by being the first winning team to have taken advantage of both non-elimination legs of the race. Three years ago, Tim Sr. was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but the infectiously optimistic attitude that he and his son compete with makes them one of the race’s most inspirational teams.
Vanessa and Celina: Between their inability to understand directions and read a map, Ottawa sisters Vanessa Morgan and Celina Mziray had always seemed destined for a mid-race exit. That said, the always-bickering sisters have consistently finished ahead of most teams and have stepped up when they needed to, making them an intriguing underdog to win it all.
Cory and Jody: Since mid-season, it feels like Cory and Jody Mitic have dominated every leg of the race, finishing in first place more often than not. A former sniper for the Canadian forces in Afghanistan, Jody lost both of his legs below the knee after stepping on a landmine while one duty. With Cory having been by his side throughout his recovery, the emotional bond between the two brothers coupled with their physical prowess and calculated risk-taking makes them the team to beat going into Monday’s finale.