Canada's Worst Driver
|Canada's Worst Driver|
Canada's Worst Driver season one logo
|Developed by||Proper Television|
|Written by||Andrew Younghusband|
|Presented by||Andrew Younghusband|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||14 as of 2018|
|No. of episodes||115|
|Executive producer(s)||Philip Dharamraj|
|Running time||46 minutes|
|Original network||Discovery Channel|
|Original release||October 3, 2005 –|
|Related shows||Britain's Worst Driver (2002-2003)|
Canada's Worst Handyman (2006-2011)
Blood, Sweat & Tools (2015)
Don't Drive Here (2013-2015)
Canada's Worst Driver is a Canadian television series on Discovery Channel, based on Britain's Worst Driver and is part of the Worst Driver television franchise. The series is produced by Proper Television, whose president, Guy O'Sullivan, was the director of the original Britain's Worst Driver series until its cancellation in 2003. O'Sullivan served as executive producer of Canada's Worst Driver until his death in April 2017, doubling as executive producer of sister series Canada's Worst Handyman until its cancellation in 2011. As such, Canada's Worst Driver is considered to be the production company's flagship show and, with 14 seasons aired as of December 2018, the longest-running of any Worst series to date. The series is also aired dubbed in French in Canada as Les Pires Chauffards Canadiens on the Z channel. Until 2011, when Canada's Worst Handyman was cancelled and later replaced in 2015 with Blood, Sweat & Tools, Canada's Worst Driver and Canada's Worst Handyman were the two highest-rated programs on Discovery Channel Canada.
In each season, a number of drivers (typically eight) and their nominators enroll at the Driver Rehabilitation Centre where they compete in challenges designed to improve their driving skills in an effort to not be named Canada's Worst Driver. In the first challenge, the contestants begin at a location about a 90-minute drive from the Driver Rehabilitation Centre. Following the directions that are given (in season fourteen, the contestants were given the directions through their GPS), each contestant must drive to the Driver Rehabilitation Centre where, upon arriving, the driver's license of each contestant is confiscated (for the first two seasons, their car keys were confiscated instead). The first episode typically concludes with an obstacle course or assessment challenge, meant to evaluate the skills of each driver. The series is well known for its obstacle course challenges. Contestants must routinely maneuver their cars through tight spaces with less than an inch of clearance on either side. To show that the challenge can be done without hitting obstacles by an average driver, host Andrew Younghusband, himself an average driver (although he has since admitted that when the series first began, he wasn't an average driver), performs each challenge before any contestant attempts said challenge. At the end of each episode, usually starting with the second episode of each season, each contestant meets with Andrew and a panel of four experts (since season eight, the experts in question have been Tim Danter, Shyamala Kiru, Philippe Létourneau and Cam Woolley) for an evaluation of his or her performance. After all remaining contestants are interviewed, the experts and Andrew deliberate on which contestant and nominator pair have improved enough to graduate from the Driver Rehabilitation Centre. The driver who has graduated is eliminated from the competition and is sent home with his or her license returned to him or her. Typically, the contestants drive off with their nominators in the car that they used to arrive at the Driver Rehabilitation Centre. During the series, the experts also reserve the right to not graduate anyone during an episode, graduate multiple contestants at the same time (which has happened twice, with Jodi Slobodesky and Sean McConnell both graduating in the penultimate episode of Canada's Worst Driver 2 and Alex Morrison and Tina Cook both graduating in the second episode of Canada's Worst Driver 11), choose to expel any contestant prematurely who does not show any incentive to learn (which has happened twice: with Canada's Worst Driver 2 contestant Colin Sheppard having his car key cut in half in the fourth episode and Canada's Worst Driver 6 contestant Scott Schurink having his shared insurance policy cancelled by his nominator, Danny Bridgman, rendering Scott unable to drive himself, as his insurance cost was too expensive), who they believe should not continue driving or can not continue the rehabilitation program often for medical or legal reasons. In extreme cases, the experts may contact the relevant Ministry of Transport and request that a driver's license be put up for review, if they believe that a contestant is medically unfit to continue driving. The elimination process continues until only three contestants remain (the original intent was for two contestants to remain, but due to the first season containing an episode in which no one graduated due to an overall poor performance in the Trailer Reversing and Canada's Worst Parking Lot challenges, there were three; every subsequent season has had three finalists, although Andrew twice suggested having a four-person finale, a suggestion none of the experts went along with), in which they are then given the final challenge, which is typically a three-in-a-car forward-backward slalom within a certain time limit, followed by the Mega Challenge-- an obstacle course with elements of almost every previous challenge (the standard transmission balancing challenge, among others, is not part of the Mega Challenge, but every challenge that is practical to include does get included)-- as well as a driving examination through the busy streets of a major urban centre in Canada near the Driver Rehabilitation Centre (since season seven, the Road Test has been held in Hamilton, Ontario). Based on these three challenges (there were only two challenges in season one-- the Mega Challenge and the Road Test, which was held in Montreal, Quebec), the experts determine which among the three is Canada's Worst Driver, with the contestant who fared the second-worst is deemed to not have graduated from the Driver Rehabilitation Centre, while the contestant who fared the third-worst is considered a graduate. Unlike other Worst series around the world, where being a graduate is rewarded with a new car while the Worst Driver has their car destroyed, Canada's Worst Driver emphasizes the learning process of the contestants and the science of driving and is often more serious than any other Worst Driver version around the world, awarding no prizes aside from a trophy at the end of each season for being named the worst, as the point of the show is to educate rather than entertain.
|Dr. Lauren Kennedy-Smith|
|Dr. Louisa Gembora|
|Dr. Uzma Rehman|
With the exception of the first and last episodes, challenges are specifically tailored to each contestant and designed by Andrew and the driving school sponsoring the series (whose head instructor is one of the experts; since season eight, the driving school sponsoring the series is DriveWise and the head instructor is Tim Danter). Challenges typically range from traditional driving school lessons such as parallel parking, reversing and driving with a trailer to those not normally found in a beginner's driving course, such as driving a standard transmission vehicle and extreme driving manoeuvres (such as the Scandinavian flick). However, there are some challenges that are reused from year to year.
- The Shoulder Check Challenge is a challenge where contestants must drive in a straight line until they pass a sign on each side. The signs determine which of the two exits the contestants must take when the road forks ahead; however, the signs are posted in the reverse direction, so the contestants must briefly look behind them to read the signs. If neither exit is permitted, they are simply instructed to stop in front of the fork in the road. The lesson of this challenge is to only turn the head when performing a shoulder check.
- Distracted Driving is a challenge introduced in season two that was so unusually effective on one contestant (Matt Elkind) that it has been used in every subsequent season. In this challenge, drivers must drive around in a circle while having to do a series of tasks such as eating a sandwich, inserting a CD, texting and so on. Often, these tasks are tailored to each contestant's vices. The lesson is meant to teach individuals to not do these things while at the wheel, as it can cause potential accidents.
- Swerve and Avoid is a challenge where contestants must drive towards a wall at high speeds, only to turn away-- that is, swerve-- at the last moment to avoid hitting the wall. Typically, there are two exits to each side of the wall, which will either initially be blocked before one or both open at the last moment or initially be open before one or neither are blocked in the last moment. The lesson is to avoid touching the brake pedal, as putting the foot down on the brake would severely limit the car's steering ability.
- The Cornering Challenge is a challenge where contestants must drive towards a wall of foam blocks at high speed before braking hard, releasing the brake and then turning away from the wall. The lesson in this challenge is to release the brake so as to not lose steering input to the car when it is needed. In some years, a large wet tarp may also be laid out on the ground in front of the wall, to simulate icy or slippery conditions.
- The Three-Point Turn Challenge is a challenge where contestants must enter a small space and make a three-point turn, returning in the direction that they entered. The entrance may be off to one side of the area (as it is in earlier seasons) or to the centre of the area (as it is in later seasons). A key lesson in this challenge is to make use of the space available to the car in order to do the turn efficiently; in some years, obstacles may ring the outer perimeter of the area to give the contestants a better visual cue.
- The Eye of the Needle is a perennial challenge where contestants must navigate through a series of archways at a minimum speed. The intended lesson is to have the driver look where they want to go, in the middle of the archways rather than at the feet on one side of the archway.
- The Figure-Eight Challenge is a perennial challenge where drivers must reverse their car around a course in the shape of an 8. There are two versions of this challenge: one version, originally featured in the second season, had a pair of contestants perform the challenge simultaneously: both cars begin in one end of the course and contestants must reverse their cars to where the other contestant began, with the only passing spaces available at the centre and opposite end of the course. The second version, featured in the fourth season, has each contestant do one lap in reverse with the remaining contestants as passengers.
- The Parking Lot Challenge is a version of musical chairs where drivers must find spaces to park. The parking lot is filled with cars and may have blocker cars that attempt to frustrate the contestants and cars that may open up new parking spaces. Any driving violation-- such as parking in a no parking zone-- will typically send the contestant out of the parking lot in a lap penalty. The challenge ends when one contestant fails to park.
- Canada's Worst Gas Station is a variation on the Parking Lot Challenge with many of the same rules, where contestants try to park to get fuel at a simulated self-service gasoline station, avoiding the diesel pump, which their car can't use. Hitting anything or performing a moving violation requires the contestant to leave the station and come back to try again. Most of the pumps start with blocker cars in front of them, which will leave as the challenge goes on. The challenge ends when one contestant fails to get fuel.
- The Water Tank Challenge is a perennial favorite in which the contestants must navigate around a tight obstacle course in a car with a roof-mounted water tank; should the contestants stop too abruptly, the contents of the tank will spill over into the cab of the vehicle, soaking its occupants. In earlier seasons, this was done with a pipe system, though in later seasons, open-top cars or cars with a sunroof are used. Portions of the obstacle course will include a slow forward section, sudden stops due to last-minute reactions, such as a hidden stop sign or a pop-out car, a hump-- infamous for repeatedly soaking Andrew in his demonstration runs-- and optionally an acceleration portion. The intended lesson is on smooth threshold braking: should the contestants brake poorly or navigate too quickly, the water in the tank will spill, soaking both the contestant and nominator inside.
- The Handbrake Turn Challenge is a challenge that has contestants perform a handbrake turn around a foam figure while in a confined space. The intent of this challenge is for contestants to learn the distribution of weight in a car, as well as a lesson on how to properly control a car in a skid.
- The Reverse Flick is a challenge that has contestants perform the namesake technique in a confined space; it is in essence the handbrake turn in reverse, and without the use of the handbrake. The intent of this challenge is similar to the handbrake turn challenge, but also introduces elements of driving in reverse at speed.
- Drifting Doughnuts is a challenge introduced in season three where contestants must drive in a wide doughnut around a figure; the key to this challenge is counter-steering partway through in order to allow the car to continue drifting, eventually towards a designated exit point. The lesson behind this challenge is on extreme manoeuvres as well as avoiding target fixation.
- The Trough is a challenge used in later seasons where contestants must get their car to move across the namesake trough, a series of concrete Jersey barriers placed on their side, without the car leaving the rails and hitting the ground. The lesson behind this challenge is that the rear wheels will turn more sharply than the front wheels; the key to this challenge is to take wide turns and allow the car to hug the edges of the concrete rails.
- The Parallel Parking Challenge requires drivers to parallel park. Often, there is a moving obstacle, such an emergency vehicle, that the contestant must give way to.
- The Teeter-Totter is a challenge that has contestants balance a car atop a teeter-totter, such that both ends for the apparatus are off of the ground. The lesson of this challenge is on managing cars on slopes. The Gimbal is a variation of the teeter-totter challenge, where lateral motion is also introduced.
- The Slalom Challenge is a challenge where drivers "swerve" around blue and pink foam mannequins. In season seven, they were changed into red and blue hockey players, in keeping with that season's "Driving in Canada" theme. In season eight, they were changed into blue and pink shopping people, in keeping with that season's "Big city driving" theme.
- The Lane Change Challenge is a challenge where the drivers are on a two-lane course. The goal is to pass Andrew twice as he drives around. Key to this challenge is learning the proper technique for lane changes (Check the side mirrors, activate the indicator, shoulder check, lane change). Each infraction committed or improperly-executed lane change requires the guilty driver to pass Andrew one extra time. The challenge concludes when only one contestant is left on the course.
Like its sister series, the contestants are chosen by nominations submitted to Proper Television. Until 2011, when Canada's Worst Handyman was cancelled and later replaced in 2015 with Blood, Sweat & Tools, Canada's Worst Driver and Canada's Worst Handyman were filmed alternately, with each season of Driver followed by a season of Handyman (except for the first season, in which Handyman was filmed during the summer and Driver was filmed during the winter, Driver has been filmed during the summer and Handyman was filmed during the winter). Nominations for the next season of one are accepted shortly after the airing of another on Discovery Channel. Candidates may be nominated by multiple nominators, though only one nominator accompanies the contestant to the Driver Rehabilitation Centre.
Home Video/Internet Availability
Seasons 1-7 are currently available for download in Canada from the iTunes Store in widescreen standard definition (480p). Seasons 8-14 are available from iTunes in both standard definition and high definition (720p/1080p). Seasons 2-7 are available for streaming on CraveTV. Each season has also been posted on DiscoveryChannel.ca and YouTube in the past for streaming. There has been no news on whether the series will be released on DVD/Blu-ray.
|Season||Original run||Location||Theme||Canada's Worst Driver||Reason||Notes|
|1||October 3, 2005-November 21, 2005||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre took place at CFB Picton (currently operating as Picton Airport), a decommissioned military base near Picton, Ontario that closed down in 1969, with the final road test taking place in Old Montreal.||Winter driving||Chris Ferguson||Chris was the first person named Canada's Worst Driver due to his inexperience on the road.||This is the only season filmed in the winter; all subsequent seasons have been filmed during the summer. This is also the first and only time that the final road test took place in a Canadian city not in Ontario; all subsequent seasons have the final road test in an Ontario city.|
|2||October 16, 2006-December 4, 2006||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre took place within the grounds of CFB Borden, with the final road test taking place in Toronto.||Summer driving||Henrietta Gallant||Henrietta was named Canada's Worst Driver due to her vision issues and her insistence on not wearing glasses, along with being unable to complete the final road test.||This season saw the first-ever expulsion in any Worst Driver series when Colin Sheppard was expelled due to his unwillingness to learn. This season also saw the first time two contestants-- in this case, Sean McConnell and Jodi Slobodesky-- graduated in an episode.|
|3||October 29, 2007-December 17, 2007||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre took place at the Edgar Adult Occupation Centre in the ghost town of Edgar, Ontario, with the final road test taking place in Barrie, Ontario.||Extreme driving manoeuvres||Jason Zhang||Jason was named Canada's Worst Driver for his dangerous final road test performance, stopping in the middle of merging onto Ontario Highway 400. As a result, Jason immediately surrendered his license and gave up driving permanently, the first-ever contestant to do so, which made runner-up Shelby D'Souza technically the worst by default.||This season saw the first time a contestant-- in this case, Billie-Jean Leslie-- graduated in the fifth episode.|
|4||October 27, 2008-December 15, 2008||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre took place at the old Ontario Reformatory Prison, an abandoned correctional facility in Guelph, Ontario that closed down in 2002, with the final road test taking place in Toronto.||Legal consequences of bad driving||Ashley van Ham||Despite passing most of the challenges and being shortlisted four times, including three episodes in a row, Ashley was named Canada's Worst Driver for having never addressed her frustrations with her husband and nominator, Bryan.||This season saw the first-ever medical expulsion in any Worst Driver series due to the experts' belief that Donna Hicks should no longer be driving; Donna was eliminated in this manner in part due to angina. This season also saw the first instance of an all-female finale.|
|5||October 26, 2009-December 14, 2009||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre took place within the grounds of CFB Borden (referred to on-air as "an undisclosed military location"), with the final road test again taking place in Toronto.||Driver's boot camp||Angelina Marcantognini||Angelina was named Canada's Worst Driver due to her severe anxiety and lack of focus. Andrew further stated during the Canada's Worst Driver: U Asked! special his belief that Angelina is the worst of the "worst drivers" to date, though he subsequently retracted this statement in Canada's Worst Driver Ever and said that her severe emotional problems were more to blame for her driving than a lack of technical ability.||This season saw the first time a contestant left due to a personal (and ironically, driving-related) tragedy-- Crystal Hubley Farao's brother-in-law, Tom Stagno, was killed in a motorcycle accident.|
|6||October 25, 2010-December 13, 2010||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre took place at Dunnville Airport, a registered aerodrome near Dunnville, Ontario that has since ceased airport operations, with the final road test taking place in Niagara Falls, Ontario.||High-performance driving||Lance Morin||Lance was named Canada's Worst Driver for being inexperienced and denying that his anxiety had anything to do with his driving.||The season featured the first-ever instance of a driver effectively being removed not by the experts, but by their nominator, after Scott Schurink's poor attitude caused his nominator, Danny Bridgman, to cancel their shared insurance policy, resulting in Scott's immediate expulsion, as he was unable to insure himself.|
|7||October 24, 2011-December 13, 2011||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre was located at Dunnville Airport for the second year in a row, with the final road test taking place in Hamilton, Ontario.||Driving in Canada||Shirley Sampson||Despite performing well in most of the challenges this season, it was a disastrous road test that included stopping while on the Chedoke Expressway that caused Shirley to be named Canada's Worst Driver.||This season is the first to be broadcast in HD, owing to the launch of the high-definition simulcast of Discovery Channel.|
|8||October 29, 2012-December 17, 2012||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre was located at Dunnville Airport for the third year in a row, with the final road test again taking place in Hamilton, Ontario.||Big city driving||Flora Wang and
|Both Flora and Kevin were named Canada's Worst Driver for being equally bad in different ways, with Flora's poor progress and Kevin's non-functioning right eye, respectively, being their main issues.||This is the first and only time (so far) that there has ever been a tie for Canada's Worst Driver.|
|Ever||October 28, 2013-December 16, 2013||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre was located at the Dunnville Airport for the fourth year in a row, with the final road test again taking place in Hamilton, Ontario.||An "all-star" season, which saw nine previous winners and runners-up return to the show for a chance to either redeem themselves or be named the worst-ever.||Kevin Simmons||Kevin was named Canada's Worst Driver Ever after turning in an even worse final road test than the previous season. Afterwards, he burned his license under the promise he'd made to the panel and his boyfriend and nominator, Lenny Stone, that he'd stop driving if he either didn't graduate or was named the worst.||This season saw the first time a contestant graduated in the first episode (as Chris Ferguson was the only returning driver to pass the assessment challenge), another contestant was disqualified and removed from the show due to the experts judging Henrietta Gallant ineligible to take part (Henrietta admitted she largely gave up driving after previously being named the worst) and another contestant's nominator was replaced (Yolanda Kozak served as Michael Telford's nominator after his original nominator, Eric, was unable to return for health reasons; he had since recovered to replace her in the fourth episode after she was proven to be too negative and detrimental).|
|10||October 27, 2014-December 15, 2014||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre was located at Dunnville Airport for the fifth year in a row, with the final road test again taking place in Hamilton, Ontario.||10th Anniversary||Chanie Richard||Self-described "Selfie Queen" Chanie was named Canada's Worst Driver for her lack of focus at the wheel and admission of driving without legally required medication.||None|
|11||October 26, 2015-December 14, 2015||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre was located at Dunnville Airport for the sixth year in a row, with the final road test again taking place in Hamilton, Ontario.||High-speed driving||Jillian Matthews||Despite passing some challenges and numerous practice driving sessions in public off-camera, Jillian was named Canada's Worst Driver due to her inability to completely overcome her anxiety when alone behind the wheel, deemed by the judges to be a real danger to other drivers on the road.||This season featured nine contestants instead of the usual eight, as for the first time ever, a pair of contestants also acted as nominators for each other, as Sholom and Shmuel Hoffman both nominated one another and were considered equally bad drivers. This season also saw two contestants-- in this case, Alexander Morrison and Tina Cook-- graduate in an episode.|
|12||October 24, 2016-December 12, 2016||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre was located at Dunnville Airport for the seventh year in a row, with the final road test again taking place in Hamilton, Ontario.||Dangers of Speeding||Krystal McCann||Krystal was named Canada's Worst Driver due to her addiction to her cell phone, aggressive driving, mood swings, failing to improve her hostile attitude and not taking any of the lessons to heart (Krystal later attributed her behaviour to borderline personality disorder which she was diagnosed with after the show).||This season featured the show's 100th episode, being the seventh episode of the season (specials included). This season also saw the first time the traditional trophy was not awarded to Canada's Worst Driver (it was instead repurposed as the Final Graduate trophy and awarded to Tyler Dupont) as the experts believed Krystal was not even worthy of it due to her hostile behavior in rehab.|
|13||October 23, 2017-December 11, 2017||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre was located at Dunnville Airport for the eighth year in a row, with the final road test again taking place in Hamilton, Ontario.||Driving fears and the number 13||Mélanie Lautard||Mélanie was named Canada's Worst Driver due to her inability to focus on, apply and sometimes remember the lessons she was taught in rehab and her negative attitude towards herself and the Rehabilitation Centre's instructors while driving on- and off-camera.||This season saw the first former contestant-- in this case, Canada's Worst Driver 11 "winner" Jillian Kieley (née Jillian Matthews)-- return as the nominator of a new contestant, Ashley Dunne. This season also made more extensive use of helicopter drone aerial video than previous seasons.|
|14||October 29, 2018-December 17, 2018||The Driver Rehabilitation Centre was located at Dunnville Airport for the ninth year in a row, with the final road test again taking place in Hamilton, Ontario.||Evolution of driving||Brandon Wilkins||Brandon was named Canada's Worst Driver due to his reckless driving, emotional instability and lack of basic understanding of road signs and rules. As a result, Brandon immediately cut up his license after promising he would quit driving if named the worst.||This is the first season to feature seven contestants instead of the usual eight. This season also marks the first time that a new contestant-- Ryan Whittier-- graduated in the first episode, while another contestant-- Brandon Wilkins-- had to get a doctor's note after arriving at rehab to get permission to be able to drive since he broke his arm in a skateboarding accident a week before filming.|
- Snowdon, Wallis (December 14, 2016). "After mental health journey, 'Canada's worst driver' back on the road in Edmonton". CBC Edmonton News. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- "Canada's Worst Driver - Season 14 postcard" (PDF). Bell Media - Advertising Sales. Retrieved 5 September 2018.