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Following the success of the first season of The Amazing Race Canada, CTV has just announced that the casting for Season 2 of the reality competition series is now open!

Fans and adventure-seekers now have their chance to take part in what would undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience where they can win big in the process. If you’re familiar with the series, you already know that they like to put together a very diverse cast and there’s usually a gay/lesbian team among the mix as well – wink wink;) If you and your boyfriend or best friend think you have what it takes and think Canada will be entertained by watching you both be pushed to your limits, don’t miss out on this opportunity! Now’s your time to shine and show the country who you are and the bond you and your challenge partner have together. A sexy and successful couple (who maybe like to take their shirts of during challenges? Yes please! Gay besties that bicker like an old married couple? I’m speaking from personal experience here – ahemAdam). Or perhaps it’s you and a family member and whatever crazy dynamic you may have between you (good or bad). Anything goes so don’t be shy! If you procrastinated for Season 1 video applications and didn’t get around to submitting one, make a plan today and get ‘er done!

The deadline for submissions is Thursday, Dec. 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Those interested can go online now at www.CTV.ca/TheAmazingRaceCanada and submit an audition video and application for their chance to join host Jon Montgomery on road, on the race-of-a-lifetime adventure.

More details after the jump…

Since 1970, the Spartacus International Gay Guide has given the low down on popular travel destinations. Instead of just focusing on nightlife, their index covers local laws relating to gay marriage, death penalty for homosexuals, HIV travel restrictions and more. All in all, there are 14 categories the publication considers to determine the LGBT friendliness of all 138 destinations they cover.

Coming in at the top slot is Sweden. The land of IKEA scored well for its anti-discrimination laws, gay unions and marketing specifically aimed at the LGBT community. Most of the Top 10 is comprised of European countries. The only exceptions are Canada and Uruguay which placed sixth and ninth respectively.

For our American readers, you didn’t fare very well. The United States landed in the middle of the pack at No. 38– tied with Aruba, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Curacao, Hungary, Italy, Mexico and Thailand. Anti-gay laws and lack of marriage equality in several parts of the country contributed to its low ranking. At the very bottom of the list is Iran which probably isn’t a surprise to most of you. Check out the Top 10 and Bottom 10 below.

check out the Top 10 and Bottom 10 after the jump

“Gay” really does mean “happy”! The University of Montreal published the findings of a study they did in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine that addresses some differences between gays and straights when it comes to happiness and stress management. They studied 87 of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual Canadians and found that the queer members of their study that had come out of the closet to family and friends “have less anxiety, depression, and burnout” than those who hadn’t. To add to that, the study’s leader (Robert-Paul Juster) said that as a group, out gay and bisexual males “were less likely to be depressed than heterosexual men and had less physiological problems than heterosexual men.” These findings were also published on U.S. News.

Juster concludes from their findings that coming out is good for many reasons. “Our research suggests coming out of the closet has some health benefits,” says Robert-Paul Juster, the study’s lead author. “Coming out is no longer a matter of popular debate, but a matter of public health.”

Find out how it has health benefits after the jump…

During last night’s episode of The Amazing Race, host Phil Keoghan delivered some exciting news to Canadian viewers – that Canada would be getting its own version of The Amazing Race on CTV in 2013! The biggest difference between the US version and the Canadian version is that the Canadian version will only be within the borders of Canada – so you won’t need a passport. Other countries outside the US that have their own version include Asia, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Israel, Latin America, Norway, Philippines, Ukraine and Vietnam. The following is CTV’s description of the series:

“THE AMAZING RACE CANADA will provide a uniquely Canadian take on the original series, with competitors discovering the world within the borders of Canada. Though the series’ specific destinations won’t be revealed until it airs, Canada offers divergent topography and disparate locales that are bound to add to the excitement and complexity of the show and its challenges, from Vancouver Island’s tropical rainforest, Alberta’s parched Badlands, the peaks of the Rockies, and the barren tundra of the Great White North, to the Boreal forests of Ontario and Quebec, the sea-faring ports of the Maritimes, the fjords of Newfoundland, and the teeming metropolises and undiscovered towns in between.”

At first I thought the idea of The Amazing Race taking place only within Canada was really lame, but after giving it some thought, we are the second largest country in the world and there is a lot that can be discovered within this vast and complex landscape.

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Say Goodbye To The Canadian Penny

In: Patrick, Random Reads

I can’t say that I’m sad about this because I barely even carry cash these days unless I have to. Even then, I HATE carrying around pennies. You can’t even use them for anything (ie. vending machine, etc.).

Canadian Finance minister Jim Flaherty announced that the Canadian one cent coin was going to be phased out, saying “pennies take up too much space on our dressers at home.” Not only that, but they cost a lot to keep in circulation. They cost the government at least $130-million per year. Canada has had pennies since 1908.

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Yes, you read that right. According the The Globe and Mail, the Harper Government has said that thousands of marriages of foreigners who came to Canada to wed are not valid. This comes to light as a Toronto test case brought forward by a lesbian couple (American and English) seeking a divorce. They couple got married in Toronto in 2005, now sadly wanting a divorce, they were told that they cannot because they were were never really married. A Department of Justice lawyer said their marriage is not legal in Canada due to the fact that they could not have lawfully wed in Florida or England, where they are each from.

Their lawyer, Martha McCarthy told The Globe and Mail, “It is scandalous. It is offensive to their dignity and human rights to suggest they weren’t married or that they have something that is a nullity.” She continued, “It is appalling and outrageous that two levels of government would be taking this position without ever having raised it before, telling anybody it was an issue or doing anything pro-active about it. All the while, they were handing out licences to perform marriages across the country to non-resident people.” She has a very valid point.

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Canada Says No To Russell Brand

In: Celeb Gossip & News, Tyrell

Oh oh, it looks like Russell Brand is having some documentation issues. A while back, Brand was headed to Japan and after landing in the country, was denied entry and forced home. Now, Russell has had the same luck (or no luck) in our home native land. Russell was scheduled to make an appearance at Casino Rama in Ontario but ran into some trouble at the Canadian border. He sent out the following tweet:

HELP! I’m gonna be late for Casino Rama show unless someone can force Canadian customs officials to let us land in Orillia.”

However, no power of social media could save Russell and allow him entry into the country. He tweeted again:

“Tonight’s Casino Rama show postponed. I’m sorry. I can’t enter Canada. We must abolish the borders between our nations AND our minds.”

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Thank you for Dan for sending this to me – totally made my day! For those of you that don’t know, PFLAG is a national non-profit organization devoted to GLBT, their families and communities. They have just launched a national campaign that uses social media to document people’s experiences in coming out – both everyday people (including kids) and well known personalities, including So You Think You Can Dance Canada‘s guest judge Rex Harrington (who is also the artist In residence of the Canadian National Ballet) as well as HGTV personality Terry Edward Briceland.

“Stories are the mechanism through which we support each other and inspire people to carry forward,” said Cherie MacLeod, national executive director for PFLAG in Moncton, NB. “We’ve always believed that the more connected we are, the more we can help create a safer world. This is definitely a reflection of the work that we do and how we want to inspire Canadians.”

There are also image / print ads that tease the videos with pictures of those that shared their story with a QR code on them. Those interested have to scan the code to reveal more info. PFLAG Canada wanted to show that they are embracing new technologies to get its message out. I’m really glad that PFLAG has done this. It’s so important.

Listen to a few of the stories after the jump…

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