For Dan Dube and his eleven-year-old son, Simon, it was a lifetime opportunity that not only helped them bond more as father and son but also showed each other what they were capable of under pressure.
It's part of the French reality show "A Fond De Train."
In the cross-country competition two duos compete starting in Vancouver and ending in Halifax with many stops in between, Dube and his son landed their shot to compete, jumping on the train in Sudbury, and facing their first of potentially many challenges. The catch: the winners get back on the train to face a new duo, while the losers go back home.
“We had to go around to different known spots in Toronto finding clues and solving challenges,” Dube said of their intense day in the Provincial capital. “The challenges were pretty intellectual, having to outsmart and be quicker than the other team.”
Dube said he couldn’t give a lot away, but challenges brought them to landmarks like the CN Tower, over the course of the whole day.
But it all started last year, when his wife, Chantal, came back from teaching one day to show them an email calling for submissions of contestants for the show.
“She thought me and Simon would be a good combination for the show when she showed us,” Dube said. “Simon was 10 at the time, and we sent our video and were contacted to do a Skype interview. And by mid-May, we were on our way to compete.”
But as much as it was a cooperative competition, it became more for the father-son duo, as they got to see a different side of each other.
“I learned quite a bit about him,” he said about his son. “He’s really perseverant when he wants to do something. He puts his mind to it and he really surprised me in some instances when he pushed further during the challenges. It really makes me proud as a father to see my son like that.”
He said he was very excited to see certain points of the episode this weekend, particularly from the perspective of the other team.
“There is a certain part of the show where we didn’t see what happened on the other side, and that moment was probably the turning point in the show for us,” he said without giving too much away. “The pressure of being filmed makes you change how you act. Sometimes the pressure brings the best out of people or the worst, but I tend to think it brought the best out of us.”
Dube said it was a lifetime experience and he would do it again in a heartbeat, already looking to apply—at the urging of Simon—for the next season of A Fond De Train.
“It was an awesome opportunity, not only to be on TV but to do something like this with my son,” he said.
A Fond De Train will be airing their Toronto challenges this Saturday morning on Unis TV—Cogeco 530/560, Bell Fibe 141/1141, Bell Satellite et Telus 150, Shaw et Shaw Direct 741—for those with French-language packages, as well as on their website Saturday afternoon for a week afterward.
So make sure to tune in to see how far Dan Dube and his son Simon make it on the cross-country ride.