Help Make A Buzz: The Bee Team Amazing Race Canada


First of all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, welcome to 2013!

phil-canadaI haven’t blogged here for a while, because frankly I’m a little overextended. I’ve been creating content day and night for the new (and very well received) LiveWorkPlay.ca website. It’s working a little too well for the time being, because while I am continuing to build foundational content, I’ve got to keep up with the news, and of course sharing it through our different social media communities!

Then there’s this whole thing about Julie and I applying for the Amazing Race Canada! Everyone assumes it was my idea, but no, it certainly wasn’t. I’m a huge fan of the show and in fact introduced Juliehill to watching it, but when she saw Phil Keoghan on a CTV commercial announcing an upcoming (first ever) Canadian version, she just went bonkers!

Within days we were out in the ice and snow around Parliament Hill shooting about 2/3 of the scenes for our 3 minute submission video. Unlike some other teams, we’ve decided not to share that particular video with anyone but the show producers and a select private audience of colleagues and family members. Frankly, we think it’s a good video, and we don’t want to give it away to other applicants! Strategy!

Here’s a little bit of an explanation of why would want to do such a thing (there is going to be some sort of financial gain for the first place team, but honestly, that’s not a huge motivation, we just love the show and more than anything, it’s an adventure we’d like to have together after almost 20 years as a couple).


Welcome to The Bee Team, applicants for the Amazing Race Canada on CTV in 2013! We are Julie Kingstone (39) and Keenan Wellar (44) from Ottawa! We co-founded dynamic charitable organization LiveWorkPlay.ca in 1995 and we have worked together full-time as co-leaders since 1997. LiveWorkPlay helps the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens. We do this with a talented staff of 11, an amazing team of more than 120 volunteers, and committed partners in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Julie was recently recognized with an Ottawa Business Journal & Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Forty Under 40 Award, and Keenan is a 2010 United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award recipient and 2012 Focus Area Champion.

bee-vidsWe got married in 2001 and have had many exciting adventures in our own city, across the country, and around the world. We are up for a new adventure and as huge fans of the Amazing Race we jumped for joy when we heard about Amazing Race Canada! We submitted our application on December 23 and are hopeful that we will have the opportunity to represent the nation’s capital. Ottawa is the home of our federal government but we also boast leading-edge high tech companies, a vibrant arts community, and many entrepreneurs and sociopreneurs – like us! – who are solving problems and making a difference through unprecedented networking and dedication to meaningful change.

In our personal lives we love to travel, and feel at home hiking the Pacific Rim, kayaking the red shores of PEI, jumping off a dock in the Canadian Shield, enjoying some fine dining in Montreal, or rocking out to our favorite band or a hockey game with 20,000 friends in our hometown.

The bumblebee is a symbol of inspiration at LiveWorkPlay, because although it doesn’t look like it is built to fly, a bumblebee can travel 30km and hour, and is an important part of a community where everyone has a role to play. We choose the bumblebee as a symbol of hope and inclusive thinking for people with intellectual disabilities. But sometimes we get underestimated ourselves, by people who think that working for a charity is nothing but a nice time. We’ll be happy for the opportunity to show them firsthand how tough we are, and the type of skills we need every day at LiveWorkPlay to champion a cause with passion and energy.

We created our application video on December 22-23 on and around Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, as well as inside and outside of our Ottawa home in the nearbeekmanby neighbourhood of Vanier. The making of the video was challenged by curious busloads of tourists and others who stopped and took pictures. We also got a few strange looks from the RCMP and the snow clearance crews that were out in force. It was great fun and we sure hope that Amazing Race Canada will call us in for an interview.

We are huge Amazing Race fans, and we think viewers will enjoy the way we run the race! In 2012 we were inspired by Josh and Brent (The Fabulous Beekman Boys) who surely underwent one of the most dramatic on-air transitions ever, as their competitive spirit grew the longer the show went on, and peaked in the final 3 episodes (they won!). What Margie and Luke went through in 2009 was very familiar to us having spent much of the past 20 years with people with disabilities and their parents. On TV in front of millions they went through in a matter of weeks what often takes years – Luke struggling to assert his independence and his mom learning to walk the fine line between loving a child and letting them grow up.

Rob and Amber might not seem a fit with these other two teams on our list, but this is a race, and Rob and Amber are great communicators and strategists. If chosen, we’d hope to bring an interesting mix of inspired determination, and a little cunning and stealth that will no doubt surprise other teams that underestimate our will to win!

You can support The Bee Team on Facebook and Twitter!

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About Keenan Wellar

I'm a citizen of Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) and co-leader of local social change charitable organization LiveWorkPlay.ca which supports a good life for people with intellectual disabilities. I'm a very active user of social media. Find me on Facebook http://fb.me/kwellar on Twitter @SocialKeenan on LinkedIn http://tiny.cc/keenanw. I also manage organizational accounts http://fb.me/liveworkplayfans and @LiveWorkPlay. I make a lot of connections locally and worldwide with people who share my belief in inclusive communities, but I also talk sports, food, and travel, and there are few topics that offend me, so please don't be shy.
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