A hit BBC reality series shows how tough it is to get around northern B.C. without a car. Plus, celebrating Prince Geoge dudes who just help out
Also: Will 'the smell of money' disappear with the pulp mill winding down? And the province has effectively stopped monitoring COVID-19 in northern B.C.
The premise: Teams of two are dropped into an unfamiliar part of the world and have to get from point A to point B, hundreds of kilometers apart. They can’t fly, can’t drive themselves and they can’t use phones or the internet to navigate.
That’s the formula behind Race Across the World, a hit BBC television series that just started its third season which takes place entirely in Canada. And episode one saw the five teams dropped in Vancouver and told they had to make their way to Haida Gwaii only to quickly discover that public transit from the south to the north of the province… isn’t really a thing:
Hat tip to James Hansen for these captions and for making me aware of this program.
Three of the five teams make their way to Vancouver Island to try and catch the ferry only to hilariously find out it only leaves once a week, while two make their way inland — one via Whistler and the other via Merritt, inexplicably referred to as both a “tourist hot spot” and the “country music capital of Canada.” I shared my discovery of this show with my colleague Justin McElroy who has written his take on what all of this says about the sorry state of connecting our province so I’m just going to focus on the adventures of the above team, who are referred to as Zainib and Mobeen (no last names are used on the program).
They figure going straight north will be the best way to get to Prince Rupert and after getting some bad advice from a guy in Vancouver, do so by heading through Whistler, at which point they find out there are not transit options from Whistler to Prince George. So they hitch a ride in the parking lot and then make their way to Prince George where they do the same thing outside the gas station at the Costco:
Here, they meet a guy named Corey who informs them getting a ride to Prince Rupert is a big ask — it’s a full day’s drive, he says! — only to then offer to do it for $500 which he quickly drops to $250. What was he going to be doing today, Zainib asks him. Not much, he says — it was going to be a nature day but this will be a good alternative.
What follows is a moment that in my readings of the UK press has become a fan favourite: Corey (who the Guardian says should be played by Seth Rogen in a movie) tells Zainib and Mobeen that it was an annual tradition for him and his dog to mark this day by jumping in a lake but his dog died, so taking these two strangers for a drive is a good alternative. Mobeen offers to jump in a lake with him, if he’d like that, and they do —- pulling over along the side of the road and taking what has to have been a chilly dip:
Zainib and Mobeen are actually lined up to be interviewed on CBC Daybreak North on Tuesday morning and I’m really hoping they can help us get in touch with Corey (in interviews, the pair say they are still in touch with him) because he seems like a fun guy and it’s awesome that he’s become a bit of a UK celebrity out of this short appearance. Unfortunately, Race Across the World doesn’t air in Canada but here’s a secret spot you can watch the full first episode (don’t say I never did anything for you), or you can see the Prince George/Costco/Corey/lake segment on BBC’s YouTube channel:
More dudes in the right place at the right time
I’m a big fan of the guy who showed up to get an award from the RCMP dressed like this:
He’s Robert Wheeler and the fellow on the left is Wilmer Salaza. Both were being honoured for jumping out of their cars and helping an RCMP officer who was being attacked. Salaza was teaching his kid to drive at the time. Dudes rock!
Ooh that smell/Can't you smell that smell?
I’ve seen the question of what the wind down of the pulp line at Prince George Pulp and Paper will do for “the smell of money” in the city, so wrote about it here. It also gave me an excuse to share this image from the 2015 Hometown Project art exhibit:
The province has effectively stopped monitoring COVID-19 in northern B.C.
In a series of announcements yesterday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province will no longer be updating COVID-19 information for northern B.C. Actually, they didn’t say that, but they did say this:
“Starting Thursday, the BCCDC's weekly situation reports on respiratory illness will decrease to biweekly, and B.C. won't update the COVID-19 dashboard after April 20.”
For quite a while, that dashboard was about the only source of information the public was allowed to have on how COVID-19 was spreading locally, but they won’t be telling us that anymore, I guess. Instead there’s going to be more reliance on wastewater data, which the province says is more accurate. The only problem with that is — they don’t monitor wastewater data in Prince George, or anywhere in northern B.C.
In fact, Prince George is about the largest population centre not being monitored, and Northern Health is the only region where this information isn’t being collected. So as far as the public is concerned, there will no longer be any information about the spread of COVID-19 in the north, and the tool that the province says is the best way to keep track of it isn’t being used in the region.
Unemployment rates in the city are rising faster than new jobs are being added.
The same house on Westmount Drive has been raided by police twice this year: Once for cocaine trafficking and once for identity theft.
The Husky in the Hart, which is also bizarrely a gun shop, has been robbed — again — with a firearm stolen — again. Seems bad! Anyways, here’s their logo:
The owner of the local Canadian Tire is being given an honourary degree.
Spring bus schedule (fewer runs to the college and university).
Boom, that’s it. Have a great long weekend. Talk to you Tuesday.
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