On Saturday I participated in the Toronto City Chase for the third time.
City Chase Overview:
Experience Laughter, Adventure and Discovery!
The Mitsubishi City Chase Powered by BlackBerry Bold is a unique urban adventure that requires participants to exhibit teamwork, resourcefulness, determination and the ability to make decisions on the fly as they search for ChasePoints scattered in unknown locations throughout the city. ChasePoints are designed to test teams with a variety of physical, intellectual, adventurous and humorous challenges.
To conquer this 4-6 hour urban event, 2-person teams will run, walk and use public transit to navigate their way throughout the city, while calling family and friends for help, accessing the Internet, and even employing assistance of total strangers. The first team to complete the required ChasePoints and cross the finish line WINS.
This year I had a new partner (L) and our friend Lil Meg paired up with another of our friends to come along for the ride. The 4 of us wore awesome matching outfits and stuck together all day. We had a blast!
L, me, E, Meg
We arrived at the start/finish area at Nathan Phillips Square to find many teams already congregating around the stage about an hour early.
Pretty soon, they started the opening announcements. We immediately took out our paper and pens and jotted notes like maniacs. In previous years, we had to complete a scavenger hunt in order to receive our clue sheets and taking notes has been imperative.
As it turns out, we didn’t need to take notes at all and the host was amused by how frantically everyone was scribbling. At 10am on the dot, we were told that the clue sheets were available at the four corners of Nathan Phillips Square. It was a mad rush of red shirts as we all scrambled to get our sheets. Fortunately, nobody lost an eyeball.
We quickly scanned over the two-sided clue sheet (approximately 40 to choose from, 10 to be completed) and got the show on the road. We used our time in transit (and line ups) to map out a logical route through the city (mostly thanks to L).
Chase Point # 1 – Walk Hard: “At Trinity Bellwoods Park we’ll see how you fare as you make your way between two trees in the air.”
There were about six lengths of cord between trees and one person had to navigate the entire course tight-rope-style while supported from below by their partner. It was a lot more difficult than it looks and we had to take our time. We had waited in line for 40+ minutes (longest we waited for any challenge all day) and if we touched the ground, we’d be sent to the back of the line. Luckily, no slips!
Chase Point # 2 – Target Practice: “Raak de doelen met een paintball geweer, anders wordt de kont van jouw teamgenoot het doelwit! Ga naar de “pit” in Trinity Belwoods Park.” (not all clues were in English!)
We made a short run to the other side of the park for the paintball challenge, which had unfortunately been shut down due to safety concerns. They gave us a stamp just for showing up.
Chase Point # 3 – Sweeeet Ride: “With one in the seat and one on their feet and two others helping you move through the street, the staff await your arrival in the parking lot of this west end mall that opened in 1957.”
A quick Google search and we were on our way to Dufferin Mall. Once there, we worked in a group of four to maneuver a car (in neutral) around a couple of pylons, then reversed into a parking spot. We had one driver (E), one director (Meg), one puller with harness (L) and one pushing from behind (moi). It was hard, but we nailed it on the first try. Go team!
Chase Point # 4 – Art of Movement: “Expressing yourself through movement and play, jumping and climbing, getting through your day. Parkour is the challenge, the ‘Monkey Vault’ the way, just understand that movement is play. Head north of Bloor on Dufferin and look for Geary Ave on your right.”
We were instructed to tumble our way through a short routine, rolling over the obstacles, bouncing off walls and somersaulting on a padded platform. There was an alternate (supposedly quicker) challenge where we would jump from the railing shown in the back onto a foam mattress, but we were all cautious of injury and went for the obstacle course. It took less than 2 minutes and (most importantly) nobody got hurt!
Chase Point # 5 – Gastronomy: “At ‘The Monkey Vault’ teams will identify foods from around the world, some are tasty but others will make you hurl.”
This one was right outside the ‘Monkey Vault’ and had just a short line. One teammate(myself) had to identify five foods while blindfolded. For each incorrect guess, the other would have to eat a cricket. L was brave and trusted my taste buds. The mystery bites were: dried cranberry, corn pop, chocolate chip, dried pea, dried apricot. I got them all right … except dried pea! (I thought it was a soy nut). L had to eat a cricket. (Ewwwwww!) She handled it better than I would have and got that sucker down without too much of a fuss. 🙂
Chase Point # 6 – Burn it Off: “You’ll learn a lesson at the Goodlife on St. Clair, but there’s a reward at the end so do not despair.”
We hit the Goodlife gym where we were asked to select a chocolate bar, and then informed that we would have to burn that number of calories on either the treadmill or elliptical. I had completed this challenge last year so we knew what to expect. After a quick Google search, we selected one of the lower-cal bars (Twix) and hit the treadmills with 210 calories to burn (as a team). I cranked up the speed and incline and busted butt for about 10 minutes. We were dripping!
Chase Point # 7 – Say Cheese: “For Annie Liebowitz this would be a ton of fun, at the Rogers Store near Davisville & Yonge.”
We were assigned a Blackberry Smartphone and instructed to complete six of the tasks listed, documenting each with either picture or video on the Smartphone. We successfully:
-convinced a non-participant to swap shirts
-played leapfrog with a non-participant
-serenaded 5 non-participants
-carried a non-participant’s bags (random act of kindness)
-photographed 5 non-participants with a Blackberry Smartphone
-photographed something to represent the number 100 (this was the 100th City Chase event)
Chase Point # 8 – Using Your Head: “Near ‘Boot Camp’ with another team you must cooperate, lack of team-work will quickly seal your fate.”
I rocked the bucket helmet (which I later realized was on backwards – oops!) while L had to sink 4 hacky sack baskets from farther and farther away. L had excellent aim (she only nailed me once) and I made some pretty sweet moves myself to catch them, if I do say so myself!
Chase Point # 9 – Boot Camp: “Any G20 security near Balfour Park at Rosehill might be a little nervous, watching you grunt and groan as if training for the Secret Service.”
We made our way through a series of physically demanding boot camp style tasks, from high knees to push ups to dragging each other across the grass in a child’s sled, and we had to complete the circuit twice. I may be able to run for four hours, but L was breathing down my neck on this one (and I could barely move my arms the next day).
Chase Point # 10 – Serve ‘Em Up: “Mix up some drinks, learning from the masters. Opening 11 to 3 at the Yonge & Bloor Jack Astor’s.”
L had to balance a mixing cup on her forehead and pour an entire glass into it without spilling. She totally did it!
With our 10 challenges completed and 10 stamps to show for it, it was time to make our way back to Nathan Phillips Square for the finish line. We don’t have official results yet, but the 4 of us finished with arms in the air under 4:30.
There was an additional Chase Point located at the finish line (Zoolander) so we stopped by to check it out, and somehow I ended up doing this (I am petrified of snakes!):
Overall we had a fantastic day and I will do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’ll be completing the second Toronto event in August with my sister, and I’m already lined up for both events next summer!
The City Chase is one of my favourite events and one that I highly recommend to everyone looking to push their limits both physically and mentally. Check out the U.S. series here.
Make sure you stop by to read Meg’s account of our adventures. Special thanks to my awesome teammates for making it such a great day. And YES, we are all still friends!
ETA: race pics