It’s been a long COVID-19 hiatus for The Amazing Race Canada but the show is finally back with Season 8 (premiering July 5 at 9:00 p.m. ET on CTV, CTV.ca and the CTV app), with host Jon Montgomery teasing that this year’s teams are “super competitive.”
“Super competitive, really smart, really bright,...really fit,” Montgomery told Yahoo Canada. “This isn't a group that sat around during COVID.”
“They showed up ready, they're motivated,...they don't need this illustrious prize and glorious title to inspire them, while it's encouraging. They're doing it for the love of the game. Being ultra competitive and wanting to test their mettle against the best. So I would say they're as competitive as any group of racers has ever been.”
The Amazing Race Canada champions will receive two first-ever Chevrolet Silverado ZR2’s, a trip for two around the world courtesy of GURU Organic Energy and a $250,000 cash prize.
What makes a team successful on 'The Amazing Race Canada'?
If you (like us) are excited to sit down and watch Canada’s popular reality competition show, you’re not alone, Jon Montgomery is right there with you. Even though he gets to be involved in a significant part of the show, there are still those more personal moments with the teams that he can’t wait to watch unfold with the rest of us.
“I get to…revel in all that I didn't see,” he said.
“All I saw was the end result and these people show up at the mat with me, and well, that's a small part of the show… I get to watch the rest of it as a superfan, just like the rest of the Canadians that treasure it.”
When it comes to strategy, The Amazing Race Canada has shown that it’s kind of the great equalizer of competitions, a seemingly very physical game, but also mentally challenging, and working well as a team can be a total dealbreaker.
“Just because you look like you can grind it out physically,...doesn't necessarily, or even at all, lend itself to being equipped to be successful at The Amazing Race Canada,” Montgomery explained. “You have to have a strong relationship and have a mindset in which you're not trying to grind your way through everything.”
“While it is necessary to work hard, it's more important to slow down, to think constructively, to actually read the words that are in a clue, on the page right in front of you, as opposed to getting all up in your head… Those are the hallmarks of a successful team.”
Looking back at this season’s teams, and the teams of the past, ultimately the contestants and their motivations for being on the show have left a lasting impression on The Amazing Race Canada host.
“The truth is, I'm wickedly inspired by these folks,” Montgomery said. “These people are forthright, they're candid, they can express themselves and they have already proven themselves to be good communicators, with some flair.”
“It's not surprising that they all leave an imprint on me and I share this space with them… The Amazing Race Canada and this formula is so real because the outcomes are not contrived… The way that the racers run it, the experiences they have, the human story of the journey is bananas.”
'We're Canada's favourite summer show and with good reasons'
With so many years of The Amazing Race Canada, Jon Montgomery believes that part of what gives the show its lasting power is attributed to the seasonality of the experience.
“We only get it once a year, whereas the other iterations, especially the one that has popularized them all, which is the U.S. version, there's two a year, and so for that very nature, that it's just sort of like the maple syrup run that happens once a year in this small little window of time that we call Canadian summer,” he explained. “So over the 10 weeks that the show is on the airwaves, Canadians are undoubtedly enjoying the best part of our northern climate, which is our very lovely summer.”
“I don't know if we're the baked beans in the family picnic during the summertime but definitely whichever one is favourite because, dammit, we're Canada's favourite summer show and with good reasons, and that's why I happily wear a smile on my face while getting to be a part of it, for the little bit that I am.”
For Montgomery, spending years uniquely experiencing Canada to host The Amazing Race Canada, the moments that he got to share with his wife have been the most special.
“She's not a part of the show so much as she is a part of my team, which makes my part in the show possible, and without her none of that, which I get to selfishly enjoy for the period that it takes to make, would be possible,” he said. “I didn't get to experience anything but the finish line with her this year, which I certainly treasured after it was a long five weeks, it’s the most that we've spent apart since I think one point in our tobogganing days back in the early part of our relationship.”
“It was a long window and with the two littles, that is a lofty ask of anybody. So when I get to think back, it's those moments, both in Canada, up north, on the east coast and then abroad, a couple of experiences were fun as well. So those are the ones that I really treasure.”
That being said, Montgomery said his wife would have to be his partner if he ever competed on the show, but admits that they would be “terrible.”
“I can't ever be honest and say that we’d do well,” he said. “It'd be navigation and it'd be drama and a whole bunch of BS, but that would be our hurdle.”
Meet ‘The Amazing Race Canada’ Season 8 Teams
Jully Black & Kathy Hunter
JUNO Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and actor/producer, 44-year-old Jully Black, and close friend 41-year-old Kathy Hunter from Regina, are competing in The Amazing Race Canada in memory of their late mothers.
Beverley Cheng & Veronica Skye
Beverley Cheng, a 30-year-old Toronto fitness entrepreneur and content creator, and Veronica Skye, a 32-year-old travel marketing professional and run club leader from Vancouver, are competitive best friends, hoping to be the second all-female team to win the show.
Jesse Cockney & Marika Cockney
Olympian/student, 32-year-old Jesse Cockney, and 29-year-old Marika Cockney, an actor/performer/content creator, both from Canmore, Alta., are competing to represent the Inuit population of Canada.
Cedric Newman & Tychon Carter-Newman
Cedric Newman, a 50-year-old comedian/mechanic, and his 30-year-old son Tychon Carter-Newman, a content creator/motivational speaker, hope to be the first team from Montreal to win The Amazing Race Canada and “are in the race for every Black father and son across the country.”
Court Larabee & Ali Clark
Dating couple, 39-year-old Siginaak (Blackbird) Court Larabee from Whistler, B.C., the executive director of a sports academy for Indigenous youth, and 33-year-old Ali (Bear) Clark from Fernie, B.C., a visual artist and coach at a sports academy for Indigenous youth, have joined The Amazing Race Canada “to be positive role models for Indigenous youth.”
Franca Brodett & Nella Brodett
Sisters who go by the name “Franella,” 32-year-old Franca Brodett and 30-year-old Nella Brodett, both from Edmonton “are racing for the Filipino and immigrant community across Canada.”
Brendan McDougall & Connor McDougall
Brendan McDougal, a 29-year-old sales representative, and his 26-year-old younger brother Connor, who works as an elementary school teacher, both from McDougall, Ont., promise to be “the life of every party.”
Dennis Ashe & Durrell Borden
Competitive uncle-nephew team, Dennis Ashe, a 42-year-old youth development teacher, and Durrell Borden, a 33-year-old law student and community leader, both from Halifax, are “passionate about being positive role models in their community.”
Catherine Wreford Ledlow & Craig Ramsay
Catherine Wreford Ledlow, 42 from Winnipeg, and 45-year-old Craig Ramsay from Windsor, Ont., long-time best friends and Broadway performers, are ready to beat the odds in Season 8 of The Amazing Race Canada.
Cassie Day & Jahmeek Murray
Engaged Toronto couple Cassie Day, a 31-year-old entrepreneur/personal trainer, and Jahmeek Murray, a 32-year-old firefighter/personal trainer, are athletic, energetic and bring “big smiles” to the competition.