Ty Smith, a Public Speaker and Mental Health Advocate, and Kat Kastner, a client success Specialist, from Calgary, were the winning team from the 9th season of The Amazing Race Canada.
The TV Watercooler had a chance to speak with Ty and Kat following their big to discuss some of their favourite places from the race, what they’ve learned about themselves – and each other, and who they viewed as their biggest threats.
How does it all feel now? Has it sunk in yet that you can actually tell all the people in your lives that you’ve won The Amazing Race Canada!
Ty: I think the biggest thing is that yes, we can talk about [the win] and be involved in the conversation [about the show]. It’s not really as much a weight off your shoulders, but it’s just more of a release.
We’ve been sitting on this [news] all summer, and to have it out there now is just such a relief because we can actually just enjoy it now with everyone.
Was it exciting seeing your family and friends watch the season as it went along?
Kat: Yes, I think one of the biggest things that we really enjoyed was just seeing their genuine reactions. My best friend’s mom in particular where any time something would happen, she’d text and it was [great] to read the natural and genuine reaction [to what was going on in the episode].
Ty: [Hearing from loved ones] was probably one of our favourite aspects of it.
How long were you two dating or know each other before doing the show?
Ty: Almost five years now. So, we’ve got a good foundation. We’ve travelled [together] before, but we still experienced some growing pains here and there. But other than that, we loved [doing this show together].
What made you decide to try out for The Amazing Race Canada?
Kat: I think it was just that we wanted to challenge ourselves in a way that we haven’t really been challenged before. We both played sports growing up and it’s not that race is a sport, but you’re just challenged in such a way that you’ve never been challenged before.
We wanted to see how we worked as a team…and it worked out in our favour!
Were you a fan of the show?
Kat: Yes, we were fans of the show as well!
Ty: I respect everybody [who has been on the show] even more now because we’ve actually lived through it. It’s fascinating to be able to be part of it and to look back at how much of a well-oiled machine it is. [The show] also really puts you out there and challenges you in such a specific way.
I know you mentioned that there were some growing pains. What did you learn the most about each other during the race?
Ty: I’ve kind of boiled it down to two words: communication and patience. For me, I’m always stubborn when it comes to communication, so the race put me in a place where I couldn’t be stubborn with my communication.
You have to let your partner know how you’re feeling and you have to respect [not only] their boundaries, but what they’re going through, and also try to figure out a way to recognize when they need you to communicate, when they need you to be patient, and when they need you to step up – it just challenges you in such a unique way, especially from a relationship aspect.
We both got a lot of enjoyment out of seeing each other prosper, do well, and be successful [at the challenges] but I also recognize that there were definitely times when we’d hit our breaking points and hate the lows. It made me look at how we can reshape our mindset as a pair as keep going.
Kat: I also think that the one thing I learned about Ty was how much he liked performing. He’s a good performer. We learned a ton about ourselves in terms of our relationship, but on the surface level, by watching Ty with memorization and performances, I had no idea that he would ever become a performance star!
Ty: I really didn’t either. I didn’t think I had it in me! But once you’re in those positions, I think your inner child comes out, or your inner theatre kid.
One of the biggest things I really enjoyed about Kat was just how good she is in pressure situations. Especially on that last crossword puzzle! [During that challenge] I was so drawn to the other teams and how we stacked up against them. Kat was able to bring me back down and keep me grounded and balanced again.
What was the hardest leg to compete in?
Ty: I think the hardest one was definitely in Toronto. It’s where we hit our breaking point in so many ways – physically, mentally, and emotionally. It really tested our partnership as well.
And that whole climb, I think was really the toughest part for us, and then losing the face-off, and facing a penalty as well. It was just two back-to-back tough spots to be in. But we’re glad that we powered through.
From Whistler to Halifax, you get to see a lot pretty quickly. I know you didn’t get to see much but are there any highlights or favourite places?
Ty: Winnipeg was an awesome start. Starting the race with snow was fun. Being [home] in Calgary was awesome, but I also really enjoyed Smithers. The people were great [there] and it’s a stunning area of British Columbia… But then, you can’t really beat Whistler or Tofino!
I’ve never been to Vancouver Island, Whistler, or Tofino, so I think actually getting to experience those places, even for one day or two during a challenge was great. [I think back to when] we were in the Ocean and I really enjoyed that boat ride. I remember looking around and going, “This is amazing.” I want to go back there.
We also have such a special place in our hearts for Halifax now as well. But yeah, I think there was a lot of sightseeing that you forget to do while you’re competing!
Kat: Tofino was so special. I’m a West Coast girl at heart. On that boat ride seeing the Ocean –was just a part of Canada that I had never seen before. You don’t really feel like you’re in Canada when you’re there. It was so beautiful. I have a special place in my heart for Tofino.
Would Tofino be the place you guys would want to go back and see as tourists?
Ty: Definitely! Honestly, even Niagara-on-the-Lake was stunning! I was teased with so many golf courses and I’d like to go back to Big Sky in Pemberton, or the one in Niagara, which is the oldest golf course in North America.
Speaking of places, you won some great prizes! Let me see if I can remember them all correctly! You won four trips! There’s Berlin, Lisbon, Athens and Rio, correct? But then you also won the grand prize, which includes a trip around the world. Have you tried to book everything yet or figure out how you’re going to do all this?
Ty: Maybe not everything yet, but we’re actually headed to Portugal, Greece, and Italy! We’re leaving on Thursday. We’re going to hop on the plan and I think we’ll be over there for about three weeks. We’re going to do all that we can.
Who did you view as your biggest threat?
Ty: I think that throughout the race, we originally came into it with no expectations and I remember seeing the teams for the first time and thought we’re in deep!
Originally, we had our rivalry with Derek and Jaspal and despite what it may have looked like on TV, we enjoyed it! It was one of our favourite bits from the first half of the race just because it was such a friendly banter and friendly rivalry. There are so many little memories that we have from that.
Gracie and Lily really surprised us. They were strong and super smart.
We honestly did want to run the finale with Tyler and Kaylene and Ben and Anwar. We could go on and on about every team… Deven and Amanda were just amazing [as well] and were like the mom and pop of the group. They were always so supportive, but also very intense and good at what they do.
Is there a team that you wish you had gotten to know a little better?
Kat: Maybe… I mean, it’s nice because we did get to know everyone pretty well, except for maybe Allie and Eddie. We didn’t have enough time to get to know them.
When it came to rivalries, Gracie and Lily were at the top of my list. Those two are the smartest girls I’ve ever met in my life! And when they were out, we were just shocked. And to have to lose them and Derek and Jaspal right away, it just kind of switched things up a bit. I wish we got a little bit more time with both of those teams just because we had so much fun racing against them, and Gail and Gisele, and Allie and Eddie as well.
Are you both fans of Reality TV? Did you also watch Big Brother or The Traitors?
Ty: I’ve got to watch The Traitors [Canada]! I was never a big reality TV person until I met Kat, and now it’s interesting watching Reality TV after being part of it and actually experiencing reality TV – you almost dissect it all too much, but I really enjoy it.
Although, I don’t think I’m cutthroat enough to be on Big Brother! I respect anyone who does that show, but during The Amazing Race Canada, I was just so ignorant to the fact that maybe there were people plotting against us! I was like “Oh, no! We’re all friends. Everybody loves everybody!” And I mean, it’s true… We did have so much love and respect for everybody.
I think I’m going to have to tune in for The Traitors Canada and we are stocked to watch the new season of The Amazing Race [U.S.].
We were so happy when The Amazing Race Canada was renewed for season 10. We’ll watch it with a completely difference lens.
Kat: I love Reality TV. We love Below Deck! There’s also 90 Day Fiancé and a couple of Real Housewives!