Amazing Race Canada recap: 'Tim Time!'

Sonya Bell explains why the final leg of the race was slightly unsatisfying


This afternoon at 1 p.m., Sonya Bell leads a live chat with two teams who captured many fans’ hearts. 

The Amazing Race Canada succeeded in uniting Canadians in the most unexpected way on Monday night: across the nation, everyone lost their office pool.

The three final teams — brothers Jody and Cory, sisters Vanessa and Celina, and father-son duo Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. — raced from Newfoundland to Toronto, where they rappelled down a 44-storey building and visited the giant pandas at the Toronto Zoo (the prime minister says hi!) It was an exciting leg, with each team in the lead at one point, only to lose it to someone else.

Host Jon Montgomery billed the finale as the culmination of what’s become “a race of the underdogs.” It’s a brilliant way to spin it. Everyone loves an underdog. Or six.

Looking all the way back to the first episode, you couldn’t have chosen a less likely trio of final teams. That first leg in Kelowna, Vanessa and Celina finished fifth; Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. were sixth; and Jody and Cory came seventh. There were nine teams competing.

“Time will tell, baby,” Tim Sr. insisted.

This lackluster start wasn’t hard to understand: Jody uses prosthetic legs and Tim Sr. has Parkinson’s disease. While Vanessa and Celina don’t have any obvious disadvantages … they didn’t have any obvious advantages either.

In Toronto, pleased with themselves for finding the clue at the panda exhibit right away, Celina boasted: “Our brains are good. We knew it was the koalas.” Thereby becoming the first person ever to confuse panda bears and koala bears.

As per the show’s tradition, all of the eliminated teams — from BodyBreak icons Hal and Joanne to Brett and Holly, the doctors you’d least want to see in an emergency room — were brought to the finish line at Toronto’s Olympic Island. Their contractual obligation: smile, clap and hoot for the winners. You have to wonder what went through their minds when they saw Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. come into view.

Related reading: Hal and Joanne are happy except for one edit 

Here’s the uplifting way to tell this story: a father-son team overcame Parkinson’s limitations together to win the first-ever Amazing Race Canada. At the finish line, Tim Sr. encouraged everyone to get up and move, and Tim Jr. calls him his hero. They did a final declaration that it’s “Tim Time!”

Here’s why it’s slightly less satisfying than that: until the finalé, Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. didn’t win a single leg of the race. They actually finished dead last two times; but by sheer, incredible luck, they were the show’s two non-elimination rounds. They also u-turned fitness icons Hal and Joanne, breaking many a Canadian heart.

No matter which way you see it, Team TimTim’s finish on Monday night was compelling. They were the last to arrive at the final challenge — which required them to identify the flag and flower of every province — but took only minutes to finish it. On the advice of his wife, Tim Sr. had been taking note of things like that along the way. Meanwhile, Cory took 21 attempts to match everything up correctly. He and Jody finished second, with Vanessa and Celina a close third.

The underdog phenomenon doesn’t appear to have hurt CTV’s ratings too badly: on the “After the Race” special that followed the finalé, Jon Montgomery announced that auditions will soon open for the Amazing Race Canada 2, which will premiere next summer.

As the winners, Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. nab $250,000 in cash, free Air Canada travel for a year, and a pair of Corvette Stingrays. They were led off stage at the end of the reunion episode to the cars, and zoomed away. It’s a feel-good moment. And then you remember they’re taking those beautiful vehicles back home to Winnipeg, Canada’s on-again, off-again auto-theft capital.

Best of luck, gentlemen.

For all of Sonya Bell’s coverage of The Amazing Race Canada, click here. 

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