Amazing Race Canada’s Jon Montgomery: all this and Aeromiles, too

Who will be the second couple eliminated on The Amazing Race Canada? Race resumes Monday night at 9 p.m., with CTV no doubt hoping many of the three million viewers who sampled last week’s first episode are already hooked.
I spoke with host Jon Montgomery back in June at CTV’s Toronto Upfront. The beer-gulping Gold Medalist told me it was a couple of family members who urged him to go for the TV gig: We spoke about how executive producer John Brunton at Insight Productions urged Montgomery to get involved physically in some of the Race challenges as sort of a demo pro for viewers at home.

Jon Montgomery: That’s an aspect I think that was important to John and the crew–to give this a uniquely Canadian feel and have it be, not just a wanna-be Canadian version of an American show. This is something that is stand-alone all by itself. They wanted to make it somehow intrinsically different and so, I think that having a host that was going to get his hands dirty a little bit and get involved in some of the fun was one thing that they were really focusing on trying to address.
Bill Brioux: I’ve been lucky having opportunities to travel just covering television across Canada, and my goodness, it’s a beautiful country. What was it that impressed you most during the making of the show?
Jon: The people. The people that you get to encounter along the way. Obviously, I think Canadians are well aware that we’ve got a pretty incredible country, but I think what makes it even more special than just beautiful landscapes and great natural resources, are the people. The people make the country and we’ve got the greatest of everything. We’ve got the greatest folks in the world. It’s not something that was lost on me before, but it just solidified it a bit. The people in Canada make it a great place to call home.
BX: And you can’t be specific, I guess, about where you visited, but, were you in eight of the ten provinces…is there any kind of a ballpark you can put on it?
Jon: We crossed the whole country from coast to coast to coast – we got it covered, and Canadians are, regardless of where you live, you’re going to see an element of home when they show this TV show, for sure.
BX: Were you able to keep the air miles?
Jon: I was. Yes. Thank you Air Canada!
BX: Obviously, there must have been times when you had to throw people off the scent. Do you have stories about people asking if you were shooting The Amazing Race?
Jon: Yeah, we would just say we’re shooting a travel show or a food show or whatever and, people would see some of the iconic markings of the show and know. Those were obviously the fans and the people that…they don’t want to spoil it for themselves either, so, I think people were really respectful most of the time of what was going on, and trying not to let secrets out.
BX: Do you find, since Vancouver, people want to buy you a beer all the time?
Jon: They sometimes want to buy me a pint, and it’s definitely referenced a lot in conversation, especially when you’re getting to know people. They’ll say, “You’re the beer guy,” or something of that nature…and I’m quite happy with that.

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