HicksBiz Blog

Pitch-perfect evening of Simon & Garfunkel: The Simon & Garfunkel Story at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: A review by GRAHAM HICKS, posted Sept. 12, 2016

The Simon & Garfunkel Story Mayfield Dinner Theatre,  16615 109 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 780-483-4051 mayfielddinnertheatre.ca To October 30, 2016 Tickets, including dinner, $85 to $115. REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS I’m sure the sociologists and neurologists have a field day studying this one, but it’s true. The pop music surrounding any given generation, from its high school years to the end of college, will become the most fondly remembered and favourite music of that generation for the rest of its days. Which is why the Mayfield Dinner Theatre – off Mayfield Road and within the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Edmonton West - specializes in nostalgia musical shows.  “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” will more than earn its keep as it plays at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre through October 30, 2016. Written and performed by Dean Elliott (he plays Paul Simon with fellow Englishman Jonny Muir as Art Garfunkel), Simon & Garfunkel is a lovely trip dow ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: A new kind of oil boom BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 09, 2016

Ever since the world price of oil crashed and burned in July of 2014 and remains a smouldering wreck of over-supply, Alberta’s power brokers have talked about economic diversification, talked about weaning us off our love affair with oil + gas, talked about finding a new lover to shower us with the same kind of wealth.   The problem has been that nobody knew quite what to do. Even if a plan comes together, growing dynamic, profitable, job-creating companies and new industries is a long and arduous process, fraught with peril. . But now future industrial possibilities are emerging that actually sound like decent bets. It’s about a host of futuristic non-polluting products that can be made from oil; products that are fast becoming cheaper, lighter alternatives to metals used in manufacturing. In a talk to the University of Alberta Energy Club, Alberta economic thinker and industry strategist Dr. Richard Dixon made a gloomy but realistic case for an enduring global slowdown in dem ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: A new kind of oil boom BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 09, 2016

Ever since the world price of oil crashed and burned in July of 2014 and remains a smouldering wreck of over-supply, Alberta’s power brokers have talked about economic diversification, talked about weaning us off our love affair with oil + gas, talked about finding a new lover to shower us with the same kind of wealth.   The problem has been that nobody knew quite what to do. Even if a plan comes together, growing dynamic, profitable, job-creating companies and new industries is a long and arduous process, fraught with peril. . But now future industrial possibilities are emerging that actually sound like decent bets. It’s about a host of futuristic non-polluting products that can be made from oil; products that are fast becoming cheaper, lighter alternatives to metals used in manufacturing. In a talk to the University of Alberta Energy Club, Alberta economic thinker and industry strategist Dr. Richard Dixon made a gloomy but realistic case for an enduring global slowdown in dem ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Hankering for great steak? Try Von’s BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 06, 2016

Von’s Steak House + Oyster Bar 10309 81 Ave. (Old Strathcona) 780-439-0041 www.vonssteakhouse.com Food: 4.5 of 5 stars Ambience: 4 of 5 stars Service: 4 of 5 stars 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (midnight on Friday and Saturday) Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $70; fully loaded, $120 The last few years have seen a revival of the venerable steak house. Chop, Ruth’s Chris, Bistecca and the Blue Rare (Sherwood Park and St. Albert) have joined the standing ranks of Lux, Coliseum, Moose Factory, Sawmill and the multiple Kegs. One steak house has stood eternal, above the fray, seemingly unchanging and as popular as ever after some 35 years in the same South Side location that looks over Gateway Boulevard at 81 Avenue. Von’s Steak House + Oyster Bar, built and opened by Barry Sparrow and family around the same time Sparrow opened Cook County Saloon next door, has never changed hands. Operating partner Ron Kauffman continues to run a first-class show. Evolution, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Let Maritimes history be a lesson to Alberta BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 02, 2016

A just-ended holiday through Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia could well be called idyllic. The beaches of Prince Edward Island, the coastlines of the Bay of Fundy, Cape Breton's highlands, 400 years of colonial history and Maritime friendliness: Through the eyes of a visitor, it was delightful. But, sadly, some things have little changed from my last Maritimes visit 40 years ago. The economy remains about the same - not much besides tourism, agriculture and the lobster fishery. Population growth has been minimal. Unless they land public sector jobs, young Maritimers usually must leave to work elsewhere until they can retire back to their beloved ancestral homes. It wasn't always thus. From the 1600s through the birth of Canada, even up to the 1920s, the Maritimes were a powerful economic driver, as important as Alberta is to the country today. Alberta, take notice. How quickly prosperity can slip away - especially when governments pursue "save the planet" policies that will even further de ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: What happened to The 2001 Worlds’ legacy? BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2016

The Canadian track and field team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de janeiro has done well, winning more medals than ever before. But where was Alberta? None of the athletes, even those born and raised here, trained in the province. After the 2001 World Championships in Athletics (the 2001 Worlds) were held in this city, the “Edmonton 2001 Athletics Legacy Fund” was set up with a $3 million surplus left over from the games and $5 million in federal government funds. The fund’s mandate was clear: To assist in the creation and support of the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre (CACC) at the University of Alberta.  The vision was equally clear: Support world-class coaches and facilities, in turn attracting top track and field athletes from Alberta, Canada and abroad. Here we are, 15 years later.  Despite a half-million dollar annual grant from the Legacy Fund to the CACC, not one athlete on the 2016 Canadian Olympic track and field team came through Alberta. Those who ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS WEEKLY DISH: Restaurant craziness in downtown Edmonton BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2016

Holy atomic pile, Batman! The new JOEY Bell Tower restaurant opened this week, 278 seats with an investment of at least $5 to $6 million in an extension off the downtown Bell Tower, just a 30-second stroll to Rogers Place. JOEY is the latest hospitality business to make such a bold move. At least 50 existing downtown restaurants/bars are pinning their hopes and improvements on the disposable dollars of the 5,000 to 20,000 people that will flow in and out of Rogers Place some 150 nights a year. Another 50 – at least – new downtown bars and eateries will open in the near future. Outside the immediate Ice District (the four office/residential/hotel towers and plazas around Rogers Place) the following restaurants have been announced: Buco Pizzeria and Vino (Sorrentinos Group) opens in the EPCOR Building. Baiju (sister to North 53) in the Mercer Building. Bundok (brand-new, chef Ryan Hotchkiss) in the Fox Tower. Bottega 104 by the Crudo brothers (Café Amore, Black Pearl Seafood ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton seeing return of eco features in neighbourhoods BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 2016

When I was a kid, we’d ride our bikes to what’s now called a “wetlands”, but back then was simply undeveloped urban land, more swamp than anything else. We’d crash our bikes on the twisty trails we’d created, we’d build forts, we’d do what kids love to do – play in a natural environment with our pals. My friend Peter Koziol has the best tales of an idyllic childhood in pre-Abbottsfield Beverly. He and his pals roamed the neighbourhood and local “wetlands” all Saturday. The parents didn’t worry, because the kids were together, checking in regularly at friends’ homes for Kool Aid and cookies. The only rule was be home for dinner when the street lights came on. But sometime in the early ’70s, neighbourhoods became nothing but cookie-cutter homes on tiny lots with ugly garage doors facing the street. Any open land was transformed into manicured parks, sports fields or playgrounds. About the same time, parents started t ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Sage Restaurant, River Cree Resort and Casino BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 09, 2016

Sage Restaurant, River Cree Resort and Casino 300 East Lapotac Blvd, Enoch, AB 780-930-2636 http://rivercreeresort.com/dining.php 9:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, just food – basic $60, loaded $100 Alas, we picked the wrong day to visit Sage, the excellent dining room in the River Cree Resort and Casino out where Whitemud Drive turns from a freeway to a country lane. There’s no “wrong” day per say. Sage maintains its consistently high quality seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Casinos rarely sleep.) It’s just that executive chef Shane Chartrand’s alternative menu, reflecting his indigenous culinary fusion cooking, wasn’t available this particular evening. Some country band known as the Mavericks was performing that evening in the River Cree concert hall. A concert means Sage fills with diners checking their watches. To meet time demands, the Sage kit ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Farewell to Northlands as we know it BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, AUGUST 05, 2016

This is it.   Northlands in its current form will no longer exist after its visit with Edmonton City Council later this month, though it may emerge as a much smaller organization.   Edmonton city council will be feeling guilty about yanking the rug out from under Northlands’ feet – opting to build the snazzy new downtown arena with the Oilers, instead of renovating Rexall Place with Northlands. That one move guaranteed Northlands’ current perilous financial state.   But there’s no way on God’s Little Green Prairie that city hall is going to fund the capital costs of Northlands’ no-arena “Vision 2020” that’s coming to council for discussion.   Guilt is not enough rationale to fork over $215 million to the venerable, not-for-profit organization to fulfill its “Vision 2020” wish list/survival plan. And certainly not enough reason to write off the Northlands EXPO Centre’s $45 million mortgage as wel ... Read the rest of entry »
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