It might be the first time anyone has ever travelled from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Haida Gwaii to Prince Rupert to Hamilton.
But that’s what the seven remaining teams did in last Tuesday’s episode of The Amazing Race Canada.
After Rupertites got a chance to see the contestants fly through the North Coast city in May, it’s been a long, anticipated wait for the airing of the episode that featured Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert in a rare chance for national exposure.
Tourism Prince Rupert and the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corporation offered Rupert residents the chance to view the episode on the big screen at the Lester Centre of the Arts live at 8 p.m.
Representatives from Destination BC, Northern BC Tourism and The Amazing Race Canada were on hand to thank the collaborative effort from all the stakeholders involved to make the episode a success and to offer a little insight into just what goes into the making of such a travel-intensive show.
“Logistically, it’s a very challenging show. As you can see we had two sets of sponsored cars, one set that had to be delivered to Haida Gwaii, which was a military endeavour in its own right, and of course the set of cars here (Chevrolet Camaros), which I learned was very difficult to hide from all you nosy people,” said the episode’s producer Anne Camilleri in a Q and A session after the episode.
The city was set abuzz in the spring when eight shiny, brand new Camaros were parked in the Rupert auto-mall, driving speculation the show would eventually make its way here this season.
During the episode, the teams visited Skidegate and had to identify six totem poles and their carvers. From there, the seven duos went to Spirit Lake Trail to piece together puzzles of traditional Haida art designs. From there, the teams took a seaplane from Queen Charlotte City to Prince Rupert, where the teams delivered marked timber rafts to a checkpoint with Rupert Coast Sort.
The seven teams ended the leg of the race by checking in at the North Pacific Cannery in Port Edward.
The team of best friends Kelly and Kate were eliminated by arriving last, and dating couple Steph and Kristen won the leg. On the next episode, the teams flew to Hamilton, ON, where Prince Rupert again made a brief cameo when teams flew out of the airport from the North Coast at the beginning of the show.
B.C. Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training spoke via a prepared video to the audience last week and said The Amazing Race Canada is a great opportunity to showcase the beauty of B.C.
“I was thrilled when I heard that Destination BC had secured filing for The Amazing Race Canada in Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii … B.C.’s tourism sector is thriving right across the province and is a key economic driver in our growing economy,” she said.
Camilleri ended the session by hinting in an answer that the show may just take longer than it appears as some North Coast residents noted that contestants stayed in Prince Rupert for longer than the day that the leg took place. As well, Camilleri noted there was no backup plan if contestants encountered rough weather from Haida Gwaii to Prince Rupert, and showrunners were fortunate to have great weather while filming in northwest B.C.
“It’s stories like this that help set the precedence and foundation for us in ensuring we secure film production in northern B.C.
“We’re very proud to add it to the list of high-profile productions that continue to happen in northern British Columbia,” said Clint Fraser, CEO of Northern BC Tourism and Film Office.