Toronto’s Sarah Wells and Sam Effah moved to first place in The Amazing Race Canada after a successful outing digging for clams at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station. (Photo courtesy CTV)

Toronto’s Sarah Wells and Sam Effah moved to first place in The Amazing Race Canada after a successful outing digging for clams at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station. (Photo courtesy CTV)

‘The Amazing Race Canada’ comes to Vancouver Island

Stops include Deep Bay Marine Field Station, WildPlay Element Parks and Horne Lake Caves

Tuesday night’s episode of The Amazing Race Canada brought its contestants to the Nanaimo area for the first time, where a team with a local connection leaped from fourth place to take the lead.

Sarah Wells and Sam Effah, a pair of Team Canada track athletes from Toronto, were last on the Island to compete at an international track event in Victoria. This was their first time in Nanaimo, where Wells has family.

“My cousin actually lives in Nanaimo and I have never gone there to visit her,” she said. “So it was fun once [last week’s] episode got aired she was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re coming to my city.’”

On the Nanaimo leg of the race, the teams of two completed a number of challenges that showed off the area’s parks, wildlife and natural beauty.

Amazing Race host Jon Montgomery said the Nanaimo area has a “treasure trove of flora, fauna and outdoor activities to keep people like the Amazing Race producers just noodling on endless possibilities to torture racers with.”

“It’s next level what we can achieve with what Nanaimo has to offer,” he said. “It’s pretty thrilling from both a visual perspective – what you can achieve from the shots and what it looks like – to great gameplay and being able to challenge these racers with lots of cerebral tasks, not just physical ones.”

Wells said she and Effah had a motivational word of the day they would “lean into” to help them through the competition and in Nanaimo it was “persistence.”

“We just kind of had this word in our head of ‘persistence’ that we were going to relentlessly pursue and push past every obstacle we faced, no matter what the challenge,” she said.

The first team to arrive in the Nanaimo Harbour via sea planes from Vancouver were Vancouver couple Aarthy Ketheeswaran and Thinesh Kumarakulasingam, winners of the previous two legs of the race. They said they’ve visited Victoria in the past but this was their first time in Nanaimo.

“It’s been on my list for a while now so it was really cool to get that opportunity on the race,” Ketheeswaran said.

Despite seeing sea planes all the time living in Vancouver, Kumarakulasingam said this was his first flight aboard one.

“It’s one of those funny things. When it’s in your backyard, you kind of just put it off and you never actually take the opportunity to do it,” he said. “So it’s something that I really wanted to do and to have the opportunity to do that was awesome.”

First the teams headed to Petroglyph Provincial Park, where they found the supplies they would need for the rest of the Nanaimo leg of the race. Next they were off to WildPlay Element Parks where the pairs split up with one doing a bungee jump and the other riding a giant “primal” swing. Once on solid ground they then had to correctly recite the recipe of a Nanaimo bar in order to get their next clue.

Amazing Race executive producer Mark Lysakowski said they’ve had bungee jumping on the show before, but this is the first time they’ve added a challenge to it.

“We’re like, ‘This is a great location, but how do you make it other than just a bungee? Because everyone can try this,’” he said. “So we added the classic Nanaimo bar. What are the ingredients in a classic Nanaimo bar, which is taking a bit of a renaissance lately. The New York Times calling it one of these great things, it’s got a stamp, Nanaimo bar is like a rock star.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo bar stamp makes it into Nanaimo Museum

As someone terrified of heights, Effah said the WildPlay challenge was a jump out of his comfort zone.

“Coming from Yellowknife where Sarah had to face her fear of jumping into the water, this was now me facing my fear jumping off a bridge,” he said.

“I was sad I couldn’t be there directly for him,” Wells said. “We couldn’t really do it together because we’re on opposite sides of the bridge.”

It took them two tries to get the recipe right and Effah said “Nanaimo bars will never be the same.”

Teams then journeyed to the Deep Bay Marine Field Station where they donned rubber boots and waders and were tasked with digging and correctly identify four different species of shellfish. Wells said it was their first time digging for clams and “we just so happened to be pretty good at it, apparently.”

“We knew leaving that challenge we were in first place and that was exciting,” she said.

Once the teams collected the right shellfish they were off to Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park, where they searched for hidden letters that spelled out the location of their pit stop: the Goats on the Roof Old Country Market in Coombs.

Lysakowski said the locations were chosen based on research and conversations with tourism agencies.

“I think it shows a great representation of the mid-east side of the Island in a nice cross-section. A little bit of everything,” he said. “There’s ocean, there are caves … and then of course there’s jumping off a bridge and the very popular goats on the roof.”

Effah said winning the Nanaimo leg was “definitely a strong point for us.”

“As athletes we’re disciplined, we work hard and even if we’re not maybe the best at any challenge or anything that comes our way, the thing that we can always count on is just working hard and being persistent…” he said. “There’s nothing that’s going to stop us. We get down, we get back up.”



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Missing woman’s remains recovered from Ladysmith harbour

The remains of a 60 year old woman were recovered after a boat fire took her life on Feb. 27

Ladysmith Secondary School. (File photo)
Ladysmith Secondary reports another COVID-19 exposure

This makes LSS the school with the most exposure days in the Island Health region currently

Plantitude’s ‘Stargazer Bubbles’. (Plantitude photo)
Plantitude offers ‘stargazer bubble’ dining experience

The 10 foot by seven foot bubbles can seat up to six people

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read