Heading into the final leg of the Amazing Race Canada, Natalie Spooner and Meaghan Mikkelson found themselves in the nation’s capital of Ottawa. Of note, the last time the two were in Ottawa, they were part of the Canadian hockey team that competed at the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships. After a silver medal loss to the United States, the two were hoping that their return to Ottawa would provide them with winning redemption.
Beginning with kayaking on the Ottawa River, the final leg would prove to be a see-saw battle with the other teams. It was evident early on that the kayaking experience would take its toll on Mikkelson. Having gone through all eleven legs of Amazing Race Canada with a wrist that was still healing from an injury sustained at the Sochi Winter Games, Mikkelson looked to be in considerable pain as the team struggled to get the kayak in the water.
Despite arriving at the dock for the entrance of the Rideau Canal in second place, Spooner and Mikkelson were still very much in contention. The next step involved visiting Parliament Hill, where teams opened an envelope containing an important date in the history of Parliament.
Finding the book that corresponded to the date in question, it had to present it to an employee at the Library of Parliament. Unfortunately, Spooner and Mikkelson did not see the envelope, heading straight to the Library.
Still trailing in second place after correcting their steps and finding the envelope and book, Spooner and Mikkelson headed west of Ottawa towards Carp, Ontario, where the Canadian Cold War Museum (known affectionately as the Diefenbunker) would provide the next challenge. Spooner would take part, a move that would haunt the team afterwards.
While one team had already arrived at the Diefenbunker, Spooner had the opportunity to overtake them. Searching for three of five different military themed toys in a challenge called “Military Search”, Spooner overlooked two of the locations. There were toys in an incubator at the medical room and in a locker where sleeping quarters were located.
By the time Spooner finished the challenge, the first place team were on their way back to Ottawa as there was a Roadblock at the Museum of Civilization. As Spooner had engaged in the search at the Diefenbunker, Mikkelson was now obligated to participate in the Roadblock at the Museum.
Unfortunately, it was a physically demanding challenge that would place considerable strain on Mikkelson. Placed into a harness, Mikkelson faced a 60 foot obstacle, as she had to ascend to the top of the atrium. Once at the top, Mikkelson had to grab an envelope and head towards a nearby balcony.
Taking into account that Mikkelson’s hand was severely swollen with pain after the kayaking challenge, she could not hide the expression of pain on her visage as she ascended to the atrium. Natalie cheered a very brave Mikkelson on, as she refused to give up. Spooner would remark that seeing Mikkelson’s struggle on the ropes reminded her of how close they have grown over the race. Seeing her suffer through pain just to make it to the end and have a chance to win the race truly impressed her.
As the excitement continued to build as the race was in its final legs, Spooner and Mikkelson reached the National Art Gallery of Canada on historic Sussex Drive. A series of paintings would challenge the memories of all competitors as they needed to arrange them in chronological order, based on the places they visited. At one point, all three remaining teams were in the room, sorting frantically.
Sadly, another team would finish the sorting first, as Spooner and Mikkelson fell back to second place. Undeterred, they continued valiantly, refusing to give up. Just a few minutes later, they would successfully complete the sorting as they now had to go down Sussex Drive towards Rideau Hall, the residence of Canada’s Governor General (as a side note, both met the Honorable Gov Gen in 2013).
By the time they arrived to Rideau Hall, the first team was already on their way towards the grounds, arriving at the Pit Stop first, as eliminated competitors were cheering them on. Arriving at the Pit Stop seconds, holding hands with heads held high, Spooner and Mikkelson tried hard to hold back tears.
Spooner would express it was upsetting not to win but stated that no one could away take the experiences from them. Mikkelson expressed pride at how many legs they won and how strong they were throughout competition, also stating how proud she was to represent Canada.
Of note, host Jon Montgomery recognized the accomplishments of Spooner and Mikkelson throughout the season, telling them that they “crushed” the second season. Of note, the race would entail more than 44,000 kilometres, 814 air fares and 2135 hotel rooms while a remarkable new number of fans admired the greatness that is Spooner and Mikkelson.