A couple from the tiny town of Royston on Vancouver Island have advanced to the finale of The Amazing Race Canada season 9.
Tyler Turner, 35, is a professional athlete. He won two medals — gold and bronze — at the Paralympic winter games in 2022. His teammate Kayleen VanderRee, 31, is a commercial scuba diver and a blogger of travel and sailing. The dating couple is mobile, but base themselves in the Comox Valley.
Black Press Media reached out to Tyler and Kayleen to learn what they make of their TV show experience, and their plans for the future.
Q: What will you do with the money if you win?
Tyler: The money, $250,000 would absolutely change our lives. We have two very lifestyle-oriented jobs which don’t make us rich.
We would love to buy our own property to live in the area, and a couple of cars would be amazing. Currently, our car is falling apart, so that would be a really nice bonus as well.
Q: What are you guys up to now?
Tyler: Back to normal life. It’s been a really great summer getting to spend time together before we go our separate ways, as it always happens every winter. I leave here Oct. 1 and that’s the start of my chaotic fall and winter.
I train and race the world cup circuit in Europe. Kayleen’s got a great new job with Coast Restoration Society.
Kayleen: Yeah, I’m doing derelict vessel clean up. So it’s been really rewarding to start doing that. I just got back from a 45-day passage back from Mexico, sailing our boat home. No land in sight, right? It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but back to work now. It’s nice to get a routine going again.
Q: Biggest fear going into the show?
Kayleen: I think my biggest fear was just not being able to complete a task when it was a roadblock, and disappointing Tyler (laughs). We’re always working together, but there’s some tasks in the race that you just can’t work together. You don’t want to let your team down.
Q: When did you feel most proud of your partner during the race?
Tyler: There were so many times when Kayleen stepped up. She brought skills from her wheelhouse, like in the diving challenge. She was also totally comfortable in the rock climbing challenge. It was the moments like that where she stepped up and kept us alive.
Kayleen: I know Tyler’s so good at anything physical, but with his brain injury from the skydiving accident, the mental stuff is the hardest for him. In Toronto, at the alien challenge, he pushed through memorizing this insane alien language. He was so frustrated, but just kept pushing through and ended up getting it. I’m most proud of him for persevering through that insanely hard challenge.
Q: What lesson are you taking away from the experience?
Tyler: Maybe my intensity is a little too high. I’m OK with that, because that’s just how I like to live. I like pushing the limits with my snowboard racing and Paralympics. But when you’re together as a team, it was a little hard on Kayleen.
Kayleen: Also you learned you could run.
Tyler: Yeah! I haven’t done that since the accident and maybe I’ll never do it again. But put $250,000 on the line with some adrenaline and lack of sleep, and we’ll push through anything.
Q: What’s next?
Tyler: We’re trying to put some roots down for ourselves and have a spot that’s ours.
Kayleen: Most of our 20s, we both lived very nomadic lives. I lived on a sailboat for a long time. Tyler lived in a van. Now we live in Royston in an RV.
Tyler: We’d love to buy our own property. Royston, Cumberland, Merville or Black Creek, anywhere in these rural areas so we could start building a home.
Q: You would be happiest in Comox Valley?
Kayleen: I grew up in the Valley and this is where my heart is. It’s part of everything we love.
Tyler: Yeah, we love it here. Proximity to the ocean, the mountains. Everything about the Valley works for us. It’s where our friends are. It’s really what we call home.
Tyler Turner and Kayleen VanderRee will vy against two other teams for the grand prize of $250,000, a couple trucks and a trip around the world.
The season 9 finale of The Amazing Race Canada will air at 9 p.m., Sept. 19 on CTV.