If Helen Strohschein and Barb Hall get their wish, they’ll put Oak Bay on the map worldwide next year. The two Oak Bay Parks employees are in the process of applying for the Amazing Race Canada TV show, and they can’t think of anyone better to partner with than each other.
“Helen and I, we make everything fun and funny,” says Hall of why she thinks they’ll work as a reality show team. “We always take on a lot. No matter the project, we go into it with such ambition.”
Hall and Strohschein met four years ago when Hall first started as a seasonal employee, and she says the two would balance each other out perfectly in the show’s challenges.
“We’ve already planned out who would do what on the show,” she says with a laugh. “I hate heights, so any jumping out of planes, that’s her.”
“I’m not going to eat weird food,” says Strohschein.
“And I love eating!” Hall chimes in.
The key, they both say, is to stay positive no matter what happens.
“She’ll balance out my anxiety,” says Strohschein. “I’ll be like, ‘we have to get there now!’ and she’ll just say, ‘we will.’”
Of the two, Strohschein is the only one who’s travelled extensively, but neither of them have travelled Canada, and they say it would be a dream come true to explore their own country. Strohschein says they also have a bit of an edge when it comes to facing challenges here, having come from different provinces.
“I’m from Toronto, and Barb’s from Saskatchewan, and we’ve both spent time on the west coast now. I figure we’ve sort of got it covered, east to west coast.”
As for where else they might end up, Hall’s hoping for a European adventure or a chance to see Nunavut or the Yukon, and Strohschein says she’d love to see the Galapagos Islands.
The dedication and energy between them extends to the rest of their Parks crew as well, and they both say that bond will help them through whatever happens with their application. Comprised entirely of women, they have what Strohschein calls a “strong sisterhood,” and have even given themselves a name.
“We’re called the Joy Sisters,” says Hall. “With this kind of support and friendship behind us, we can definitely conquer the amazing race!”
They both say their experiences working with the Parks department will help them if they get on the show. Constantly interacting with the public, dealing with unknowns on a daily basis and applying creative solutions to problems are all skills they’ve developed as they planted, weeded and mowed their way through Oak Bay.
Above all, they’re prepared to handle anything that comes their way.
“We’re used to hard work, and we’re not afraid to get dirty,” says Hall.
Strohschein agrees with a laugh.
“We do that everyday!”