HicksBiz Blog

Category: Around town

Around town

The Fairmonton Hotel Macdonald's 100th anniversary: A roll call of its general managers since 1991 re-opening, and a list of important dates in the hotel's history

A few more details to add to my Hicks on Biz column about 100 years of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton, published July 10, 2015. When the Hotel Macdonald re-opned after its massive restoration by CP Hotels, it's had a strong line-up of general managers, who all made their mark as community leaders in Edmonton. The list includes:  Tony Cary-Bernard - 1990 to 1997  (over saw the reopening in 1991). Currently General Manager of the Westin Resort & Spas, Whistler, B.C.  Kevin Toth - 1997 to 1999 - re-assigned to be General Manager of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, currently  President, Fox Harb'r Golf Resort & Spa, Fox Harbour, Nova Scota Danny Crowell - 1999-2005 - currently General Manager, Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa, Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. Johanne Johnson - 2005-2009 - currently Human Resources Manager, Nuna Logistics, Edmonton, AB Don Fennerty - 2009-2013 - current General Manager, Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, B.C. Garrett Turta - 2013-present& ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The Macdonald Hotel mirrors Edmonton's economic history by GRAHAM HICKS, first posted Edmonton Sun, Friday, July 10, 2015

Last week’s 100th Anniversary Gala of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald with 136 invited guests was an elegant, but subdued affair. Which was appropriate. The 198-room heritage hotel, the most prominent and enduring historic building in Edmonton has been a mirror of the turbulent economic history of this region since it opened for business on July 5, 1915. The original owner and builder was the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, which pushed the second trans-Canada railroad across the railway bridge now north of the Beverly Bridge into downtown Edmonton in 1909. The optimism! The excitement! The land boom! Most of Edmonton’s still-standing heritage buildings were built between 1911 and 1914. The city’s population near tripled, from 25,000 in 1911 to a peak of 72,500 in early 1914. No sooner had Grand Trunk run the rails into the city, when it announced the finest hotel in the west would be built in the heart of the booming city, with a magnificent view of the North Saskatchewan. The rail ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Urbano Pizza offers high quality, healthy fare BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JULY 07, 2015

Urbano Pizza Co. 10220 103 St. 780-705-1885 urbanopizzaco.com 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays Closed Sundays Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Two 11-inch pizzas: $11.95 each You are so busy, it doesn’t hit you until the aircraft lifts off. Yes! Your holiday is actually underway! I had a similar realization, a chill down the spine as it were, sitting at one (of two) street-side patio tables outside the new Urbano Pizza Co. The early evening July sun was easing off, yet the downtown 103 Street was still bathed in light and warmth. Just a block north, in clear view, the new arena, girder by girder, is fast realizing its fabulous promise. A couple of storefronts away, the cranes were hauling up the exterior wall panels for another new condo tower. Days later, Connor McDavid scored five goals in a scrimmage at the Oilers development camp. It hit home. In just over a year, Rogers Place will be open for bu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: NongBu Korean Eatery still needs work BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2015

NongBu Korean Eatery 8115 104 St. 780-989-0997 www.facebook.com/NongBuKorean Mon. to Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 2.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $30; loaded, $60 Graham Hicks 780 707 6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com www.hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix NongBu Korean Eatery represents an ironic, yet entirely logical, evolution of ethnic-based restaurants. Until recently, most ethnic restaurants served Canadianized versions of ethnic dishes or simple “village” fare reflecting the food from back home ... 30 years ago. Hence Korean restaurants in town have traditionally featured bulgogi, kimchi and bibimbap. But for the next generation that has stayed in the hospitality biz, village and Canadianized dishes weren’t enough. Many studied food trends in their ethnic homelands or in Vegas/ New York to see what fusion was up to. And now there’s a counter-revoluti ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Padmanadi a vegetarian's delight BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2015

Padmanadi Vegetarian Restaurant 10740 101 St. 780-428-8899 padmanadi.com Tues to Fri, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch), 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Mon Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $30; loaded, $60 Graham Hicks 780 707 6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com www.hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix It’s inappropriate, I apologize in advance. But Padmanadi Vegetarian Restaurant makes me laugh and laugh. The second page of its menu is 100% dedicated to “vegetarian meat dishes.” Somewhere out there, some supplier makes a fake meat “base” out of grain and tofu and Lord knows what. It must be mixed like a dough, cut into meaty shapes and flavoured with non-meat, meaty flavours like lemon “chicken”, teriyaki “chicken’, spicy “shrimp”, Tom Yum “mutton” and even lemon “ribs ... Read the rest of entry »

Book of Mormon knows no limits - review by GRAHAM HICKS, posted March 27, 2015

Review of Book of Mormon Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 24 to 29, 2015 (Sold out, other than last-minute lottery style rush tickets for $25) Review by GRAHAM HICKS I never watched much South Park on TV, but I read enough about the animated comedy to know it broke all the rules of pleasantry and politeness, was one of the first shows on widely-watched TV in the early ’90s to break the profanity barrier, and was screamingly funny through humourous commentary that made fun of just about every American icon, be it human or otherwise. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were natural heirs to the irreverent, damn the social torpedoes school of American satirical humour that broke through with George Carlin, gestated in Saturday Night Live, spawned The Simpsons and John Belushi. So it wasn’t surprising that Parker, Stone and third collaborator Robert Lopez again broke all the rules when they wrote Book of Mormon, certainly the most successful Broadway s ... Read the rest of entry »

Playing With Fire, The Theo Fleury Story at the Citadel Theatre: Jocks and their artsy girlfriends will both love this show - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Playing With Fire – The Theo Fleury Story Maclab Stage, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Through Feb. 15, 2015 Tickets, starting at $30 Review by Graham Hicks,  hicksbiz.com Relax. Playing With Fire – The Theo Fleury Story – is not going to subject you to scene after scene of the grim sexual abuse story of Fleury’s adolescence that finally sent his hockey coach tormentor Graham James to prison. In fact, this one-man show on the Citadel’s Maclab Theatre is surprisingly cheerful and funny, given it’s a detailed autobiographical account of the famous and diminutive Calgary Flame's ascent and then descent into a living hell of drug, alcohol and gambling addiction, then, one hopes, back to an addictions-free life.  (Who knows? The play is based on Fleury’s autobiography, published in 2009.) It’s also innovative, played on a mini-hockey rink, with top-notch multi-media enhancements to the story, beautifully acted with Shaun Smyth taking hi ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel's One Man, Two Guvnors - is it humanly possible to laugh this hard? Review by GRAHAM HICKS

One Man, Two Guvnors Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage Through Sunday, November 16, 2014 Tickets $30 and up, www.citadeltheatre.com Review by GRAHAM HICKS In One Man, Two Guvnors, Francis (John Ullyatt) splays away with a metaphorical comedic machine gun, shooting off humour in every which direction, at every which moment, within every which comedy device ever devised since the first playwright walked on his or her back legs. Lord, this is one great screwball comedy that Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre has used to brighten up its 2014/15 season – up there with previous productions such as Monty Python’s Spamalot, Noises Off, the Noel Coward runabouts and Tom Wood’s initial adaptation of The Servant of Two Masters – on which this show is also based – back in 2002/03. As the program notes usefully point out, British playwright Richard Bean is a worthy heir to the brilliant line of British physical/spoken humour that stretches from Spike Milligan to Peter Sellers, John Clee ... Read the rest of entry »

Kim's Convenience: Citadel Theatre season-opener is lightweight, charming and one-dimensional: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Kim’s Convenience Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage through Oct. 11, 2014 Tickets $30 to $84, www.citadeltheatre.com (Touring show, produced by Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company) Review by GRAHAM HICKS I’m not sure what Kim’s Convenience says about the current state of Canadian theatre. It’s a lightweight, superficially charming, one-dimensional, 90-minute piece of theatre that I most closely relate to lightweight, superficial, lame CBC-TV  sitcom comedies like Little Mosque on the Prairie, i.e. paying lip service to “Canadian” themes without any semblance of artistic, philosophical or emotional depth. Yet Kim’s Convenience has been a hit in Canadian theatrical terms, starting as a Toronto Fringe Festival star show in 2011, winning a pile of Toronto theatre awards, touring the country, and being optioned for a TV series. (If it’s not the CBC, I’ll eat my hat.)  Is there such a lack of contemporary Canadian play competition that this ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Hey, media, stop picking on Big Oil BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

It’s a hoary old cliché, but so true.

In journalism, there’s no such thing as objectivity.

Bias hangs out on every corner.

It’s so darned obvious in the mountains of verbiage expended on .02% of Canada’s boreal forest surrounding Fort McMurray, the oilsands.

Note the bias: I throw in the fact the oilsands take up less than one-fifth of one percent of the boreal forest. The underlying message: The oilsands are NOT destroying Canada’s wilderness.

That one little fact, slipped in, pretty well tells you where this commentator is coming from.

The reality is this city, hence yours and my livelihoods, is highly dependent on oilsands generated wealth. So I support oilsands development – as long as the environmental rules are followed, and the rules get tougher to the point of miniscule or zero tolerance when technology permits.

Most commentators will not admit to a bias. But it’s so easy to tell.

Those adamantly opposed to oilsands development call the oilsands the “tar sands.”

Gee, what was your first clue? Read the rest of entry »