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Amazing Race does Toronto

As a longtime fan of the globetrotting American reality series The Amazing Race - which has featured such exotic cityscapes as Dubai, Lucknow, and Saint Petersburg - I naturally assumed that eventually, Toronto would play temporary host to a flock of teams on their way to the million dollar finish line. I just also assumed that when it happened, I would have heard about it.

No such luck! When the three finalist teams in last night's season finale of Race landed at Toronto Island Airport (a "blind destination" that even the teams were not told about), I was as surprised as they were.

As often seems to be the case when Americans visit our fair city, hilarity ensued. Teams were thoroughly stymied by being told to locate "La Tour CN," and were heard to muse aloud if the artifact might be somehow related to the CN Tower. We got to hear Queen's Quay pronounced phonetically, see a clue box hidden in the port lands, and watch one luckless team try to get from Cherry Beach to the Bata Shoe Museum based only on local directions ("take Parliament; turn left") and the whims of midday traffic.

Had I known they were in town, I might have done something to trip the despicable Weaver family, who have spent the entire race making enemies, asserting their own superiority, and doing more to damage Christianity's image than the entire popular backlash against The Passion of the Christ. Fortunately, it didn't matter; their dalliance in T.O. bought the muscle-brained Linz family a much-needed lead, which they carried straight to the finish line on the American side of the Niagara River.

On the whole, this season of Race has been rather startlingly poor, given that for the past two or three years, it's easily been the best reality series on the air. Still, it was great to watch the season wrap up in our home town, and to be reminded that if you're racing around the world for a million bucks, we may not live in Montreal or Mumbai, but our city's just as confusing as the next one.


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