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EDMONTON: How did it happen?

HOW DID IT HAPPEN? By GRAHAM HICKS How did it happen on May 29, 2023? How could an entire city vote for the opposition in a provincial election? How could an entire ALBERTA city, one-third of the province’s population, elect 20  New Democrat socialists into the provincial legislature? One hundred per cent New Democrat! Not a sliver of blue to be seen in an ocean of orange. I mean, this is ALBERTA – the Texas of Canada, capitalist to its very bones, Canada’s conservative bedrock! The rest of the province stayed true to form -  rural Alberta went 100 per cent to the right, to the governing United Conservative Party.  Calgary was a battleground between UCP and New Democrats, but the UCP won over half of Calgary’s seats, Outlier Edmonton sent a wave of  labour organizers, teachers, social workers and nurses to the provincial legislature – Not a single one of them will sit at the cabinet table, or even in the governing party caucus.  Edmonton 100% re ... Read the rest of entry »

EDMONTON: Where's the Boom?

“Edmonton – Where’s the Boom?” By Graham Hicks January 17, 2023 We live in strange times here in Edmonton. Every other time we went through high energy price cycles – when oil was running between $100 Cdn to $130 Cdn -  Edmonton boomed.     Restaurants and clubs were opening every week, packed from the moment they opened their doors. The fun zones of the city – Old Strathcona, the west end of downtown – pulsed with energy.  Money gushed through town.  If you wanted a job, you got a job. Well-paying too. At times Edmonton and Calgary led the country in rising real estate prices, low vacancy rates and expensive rents. It’s been a year now – since the start of 2022 - that oil and gas prices had the big rebound. But the city still seems to be in a post-pandemic lethargy. Pedestrians in the party zones are few and far between. A depressing number of quality restaurants have gone out of business. The “for lease” ... Read the rest of entry »

Indigenous People's Experience at Fort Edmonton Park delivers on all levels

When I retired as an Edmonton Sun columnist last year, I gave myself an out. If the spirit so moved, Hicksbiz thoughts and reporting just might show up on the hicksbiz.com blog. The spirit has moved – with the re-opening, after three long years, of Fort Edmonton Park, and equally important, the brand-new Indigenous People’s Experience living museum, a new $40 million building and park within the Fort Edmonton Park compound. The entirely re-built park (all the underground infrastructure had to be upgraded), plus new history-appropriate attractions, re-opens on Canada Day 2021 after three long years of being closed for renovations.  Four years ago, after the announcement of the upgrades and construction of the Indigenous People’s Experience (in partnership with the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations and the Metis Nation of Alberta), some wishful thinking ensued. If the Indigenous People’s Experience lived up to its billing, might it be the final piece to a lo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: COVID-19's economic fallout in Alberta will make dire situation worse By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 27, 2020

The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 novel coronavirus which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, on Jan. 29, 2020.supplied / Reuters I am, sadly, deeply pessimistic about Alberta’s future. It’s not about the COVID-19 virus. Public health measures backed by massive emergency government spending will hopefully spare us from the worst of the global pandemic. The fear is how much the virus will cost – i.e. the consequences of the grinding of the provincial, national and global economy to a near-halt. In Alberta, those costs are layered on top of the existing five-year collapse in the price of oil and gas prices, from $100 US a barrel to $50 US, and now a collapse of the collapse to $20 US. These body blows are on top of the relentless pressure to kill the oil and gas industry entirely. Alber ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: U of A researchers hot on the trail of COVID-19 By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 20, 2020

Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, founding director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology in a lab on the University of Alberta campus. The Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology is involved in the critical work to help stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus on February 10, 2020. Photo by Shaughn Butts / Postmedia University of Alberta researchers, as they have done before, are hot on the trail of finding both a vaccine and a treatment for the COVID-19 virus. Distinguished virologist Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, famous for developing the drug lamivudine for treating Hepatitis B, is working with the equally well-known Dr. Michael Houghton, testing anti-viral compounds for possible effectiveness against COVID-19. In 2003-04, Dr. Houghton developed the leading vaccine candidate for the SARS outbreak. SARS – also of the coronavirus family — subsided before a vaccine needed to be mass-produced At least eight research groups at the University of Alberta are working around the clock on ways to stop this global pandem ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Culinary Team NAIT's deep dive into contemporary Canadiana By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, November 19, 2019

While gorgeous to look at, Team NAIT's vegetarian dish for the Stuttgart Culinary Olympics still needs work. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Ernest’s Dining Room, NAIT – Culinary Olympic luncheons 10701 118 Ave. nait.ca/ernests 780-471-8676 Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Hours (only when school is in session) : Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, showcase buffet Fridays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dinner (pre-set menu) 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. Special Olympic luncheon: $20.95 per person Dinner (pre-set menu, excluding beverages, taxes and tip):  $45 per person; lunch, average $12 per person. By GRAHAM HICKS Lovers of good food, especially those with champagne tastes hampered by the glum reality of beer budgets, here’s a chance to glimpse culinary heaven. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Culinary Team NAIT is off to Stuttgart, Germany in February to compete in the prestigious, very global 20 ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Turquaz Kebab House by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, November 5, 2019

The Turquaz Trio - left to right, chicken, beef kafta and lamb with fries, rice, salad, hummus and garlic spread. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Turquaz Kebab House (Turkish & Lebanese Cuisine) 13310 137 Ave. 780-476-4511 turquazkebabhouse.com Seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two:  Basic, $25,  loaded, $50 By GRAHAM HICKS The city’s Arabic/Middle Eastern community, both Christian and Muslim, is resolutely concentrated north of 132 Avenue. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Its better-known restaurants, some eight to 10, each with particular specialties within the broad category of “Mediterranean”, rarely advertise outside that ethnic/geographical community. Consequently, outside of donairs, shawarmas and baklava, mainstream Edmonton is little exposed to Middle Eastern fare. A great pity. The food – kebab cubes, fatouche, ... Read the rest of entry »

Inspired '60s silliness at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre - Review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com

Musical Theatre review Class of '63 Rockin' Reunion Mayfield Dinner Theatre November 5, 2019 to January 26, 2020 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  HicksBiz.com Tickets: MayfieldTheatre.ca  Don’t expect a plot line, or anything the least bit serious for that matter. Just sit back at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre and drink in all the great (and silly) pop songs of the pre-Beatles ‘60s, laugh at the silliest of costumes from the Fabian/Elvis Presley/Nah Nah Nah days. Those outfits must have been worn by our grandparents when they were high school hipsters of their day!  Okay ... our older sister and brothers! As always with these classic Mayfield pop medleys, the eight musical actors – Mike Zimmerman, Brad Wiebe, Stephanie Pitsiladis, Melanie Piatocha, Kieran Martin Murphy, Pamela Gordon, Simone Denny and particularly possible-rising star Jahlen Barnes – are without peers when it comes to musical fun and interpretation. Likewise, the under-appreciated Mayfield house band, co ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Poland a big surprise By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN October 4, 2019

The historic Old Town of Warsaw, Poland, was rebuilt after being destroyed in the Second World War. GRAHAM HICKS...EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS Before leaving on a September-long extended holiday in Poland – both as tourist and as a volunteer English teacher – I had no idea what shape the Central European country would be in. Three decades after the fall of communism, Poland has had 27 years of steady economic growth, an average 6% annual growth in family incomes. Yet our primordial impressions of Poland are still from Iron Curtain days: Of grime, grimness, hopelessness, poverty, garbage piled up in the streets, brown-outs and black-outs. Nothing could be further from the truth! Today, Poland is Europe’s biggest and best secret. As the ninth biggest country (by size) in Europe, with about the same population as Canada (38 million), it has fully emerged  from its shell-shocked recent history – the devastation of the Nazi occupation of the Second World War, with ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: La Bodeguita de Cuba comes up short By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, June 25, 2019

Dry cubed pork, undercooked yuca and bland moro rice did not make for a satisfying entree at Bodeguita de Cuba. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN La Bodeguita de Cuba 11810 87 St. 780-244-0104 labodeguitadecuba.ca Delivery: Skipthedishes.com 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon. Wed. Thurs. 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fri. 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun. Closed Tuesdays Food:  2.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding tips, taxes and beverages:  Basic, $30; Loaded, $60 By GRAHAM HICKS Tasty beginning, excellent ending … and a disaster in between. La Bodeguita de Cuba is a new mom ‘n’ pop restaurant on Alberta Avenue’s restaurant row, some 20 inexpensive eating spots scattered along 118 Avenue from Wayne Gretzky Drive to 105 Street. Last week, the Alberta Avenue Business Association coordinated “Dine The Ave”, a promotion similar to the late-winter Downtown Dining Week, where just about all th ... Read the rest of entry »
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