HicksBiz Blog

Category: Around town

Around town

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 Weekly Dish: Steakhouse or Seafood? BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 08, 2017

Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse Ellerslie 9626 Ellerslie Road SW 780-249-2000 Pampasteakhouse.com Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday to 10 p.m.) Saturday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: $100  Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Sabor – Seafood Festival to Sept. 3, 2017 10220 103 St. 780-757-1114 Sabor.com Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $60, loaded $120  Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns   Seafood or meat? Why be forced to choose? Go out twice, enjoy the best of both! Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse – firmly established after six years downtown – has just expanded. Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse Ellerslie is in a new, spacious, stand-alone buildi ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Northlands, an existential crisis BY GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2016

While the city has been all a-buzz about Northland Park’s Vision 2020 that was released on Wednesday, an existential question has not been asked. Why does the City of Edmonton still need Northlands Park? In any emotion-free analysis, the most cost-effective way forward is to reduce Northlands’ operations down to its EXPO Convention Centre and K-Days, then shut down/sell off everything else. The case is cruel, given the not-for-profit Northlands willingly brought itself to the sacrificial alter for the greater good of Edmonton. Northlands gave up all hockey-related Rexall Place profits to the Oilers to keep the team in town back in the ‘90s. It has now accepted the closure of Rexall Place, sending all those concert profits over to the equally subsidized Rogers Place. Talk about signing your own death warrant. But for all the quality-of-life and greater-good arguments within the well-reasoned Vision 2020, there’s huge risk. To survive, Northlands is likely to forever suck furious ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The days are dark, but there will be light! BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2016

In the darkness, rays of light. Edmonton Economic Development boss Brad Ferguson told the blunt truth Tuesday in his speech at the agency’s Impact Luncheon. Global trends – the two-thirds drop in the price of oil, on-going low prices for natural gas, growing government debt, stalled global economic activity – are all against Alberta’s interest. Nationally, the weak Canadian dollar, provincial and national governments' “toxic” borrowing and lack of new pipelines are further screwing up our provincial well-being. The new provincial government has focused on economic and environmental reforms, on safe-guarding the public sector - just as economic growth dramatically slowed. If the status quo carries on, Ferguson said – the endless government borrowing, the drop in employment opportunity, the loss of the “Alberta Advantage” for business – it will rip apart the social fabric of Alberta. - Related: Alberta's self-employment numbers jumped ... Read the rest of entry »

One big BOOMing theatrical experience! BOOM opens the Citadel Theatre’s 50th season - review by GRAHAM HICKS

One big BOOMing theatrical experience!  BOOM opens the Citadel Theatre’s 50th season Review of BOOM by Graham Hicks  Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Sept. 24 to Oct. 11, 2015 Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS BOOM!!! Who is this Rick Miller, and why is he so ridiculously talented? BOOM!!! How can one actor, in a one-man show, enthrall a 681-strong audience for two hours with an intermission? BOOM!!! Why would the Citadel Theatre’s artistic director Bob Baker, a man who’s both a shrewd judge of theatrical quality and who understands his audience better than anybody in Canadian theatre, use a  one-man show to launch its stellar, big-deal 50th season celebration? BOOM!!! BOOM!!! BOOM!!! Because Bob Baker understands that Rick Miller is an affable genius – a story teller, musician, composer, historian, humourist, impressionist, ventriloquist, actor, writer, director. And that’s before weighing up his greatest gift of all:  An ... Read the rest of entry »

Edmonton chiropractors and physiotherapists recommended by readers of my Facebook page

A week ago (July 10, 2015) on Facebook, I complained of back pain that had gone on since early April, and asked if anybody would recommend a good chiropractor.  Well the suggestions poured in.  In the interests of sharing information, here’s a list of chiropractors, physiotherapists and a few other suggestions that were recommended by those who read the Facebook post. Please do not consider this list to be any kind of endorsement from myself or Hicksbiz.com. It is merely a passing on of names of chiropractic doctors and physiotherapists as recommended by other Edmontonians from their own personal experience. This list will not be expanded. I don't want to it to become less credible through undetected manipulation.  Thanks to more visits with my physiotherapist Albert Chan at the Kinsmen Physiotherapy Clinic, and following his stretching instructions daily, I am relieved to find my own strained back is slowly beginning to heal. Chiropractors  - in alphabetical order by last name: ... Read the rest of entry »

Wicked has it all: A magical night of musical theatre at Edmonton's Jubilee Theatre


Normally on Broadway, a “triple threat” refers to musical theatre actors who act, sing and dance.
Wicked is a triple threat of a different sort, so unique as to be almost on its own in the pantheon of active, touring Broadway shows.
Wicked has an extraordinarily creative story line, wonderful songs, and offers philosophical/ethical choices for its audiences to ponder after its shows.
For Wicked is very much, within all its action and finery, a contemplation on the nature of what creates wickedness, of the perception of wickedness. Is it born of circumstance, misunderstanding or simply innate?
This version, currently at Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium until Sunday July 20, 2014, actualizes every ounce of the potential within its script, score and lyrics.

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Hairspray at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: As close to Broadway as we’ll get – review by GRAHAM HICKS

Hairspray at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: As close to Broadway as we’ll get – review by GRAHAM HICKS Hairspray – The Broadway Musical Mayfield Dinner Theatre, Doubletree by Hilton West Edmonton 16615 109 Ave., Edmonton 780.483.4051 www.mayfieldtheatre.ca/tickets/ April 18 to June 15, 2014 A theatre review by Graham Hicks Hairspray is as good a musical theatre show as has ever trod the boards of the Mayfield Dinner Theatre – and that’s saying a lot, because the theatre has been open since 1975. It’s a given that Hairspray is an excellent musical to begin with – given the quirky 1988 movie turned into 2002’s Broadway hit musical, which in turn became the smash movie musical of 2007. The songs are the best, the plot actually has some sociological meat of 1960s race relations and an iconic nod to the notion that skinny white socialite girls don’t always win against the outsiders, the Broadway/musical choreography is top-notch. But the wonder, the mag ... Read the rest of entry »

Are the clowns from hell sitting in purgatory? Review of Mump + Smoot in Anything, Theatre Network to April 27, 2014

Graham Hicks review of Mump & Smoot in "Anything" Theatre Network, Live at the Roxy Theatre 10708 124 St., Edmonton, Alberta Canada 780-453-2440 theatrenetwork.ca, Ticket ordering  Call it Mump + Smoot Light. The beloved clowns from hell are back with their ninth show, at Theatre Network through Sunday April 27, 2014, since veteran Canadian buffoon-theatre men Michael Kennard and John Turner invented the characters 25 years ago. But it seems that Kennard, Turner and Karen Hines – the off-stage co-creator and director – have currently relegated Mump + Smoot to the backseat of their creative endeavours. Anything is a set of three Mump + Skit mini-shows or skits, lasting an hour in total, without any particular underlying theme or plot. Let’s back up a second here. In more commercial hands, Mump + Smoot as the clowns from hell could have become an on-going franchise that would have made the Kennard/Turner/Hines trio materially wealthy indeed.  There’s very, ... Read the rest of entry »
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