Ottawa Area Senior Branches Amazing Race

In October of 2005, my Senior Branches girls from Toronto had the opportunity to head off on a weekend adventure to Ottawa to join the Senior Branches there for a one-day-long Amazing Race. Modeled off the hit TV show, this day was non-stop action from beginning to end. We all had such a great time at this event that I thought it should be shared with everyone!

Many thanks go out to Nancy Kelly, who posted a summary of the event to the Guiding Mailing List, and of course to Janet Leith and the entire team of dedicated leaders in Ottawa Area who put the whole thing together.

Teams registered in groups of 3 to 5 girls. The Link team was all adults (of course), but the other teams were made up of girls only.

The exception to this was our Toronto teams - I think they had a Guider in each group (for extra safety and comfort).

The cost of the day was $10/person. This included a day pass for the transit system (if they needed one - some had monthly passes), all supplies needed along the way, pizza, cake, treats, and prizes.

From the starting point at a transit station, to the finish point at Guide House, they went to a total of 13 stations.

The teams took off as part of a mass start - just like the real show. Teams put their packs in shopping carts, which were lined up. We placed the first clue on top of the bags, put the teams behind a red/blue/yellow ribbon, and said "go!".

The stops (in order):

Ottawa Airport - find the two Inukshuks, and then report to a Guider.

Carleton University - find the Library, find an answer about a specific display, and then report to a Guider.

Carling Avenue O-Train station - find the Guider for the next clue.

Dows Lake - a detour:

Choice A - "Guns" - get a team total of 200 points by firing mini- marshmallows from a blowgun made with PVC piping at a target. Each team member had to take at least 2 shots.

Choice B - "Roses" - find a statue in the park where the Tulip Festival is celebrated. Each member had to put on gardening clothes (hat, gloves, clogs) and run a relay course - for a team total of 5 laps.

Ottawa Youth Hostel - formerly Carleton County Gaol - find info about the assassination of Thomas D'Arcy McGee, and report to a Guider.

Downtown Loop - teams were sent to one of 3 downtown spots. At each spot, they completed the task, collected a bracelet, and received a clue sending them to the next spot.

Spot A - Peace Keeping Monument - find an answer about the history of Canadians and Peace Keeping, and give it to the soldier on duty (a Guider, who also happens to be a Colonel in the Canadian Army who has served on Peace Keeping missions in Afghanistan).

Spot B - Parliament Hill - pick up a digital camera, and have your entire team photographed with 2 Queens, 2 Prime Ministers, and another famous person. Statues of all these are on the Hill.

Spot C - National Arts Centre - do a short performance for the Guider on duty (an Arts Trainer).

Once they collected all 3 bracelets, the next clue led them to the Canadian War Museum - they had to climb to the roof of the museum (open to the public) and find the biography of someone who served Canada in one of the World Wars. This information had to be taken down to a Guider stationed in the lobby of the museum. Teams then had to go into the chapel of the Unknown Soldier and stand for two minutes in respectful silence, then return to the Guider to receive the next clue.

Next stop was Trailhead - a local outdoor equipment store. All but one team member were blindfolded; the remaining member had to direct them in putting up a lightweight tent. The next clue was inside.

Next stop - Parkdale Market - an outdoor farmers' market. They had to find the marked stall and ask "Trick or Treat". After doing a trick, they were given their treat - a mini pumpkin, which they took to an adjacent park and decorated.

When that was done, they raced up the street to Guide House, jumped on the mat, and found out where they finished.

We ended up with 60 registered, 58 participants on 15 teams. All but one team completed the full Race; the team that didn't simply ran out of gas! They were brought back to Guide House, and joined in the fun at the end.

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