** Contains spoilers. Please do not read unless you've seen the finale of 'Amazing Race Canada.' **
They're the ultimate champions... who never won a single leg of The Amazing Race Canada, until it finally mattered.
When it came to matching provincial flowers to their respective flags and surviving two non-elimination legs, the father-son team from Winnipeg proved it was, well, showtime.
Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. finished first in the inaugural season of The Amazing Race Canada, and made sure to get their hands dirty along the way. They U-Turned fitness favourites Hal and Joanne in Regina (resulting in their competitive demise), shrewdly navigated through various airports, and certainly had luck on their side.
Yet, through it all, they conquered 23,000 km of cross-country Canadian travel as no other team could. Plus, they managed to cover the entire "287-hectare" Toronto Zoo and live to tell about it. I doubt any Torontonian has had a similar success story, especially when venturing in the Canadian Domain.
So, how did they do it? Tim-acity. (OK, I'm done. Promise.)
Travelling from Newfoundland to Toronto, the three remaining duos touched down near the T-Dot's under-construction Front Street at the exact same time. Soon after, three team members rappelled, face-first, down an unfinished, 34-storey skyscraper, but aside from Vanessa's panic and heavy breathing in extreme close-up, the Roadblock kept the pairs in lock-step with each other.
Tim Jr. finished scaling the glass giant first, but sisters Vanessa and Celina arrived at Toronto's Cadbury chocolate factory in the prime position. Citing an impressive commitment to her manicure, Vanessa was instructed to keep her gloves on during a task that required the teams to open as many Caramilk bars as possible before discovering its namesake secret, or in this case, a single gold bar.
The sisters' mini-lead was quickly squashed with the arrival of Jody and Cory, who began "opening [the bars] twice as fast, but not finding anything." Cut to the Tims, who rolled right in to the chocolate factory.
"Searching challenges are totally the luck of the draw," said Tim Jr. And right he was. After a couple of shots of Tim Sr. saying "I can't open them," mixed in with muttering, "Stupid Parkinson's," the duo found their golden bar, and was off to the Toronto Zoo, by taxi. During rush hour.
Still faithful to her painted nails, Vanessa continued to fumble with the Caramilks before getting into this delightful exchange:
"This is the one!" said Vanessa.
"I've been unwrapping chocolate since before you were born!" said Jody.
"Oh yeah?" replied Vanessa. "I was born chocolate."
"It's like going through and looking for men, eh?" said Celina.
"I know, but only one can give you $250,000," said Vanessa.
Ah, Canadian smack talk.
The brothers and sisters travelled to the zoo to meet up with the lost-in-space Tims, but Vanessa and Celina received an in-cab tip to check out the new giant panda exhibit. In other words, their cab driver put them on Panda Watch, as one does.
Meanwhile, the Tims, who sourced out the panda exhibit for the clue box first, could not find it, and ran around in circles. Sisters Vanessa and Celina b-lined straight for the pandas, followed closely by Jody and Cory, and soon, the teams were off to the Evergreen Brickworks for their final task, yet another Roadblock. As Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. frantically searched for the clue box and lost their one-hour lead, the Ottawa-based sisters hopped into their waiting cab and took off for their next destination, leaving Jody and Cory in their dust for precious minutes. Vanessa quickly proved to be, well, herself, saying the team knew where the clue would be "because our brains are good -- they knew it was [with the] koalas!" Sigh.
At Evergreen Brickworks, one team member was tasked with matching each province's and territory's flag with its corresponding flower, which were subtly on display at each Pit Stop. A frustrating task, both Cory and Celina were neck-and-neck for several attempts -- culminating in Celina correctly pointing out one of 10 corresponding matches ... on her 16th try.
She later asked her nine-years-younger sister if she could quit the task and take a two-hour time penalty, only to have Vanessa reply back sassily, "Tim and Tim are lost at the zoo for an hour and a half but you're giving up over flowers?" After all, who quits on the final leg, unless its Philly deep-dish pizza?
But, it was here where things started to get suspicious, at least from a story editing point of view. After catching up to Cory and Celina nearly an hour later, a clean-shaven Tim Sr. (and Tim Jr.) told the cameras in a confessional that he first noticed the provincial flowers when in Kelowna, B.C., back in the first episode. He proceeded to correctly identify each flag in flower in just two attempts, leaving the other teams completely dumbfounded. What made this particularly interesting was that, interspersed within the rest of the episode, were other talking head moments of the Tims in their Race-centric scruff. But, I digress.
Besides, as Cory pointed out, Tim Sr. is older, "[so] he pays attention to this s--t." Indeed, and as he should: that's smart racing, especially in a Canadian adaptation of an American reality juggernaut.
The Tims successfully caught the ferry to Olympic Island and raced to the final Pit Stop, and were greeted by the raucous cheers of their fellow racers, even U-Turn rivals Hal and Joanne. Maybe it was just me, but seeing Jet and Dave and Brett and Holly at the mat made me yearn for an alternate final matchup. Just me? Not that there's anything wrong with Jody and Cory or Vanessa and Celina, but is it wrong that I just want to watch more of the Race after such a stellar first season?
Still, there's no denying the Tims had what it takes to win. From the first experience with the team at the trestle bridge in Kelowna, B.C., watching Tim Sr. conquer his early-onset Parkinson's, it was clear that he was willing and eager to fight. It was easy to root for the two, even with their cutthroat attitude and win-at-all-cost gameplay, which made them exciting in spite of their continuous directional challenges.
With record-shattering ratings, impeccable production values and Season 2 on the way, there's no doubt we'll be seeing more from The Amazing Race Canada, and hopefully, it will just keep getting better, and will keep Canadians glued to the end of their seats.