Toronto gay male couple wins Amazing Race Canada's fifth season

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      For a second year in a row, the Amazing Race Canada has gone gay.

      While Season 4 was won by two dating women—Toronto's Steph LeClair and Kristen McKenzie, who broke through the gender barrier to become the first female winners on the show—Season 5 has been won by the first gay male couple.

      In Québec City, 25-year-old student Sam Lambert (originally from Oakville, Ontario) and 24-year-old account manager Paul Mitskopoulos of Toronto were the first to reach the finish line on the September 12 season finale.

      The couple will receive $250,000 in cash, a trip around the world, and a Next Generation 2018 Chevrolet Equipnox True North Edition.

      “This is the most amazing thing, we’ve met so many amazing people, and the fact that I got to do it with Paul, and that we’re here," Lambert stated in a news release.

      The experience had a significant impact upon Mitskopoulos' identity. In a CTV interview, Mitskopoulos spoke about how the couple experienced challenges in their personal lives when they were dating while he was in the closet.   

      “This race really has changed my life,” Mitskopoulos said. “Even six months ago I didn’t want to tell people I was gay. I told my family and friends, but just being in front of all of these people, and being able to show that this is my boyfriend, the man I am in-love with….I feel liberated, it’s the best feeling.”

      As this season also highlighted Canada's 150th anniversary, this win is particularly fitting as it points to the present and the future. In the past, LGBT history has been little-known due to erasure, censorship, exclusion, invisibility, discrimination, and more (the Canadian government will issue a formal apology for past injustices and suffering), while Canada has made strides in LGBT progress over the past few decades.

      Earlier in the season, Vancouver father-son team Shabbir and Zed Dhalla were eliminated in the August 1 episode.

      Prior to that, mother-son team Deb and Aaron Barker from Grand Forks, B.C., were the first team to be eliminated this season.

      The season finale will air again on CTV at 4 and 8 p.m. on Saturday (September 16), and can also be viewed online.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on FacebookYou can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.