The Great Urban Race – Toronto

For many years Jen and I have wanted to be on the amazing race and try to set up our own challenges when we travel. We do silly things like race fellow passengers out of airports and eat gross things like raw egg yolks on a trip to Vancouver in 2008.

raw yolk 

After doing our own Amazing Race-esque challenges for the last 8 years (and a great offer from Groupon) we decided to take part in the Great Urban Race this past Saturday.   GUR is a city challenge involving teams solving 12 clues that send you around the city tackling brainteasers and physical challenges while racing against the clock.

Fun Fact, this was their first race outside of the USA! Yay Toronto!


The weather was absolutely sweltering but team Always Bronze was pumped and ready to go! The first thing we did upon receiving our 12 clues was to solve each riddle and identify all of the locations so we could tackle them by area. After some iphone googling from Jen and some unscrambling from me we were on our way West… er – mistake numero uno. I thought we could cross off a nearby location before heading West but after we ran two blocks we realized the address was East and another 3 city blocks. We decided to flip our plan and continued running east.

On our way we ticked off one of the Tic-Tac-Toe challenges by getting a photo of us “diving” into a fountain. The Tic-Tac-Toe challenge consisted of 9 challenges laid out in a 3×3 grid and teams had to complete three in a row.


Next we completed the nautical challenge by correctly replicating a knot in record time. After collecting our stamp we continued running towards the Distillery District.

Just inside the gates of the Distillery District we stopped an awesome couple with a dog to check off another Tic-Tac-Toe Challenge – a photo of one team member shaking paws with a dog. The couple were happy to help us out with the challenge and the dog was very well trained in how to shake paws, tooooo cute!


Next up we counted the number of white squares on an art sculpture made out of rubics cubes and ran over to the creepy crawlies challenge. Neither of us were interested in holding the tarantulas so we went for the snake. Jen went first and was quite creeped out. Only one team member needed to complete this challenge but I wanted to do it too and also went for the snake, it was pretty cool! The photo is on Jen’s camera – I’ll post it when she sends it over!


Next we headed north to complete a brainteaser before sprinting for a passing street car to the West side. At this point I realized that heading East first was a blessing in disguise because taking the street car midway through gave us a chance to cool off. We were so sweaty that we looked like we had just stepped out of the shower, ick!

Origami swan queen Jen easily completed the next challenge while other teams struggled and we ran into a store to buy water and shampoo for a later challenge.

We downward dogged with a Yoga Studio mural…


…made soda…


and completed the Muay Thai physical challenge that included pushups, burpeeeeees and jumping jacks. On my first burpee I put my feet on a piece of cement hidden in the grass and totally wiped out, that goes in the “how to make a burpee even more fun” file.


One grassy knee and a tattoo, as proof of completion later, we were in the home stretch and on our way to Kensington.


We didn’t see any busses so we speed walked south until we picked up a street car for a few blocks.

At Wanda’s Pie in the Sky we had to figure out which of the ingredients laid out was not used in the Key Lime Pie.


While Jen looked up the bakery’s website I figured that Gelatin was the un-used ingredient. Happily the recipe confirmed my guess and we grabbed the required photo before heading to our last challenge!


Next we dropped off the water and shampoo we purchased at the CAMH booth. CAMH is the Center for Addition and Mental Health and I really liked that one of the challenges involved giving back to a charity.

Given my love of cupcakes it seemed fitting that decorating cupcakes at Miss Cora’s Kitchen was our last required challenge.



We couldn’t believe we were done in a little less than 3 hours and decided to do as many tasks from the Tic-Tac-Toe challenge as we could while we headed to the finish. We also ended up walking back when our street car went out of order after a block (story of public transit in Toronto). We were very hot and a little sore after running/race walking for nearly 3 hours but we decided to sprint to the finish and ran the last 1/2 block! One of the GUR staff said she got a photo of our sprint which I’ll share if it pops up online!


We were super happy after checking in and verifying our challenges!


The race was a lot of fun and I’d love to do it again.

Thanks JBo! Always Bronze!!


After the Race I headed up to Whole Foods and ended up with the world cheapest salad bar trip at just $8!


My favorite part were the buckwheat noodles and for the first time I actually enjoyed Quinoa!

It should also be noted that I managed a bite of dirt beets – the only food I don’t like but eat occasionally because it’s good for me. I’m still waiting for the day it grows on me, right now they still taste like dirt to me.


Blogger picnic and the rest of the weekend to come soon!

About Christina @ Stars in the City

I like sun, sand, surf, tunes and vegan mac ‘n cheese with bacon. Oh, and sarcasm.
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7 Responses to The Great Urban Race – Toronto

  1. christina says:

    the GUR sounds so fun! you guys are awesome! i love that you race people out of the airport! i’m sooo going to do that tomorrow. i’ll have to ask my 9 yr old cousin to do it with me. hahaa. i hope she’s down for a challenge.

  2. sunkist8329 says:

    It was so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again next year. I think the turn out was pretty good, that they have to come back next year. My teammate and I already plan to do it next year an compete against our boys. I just wish that my teammate and I had taken the extra few minutes to take a few more pictures of us doing the clues, especially the Moi Tai.

    • Christina @ Food.Fitness.Fun. says:

      I like your idea of racing against another team next year! I’d like to try it in another city and see how that changes the dynamics.

      I wish I had more pictures of the challenges, plus some of me, maybe next year!

  3. It was so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again next year. I think the turn out was pretty good, that they have to come back next year. My teammate and I already plan to do it next year an compete against our boys. I just wish that my teammate and I had taken the extra few minutes to take a few more pictures of us doing the clues, especially the Moi Tai.

  4. Mel says:

    The race sounds so fantastic! I love that you finally got your cupcake fix! ;)

    • Christina @ Food.Fitness.Fun. says:

      It was the teeny tiniest cupcake but it was actually really satisfying! I’m going to go back and check them out because the red velvet was yummy and so was the icing!

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