Amazing Race Canada winners guided by ’16 angels’ this season

‘We wanted to do this for those 16 beautiful angels who are watching us from above,’ Calgarian Ty Smith says following epic finish

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Watching back through the latest season of The Amazing Race Canada, Season 9 winners Ty Smith and his partner Kat Kastner were struck at how quick their fellow competitors were to form alliances against them.

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“You know, we were surprised watching it,” Kastner said alongside Smith, a survivor of the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash tragedy, following their big win this week. But she isn’t holding the strategic moves against any of the teams who worked together to try and get them ousted earlier in the Race.

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“When it comes down to it, it’s a competition and we have nothing but respect for the other competitors,” she said diplomatically.

Tuesday’s finale saw Smith and Kastner, who are both 25, racing to the finish line in Halifax against Calgarian Tyler Turner and his girlfriend Kayleen Vandervee, and Winnipeg pals Ben Chutta and Anwar Ahmed.

“Tyler and Kayleen were such beasts and Ben and Anwar were so smart; we loved racing against them. We genuinely wanted them in the finale with us,” Kastner said.

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Watching the behind-the-scenes was “surprising,” Kastner said with a smile. “But we’re happy it worked in our favour.”

Ahead of the Race, the couple has said they were competing for all those affected by the shocking 2018 tragedy, in which a semi crashed into a bus carrying the junior hockey team, killing 16 people and injuring 13 others, including Smith.

“Grief is a crazy journey,” Smith said. But the Calgarian added that he and his girlfriend used his survival as fuel throughout the cross-Canada trek. Now that it’s done, the former hockey player said he’s left with feelings of immense gratitude.

“I think for the 29 families, especially the 16 families, I would say, ‘Thank you for letting us race in their honour,’” he said. “It’s easy to say, but the gratitude we both feel — to feel that kindness and support — it goes such a long way. Canadians are amazing and we have felt that. We wanted to do this for a lot of people in our lives, and we wanted to do this for those 16 beautiful angels who are watching us from above and we did feel that energy and that guidance and support that they were giving us as well.”

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Ty Smith and Kat Kastner
Ty Smith and Kat Kastner celebrate their Amazing Race Canada win in Halifax. Photo by CTV

In the final challenge, Smith and Kastner were the first pair to complete a 25-clue crossword puzzle based on previous locations and tasks of the reality series’ ninth season.

Starting out on day one, though, the duo said that they didn’t have an overarching strategy that helped them come in first place. In hindsight, that helped them, Kastner said.

“Really, our strategy was to go in there and have fun. We were grateful for the opportunity and maybe that worked out to be the best strategy because we weren’t overthinking it,” she said. “We just wanted to have fun every day and enjoy the experience. That worked out well for us.”

Ironically, the team Kastner felt was their strongest competition — Gracie Lowes and Lily Bateman — didn’t make it to the finale, but it just went to show that “there were some really strong teams this season.”

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Smith and Kastner were divided on how much being lucky played into their success.

“Getting Eddie as our cab driver in Halifax was crucial. There could have been a lot of things that happened that day for us to not get Eddie, but my mom is a firm believer in everything happening for a reason,” he said. “As you can imagine, I’m not fully there yet, but there are a lot of moments from the Race where we both said, ‘Wow, that really did happen for a reason.’”

“Luck is such an interesting part of the Race,” Kastner added. “While we maybe had a little luck, there was some bad luck too and that’s why you really have to challenge yourself. You grow more from not getting those lucky bounces, but it’s sure nice when you catch one.”

After crossing the finish line first to meet the show’s host Jon Montgomery, the pair took home a $250,000 cash prize, a round-the-world trip and two Chevrolet trucks.

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Ty Smith and Kat Kastner meet Amazing Race Canada host Jon Montgomery in Halifax.
Ty Smith and Kat Kastner meet Amazing Race Canada host Jon Montgomery in Halifax. Photo by CTV

Smith says the hardest leg was when Racers touched down in Toronto. “The toughest challenge was the OCAD pole climb — that’s Canada-wide known at this point,” he said, smiling. But he was quick to add that every task pushed the couple out of their comfort zone.

“So now to look back and see things we were able to complete … there was so many moments of triumph.”

With both Smith and Kastner vocal mental health advocates, they will be donating a portion of their winnings to charity. Their round-the-world vacation starts later this month when they visit Europe.

Smith, a noted sneakerhead also plans to hunt down the nearest Jordan store to “find the perfect pair.”

Of course, all of Canada was expecting Smith to propose to Kastner after they were first to arrive on the mat at Point Pleasant Park. He promises a ring is on the way sooner rather than later.

“All I’ll say is that my brother did it pretty recently and we’ll let him have the spotlight,” Smith said, laughing. “We’ll learn first from all the weddings that we’ll have to go to this year.”

Season 9 of The Amazing Race Canada is available to stream now on, the CTV app and Crave

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