Amazing Race Canada: Iqaluit Episode Recap and Reality Check


The finale of the Amazing Race Canada aired this past Monday. As we watched the contestants make their way through a set of fairly boring tasks in Toronto (unwrapping chocolate bars and walking around the zoo), we reminded ourselves of the real reason we had watched the first season: the Iqaluit episode. And it wasn’t just the two of us; we had a dedicated team of viewers tune in each week. Our Iqaluit-themed viewing party even made the front page of the paper:

Watching the Amazing Race Canada Iqaluit episode.

Watching the Amazing Race Canada Iqaluit episode.

Unlike its globe-trotting American counterpart, Amazing Race Canada was not exactly covert with its Canada-specific filming. Perhaps the larger cities offered a bit more anonymity, but in Iqaluit almost everyone knew CTV had come to town. Maybe this was a smart move by producers, because it definitely added local anticipation as we watched the season unfold within our nation’s border.

Such is the case with us, at least. Ever since the five remaining Amazing Race Canada teams came to Iqaluit clad in their matching, fluorescent Canada Goose parkas, we Iqalummiut (people who live in Iqaluit) wondered, “What will our episode be like?”

The Verdict

If you haven’t yet seen the Iqaluit episode of Amazing Race Canada, you should. You can view it here.

Iqaluit’s time in the national spotlight was an entire 60 minutes, and boy did she shine. Filmed on a bright May day, sweeping panoramas illustrated the untamed glory of the Arctic tundra. The producers also integrated aspects of Inuit tradition and culture in a way that was tasteful and exciting.

The challenges the contestants had to complete weren’t easy: translating a phrase from Inuktitut to English, building an igloo, successfully throwing a harpoon, eating local country food, and even walking through the knee-high snow are definitely difficult tasks. For example, trying to make an igloo without knowing the main trick (build it in a spiral, not in layers) is near impossible.

However, these were not quite everyday activities. As they did in every location, the show’s producers chose activities that exemplified the territory or province, rather than revealing residents’ everyday experiences.

In response to that, we have compiled a list of real-life Iqaluit hurdles. Before you start thinking eating maktaaq is hard (it’s not; try it curried or Shake'n Baked), have a go at these standard trials of northern living:

  1. Navigate potholes in a sedan.
  2. Unpack a Sealift order.
  3. Get into the Legion on a Saturday night without a membership.
  4. Buy dinner for 4 at North Mart with $30. Bonus if none of the food is spoiled.
  5. Win a driveway shovel-off against Polarman.
  6. Learn all the words to “Mamaqtuq” by the The Jerry Cans.
  7. Book an Aeroplan flight to Ottawa in December.
  8. Speedbump: Cover a set of windows in tinfoil.
  9. Buy and/or sell a combination of 3 items on Iqaluit Sell/Swap. And finally...
  10. Pronounce “Iqaluit ” properly.

Do you have suggestions for other real-life northern challenges? Or have you gone through some of these trials yourself? Comment below or get at us on Twitter!