HicksBiz Blog

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Halley's Club at West Edmonton Mall ushers in the return of dining 'n' dancing By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN July 31, 2018

Halley's Club hostess Liz Obonebinja brings a Roaring '20s look to the dine 'n' dance establishment. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Halley’s Club Starlight Casino, West Edmonton Mall Entrance 9 (second floor), 8882-170 St. 587-460-2428 Halleysclub.com Thurs. to Sat. 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two: basic, $50; loaded $80 By GRAHAM HICKS Who would have foreseen the return of the “classic” dine ‘n’ dance club to Edmonton? In an era of clatter, small plates and bar-counter informal dining, Halley’s Club stands out like a sore thumb. A beautiful sore thumb! The massive ballroom-sized club in West Edmonton Mall is strangely beautiful, windowless with the highest of ceilings, all curtains and booths, polished wood and brass, some 270 seats. Halley’s Club is part of the massive conversion of the mighty mall’s former Palace Casino/Jubilations Dinner Theatre/Rum Jungle ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: The sanitization of death By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN July 27, 2018

Ashes to ashes: One of two crematoriums at Serenity Funeral Service. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton Garry Howdle admits to being old-school. As president and funeral director of the not-for-profit Serenity Funeral Service, he carries out the wishes of clients — the deceased person’s family — from weeks of mourning down to simple cremation in a pine box  with no ritual, no mourning, no goodbyes. Personally, he worries. He believes the growing lack of ritual, the “sanitization of death” has become avoidance of sadness, indeed, avoidance of death itself. He worries about an absence of psychological closure for those close to the deceased, comfort once provided by religious ritual. Few businesses have been as impacted by changes in Canadian society as funeral service providers. Forty years ago,  Mom or Dad would pass on, the adult children gathered at a funeral home for evenings of prayers and viewing, often with an open casket. After a church fune ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Reviewing a Taste of Edmonton BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN July 24, 2018

At Taste of Edmonton, Kevin Kao prepares the Loma House sweet potato balls dessert. (GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN)Edmonton The big news at this year’s Taste of Edmonton Festival, running through Sunday, isn’t about the food but about the venue. When the city temporarily converted Churchill Square into a staging depot for LRT construction, festivals using the square had to seek out new digs. With a little arm-twisting from Edmonton cabinet minister Brian Mason, the provincial bureaucrats reluctantly turned over the new, beautiful Capital Plaza just north of the Legislative Grounds to the food-eating, wine and beer consuming unwashed masses … who happen to own the space. It worked! On the “Taste Piazza” (Capital Plaza itself), festivalgoers can move around with alcoholic beverages, ice cream and summer drinks in hand —  no more do-not-leave beer gardens. The space has been discovered, with what’s likely to be record attendance by Sunday. Just off Ca ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Alberta's long, long haul back to prosperity By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN July 19, 2018

Premier Rachel Notley, and Minister of Finance Joe Ceci, arrive at Scotsman's Hill in Calgary on Wednesday July 4, 2018. Leah Hennel/Postmedia So what’s happening out there? The Alberta government, 10 months at most away from the next provincial election, is holding up the economic glass and pronouncing it just about darned full. Business leaders wonder what brand of almost-legal marijuana Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and her financial minister Joe Ceci have been smoking. Edmonton’s been okay. Our financial health is underpinned by near 25% of the citizenry being on government and quasi-government (health/education) payroll, which the union-friendly NDP government has not cut. But Calgary was devastated, and most of Northern Alberta’s oil/gas regional centres – Cold Lake, Drayton Valley, Grande Prairie – are still in shock from the oil price crash of 2014, plus increased corporate and personal taxes, carbon taxes and increases to the minimum wage. In late Jun ... Read the rest of entry »