Okay, so…. it seems like we were REALLY excited to share this post with you a few days ago, right??? WELL, we think it’ll be even better now WITH pictures! We’re sure by the end you’ll agree.
So if you’re a fan of Amazing Race, then you’d love Great Urban Race (GUR). And even if you don’t watch the show, you’d still love it because of the adventure you go on within your own city! We like to think of GUR as Amazing Race on a much smaller scale. We didn’t have to jump on planes and learn how to drive stick or say “please”, “thank you” or “FAST!” in various languages, but we still felt the pressure of time running out as we solved clues then literally raced around trying to complete challenges on a 5-hour scavenger hunt.
One thing’s for sure – it’s a great way to learn about how to get around your city! With TTC day passes purchased, we were set.
Teams had to sign-in or register at the start point at Fionn Maccool’s on University, and we did so as “The Glo-getters”. Once we were all gathered and settled, we were given the clue sheet which consists of 12 challenges. First order of excitement – we got numbers!
From the moment they yell “GO!”, the race was on. Teams madly ripped open the envelopes containging the clues and formed huddles then there was a hush over the entire area (mostly to ensure no one else heard you!) as everyone got to solving the puzzles. You had to solve clues to find out the addresses and then rush there to complete a challenge, and with each stop a picture had to be taken as proof.
Because ALL team members had to be in the pictures, you either had to be amazing at taking selfies or just stop random people on the street. We opted for the latter, so on top of learning about your city, you make many new random friends along the way. No biggie, Toronto is a great city. We’re happy to report that no one ran off with any cell phones.
We went from trying to find three people wearing blue jays jerseys to spotting various construction signs around the city to make connect four, or finding random items to make tic tac toe, and we enjoyed every moment.
Here’s an example of one of the clues:
“Are your (Irish) eyes having you see double? Surely not! To determine the two-digit address of your clue location, complete the following equation based on the Irish proverb below and head to this location for a challenge that leave you puzzled:
May the Irish hills caress you,
May her lakes and rivers laud you,
May the luck of the Irish enfold you,
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
[(Syllables in First Verse x Syllables in Third Verse) – Number of Times Any Word is Repeated] + (6) = Address: __ The Esplanade.
The answer was 70 – another Fionn Maccool’s location…. GET IT???? Seeing double… Irish….. HA!
We’d like to point out that at this very stop, we asked a team to take our picture after we’d completed our puzzle, and then they asked us to do the same. Our friend being ever so gracious agreed, only to realize in the haste they were taking a picture with OUR puzzle! So basically they cheated off us. Had Chris been closer or the one holding the camera, the result would have been much different. We decided to use our forum to show what a cheater looks like:
Nah, we won’t sink to their level! Anyway, we shook that off and continued on our missions, fighting until the very end to make it to all the locations after we’d decided to nix one of them (you were allowed to skip one mission and still be qualified). We ended up at St Lawrence Market, Kensington Market, Harbourfront, Sick Kids Hospital and Magic Lantern Theatres.
Coming down to the end, we saw participants passing us with medals and we thought for sure we were out of the running. But THEN, we returned to the check-in point only to discover EVERYONE got a medal! So a number AND a medal, you say? Well, that just about made our weekend.
We didn’t place to qualify for the finals, but that’s okay! It’s another cool experience right here in our great city, which is what TNL is all about. And THEN after we’d ranted and raved about it to everyone we knew, we received an email a few days later saying this was the last race in the city. WOMP. We had next year already planned out and everything! All in all, we’re glad that we didn’t pass up the opportunity.
Stayed tuned for more posts like this! There is SO much to do in the city, and we’re here to find it and share it with you!
Have you ever done something like this? What were your thoughts? Would you do it again? Tell us everything!