The Best Of YEG

Edmonton, the City of Champions, YEG, Festival City—whatever you choose to call it, this city is home to a vibrant community, exceptional arts and culture, a stunning river valley, an innovative culinary scene and world-class entertainment.

EOCC launched YEG Tours on Friday, September 28, offering participants an opportunity to discover everything the city has to offer. Don’t worry if you missed the first one! We’ll be running tours throughout the year, so keep an eye out for the next event. There’s always something new to try, no matter how well you know Edmonton, so we’ve gathered some suggestions to get you started.


Edmonton has experienced a culinary evolution that has elevated the city’s dining options from the ordinary and expected to eclectic and daring. An entire post could be devoted to the city’s restaurant options alone—even then, it would be a lengthy read, and new spots continue to open at a steady pace.

Of course, there’s staples like Sabor, Chef Daniel Costa’s trio of eateries (Corso 32, Uccellino and Bar Bricco), RGE RD, Padmanadi, The Next Act, Tzin Wine & Tapas, Noorish, Three Boars and Lux—this is by no means an exhaustive list—that have become mainstays in most Edmontonians’ dining repertoire. But there’s plenty of newer options to try, like Bar Clementine, Baijiu, The Holy Roller, The Moth Café, Pip, Wishbone and Atlas Steak + Fish.


What would a section about Edmonton’s nightlife be without mention of the Ice District, which includes Rogers Place—home of the Edmonton Oilers and unforgettable concerts, including recent shows by Sam Smith, Keith Urban and The Smashing Pumpkins—Grand Villa Casino and numerous components currently under construction.

Across the road from Rogers Place is Mercer Tavern, a lively watering hole with plenty of beverage and dining options for lunch, dinner and late night. A few blocks south will take you to Jasper Avenue, arguably downtown’s central nightlife street. Jasper Avenue is home to many of the restaurants listed above as well as The Station—another great place for live music—Central Social Hall, The Bower, Red Star Pub, On the Rocks, Urban Tavern and The Common (just off Jasper), to name a few.

South of the river is historic Old Strathcona and the famous Whyte Avenue, where you’ll find the Black Dog Freehouse, O’Byrne’s Irish Pub, El Cortez, Have Mercy, Blues on Whyte, The Buckingham and Brick & Whiskey Public House.

Arts & Culture

Edmonton has certainly earned the moniker Festival City. YEG hosts festivals year-round, and popular options include the Fringe Festival—Edmonton hosts the second-largest Fringe in the world, behind Edinburgh—A Taste of Edmonton, K-Days, Interstellar Rodeo, Free Will Shakespeare Festival, the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, Servus Heritage Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Cari West, Ice on Whyte Festival, Silver Skate Festival and The Works Art & Design Festival.

Beyond Edmonton’s plethora of festivals is the central Arts District. There you’ll find the architectural beauty of the Art Gallery of Alberta (be sure to check out the gallery’s late-Refinery parties), Royal Alberta Museum, Winspear Centre (home to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) and the Citadel Theatre, where you’ll find a diverse program of plays and regular improv performances from Rapid Fire Theatre.

But Edmonton’s arts scene doesn’t stop there. Old Strathcona is filled with its own blend of performing and visual arts. Explore the Whyte Avenue Art Walk or take in a show at the Varscona Theatre and Walterdale Theatre.

This only scratches the surface of what makes Edmonton special, and the best way to uncover its hidden—and not-so-hidden—gems is to take the time to explore. Whether you’re new to Edmonton or have lived here for years, play tourist every now and then. You never know what you’ll find.

The Power of Entertaining

The Power of Entertaining

 What comes to mind when you think about building business relationships? One of the first is likely one-on-one, face-to-face meetings or attending networking events. Each of the aforementioned tactics has its own merits, but don’t underestimate the power of entertaining to help you close a deal or land a new client.

Author Eddie Osterland coined the term “Power Entertaining,” a concept that holds immense potential in the business world—if done correctly, that is. Your clients often don’t want to be in stuffy meetings any more than you do; it’s important to build a rapport outside the office to further connect with them on a personal level, which has the potential to strengthen their loyalty and trust in you.

So, what is Power Entertaining? According to Osterland, it’s about “creating an experience for guests, built around great wine, great food, great company and great ambience. It’s about giving people enjoyable memories that cause them to remember you fondly and make them want to do business with you in the future.”

It’s Part of Business

Business development can—and should—include a dose of Power Entertaining. Create memorable company events throughout the year, complete with guest lists that include current and prospective clients. Events are a great way for your company to make a lasting impression and build much more organic relationships, particularly with prospective clients. Set a budget for Power Entertaining at the start of the year and stick to a schedule of events—quarterly, for example—that appeals to your network.

Be a Good Host

If you’re going to plan a memorable event, then you need to be prepared to be an equally memorable and enthusiastic host. Make each guest feel special, and take the time to chat with them throughout the events. The same level of hospitality should also be extended to any plus ones who may be in attendance. You never know who they know, and word travels equally fast if an event is a positive or negative experience.

Serve the Best

As Osterland said, great food and great wine are two key elements of Power Entertaining. Consider working with a new restaurant in town to provide guests with an unexpected culinary experience, and put some thought into the types of wine you’ll serve to create proper pairings—this is where it doesn’t hurt to look into a sommelier or experienced wine merchant. If your event is right after work, as many business events are, serve your best food first. Most events save the best for last, but guests at after-work events often drop by early and don’t stay late, so you don’t want your best dishes to go to waste. Make sure you have nice plates and glassware on hand to elevate the event further, as well as an experienced bartender.

Don’t Forget the Favours

A small take-home item will contribute to the memorable element of your event. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant to make an impact, but consider an item that’s useful to your guests. For example, Osterland suggests providing guests with nicely designed cards that outline the food and wine pairings served throughout the evening. It may seem small, but any added touches will contribute to the event’s overall experience and guests’ anticipation for your next event.

The 1910s Lingo for Having a Dilly of an Evening

You are jazzed to be attending the event of the summer,  the only thing left to create the perfect pre-prohibition era evening is the lingo. Here are some fabulous phrases from a to z that are sure to set the mood and make you the keenest guy or gal at Halley’s.

The 1910s began as times of rapid technological and scientific innovations and innocence and ended with the First World War that changed the world forever.  New words were created and phrases to reflect the emerging liberalism while some were created in the trenches and are still with us today. Knowing and using the lingo will make White Star Line magical. Let’s skiddoo. It’ll be duck soup.

  • bash: drunken spree
  • beat it: to leave
  • bimbo: a tough guy
  • boner: mistake, error
  • Boy!: an emphatic interjection. Boy, that was close.
  • break: opportunity; lucky break
  • bug: to equip with a burglar alarm
  • bull: Nonsense
  • call on the carpet: to scold
  • cootie: body louse; origins in WWI
  • creep: sneak thief
  • crumb: mean person
  • cushy: easy; simple. He has a cushy job.
  • date: a stupid or foolish person
  • dilly: something excellent
  • duck soup: easy
  • floosy or floosie: a woman of loose morals
  • goldbrick: one who doesn’t do his share of the work
  • goop: moron
  • grift: run a con
  • grouser: complainer
  • hanging: excellent
  • hawkshaw: detective
  • ice: diamonds
  • Jake: okay, all right
  • just off the boat: naive
  • keen: attractive, appealing
  • on the make: flirting, making advances
  • spruce off: avoiding work or duty by deception
  • steam up: aggravate, excite
  • vigorish: interest on a loan
  • Wisenheimer: Someone who thinks they are smarter than everyone else
  • whacked: exhausted

If you find some heel, crumb, or crackpot is getting on your nerves, simply ask them to buzz off before you get all steamed up.A foolish or stupid person was a date, dingbat, goof, or simp.

Make no boner, this is no rinky-dink event. White Star Line will be posh, Yessir!

After enjoying the bash, taking a gander at the beautiful people in attendance, sipping cocktails and dancing the night away, you may be blotto so take the short home at curtains.

You may find yourself in a bull session while at the event. These informal group discussions may be filled with bull, give you an earful, or be a gas, and that is just Jake!

You may encounter bimbos (tough guys), but grifters (con artists) and floosies on the make will be at some other joint.

You may even fall for someone keen who calls you snookums and makes you mush, on this magical evening.

 “Everything’s jake” was the common way to say that everything’s okay.

Bone up on this vocabulary and, with a little practice, you will chatter at White Star Line like it was the 1910s.

Join Us at Halley’s on July 26 by clicking here.

Sources and Additional Slang to really step up your game:

Beard, R. (2018). A Historical Dictionary of American Slang – [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Beyer, M., Hicks, J., Susco, D. and Hicks, J. (2018). 27 Quirky Slang Words from the 1910s. [online] Phactual. Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Telfer, T. (2018). 88 Vintage Slang Terms To Bring Back Immediately. [online] Bustle. Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Our Featured Partner – Gateway Casinos

Edmonton’s downtown core is experiencing a game-changing evolution, and at the centre of it is the vibrant ICE District. Gateway Casinos is at the heart of the action with  Grand Villa Edmonton, located adjacent to Rogers Place, serving as Edmonton’s new entertainment destination.

The Backstory

Gateway Casinos, which celebrated its 25th year in business in 2017, is no stranger to downtown Edmonton. The company previously operated the Baccarat Casino, which was dismantled to make way for the $32-million Grand Villa and a new generation of casino that encompasses modern gaming attractions in addition to top-quality entertainment and dining.

“Grand Villa Edmonton provides an elegant backdrop for all of your casino excitement—the grand spaces, rich finishing and individualized customer service are incomparable,” says General Manager Michael Vickerman, who has worked with Gateway for 13 years, starting as a blackjack dealer at Cascades in Langley, BC before progressing to the GM position at Grand Villa Edmonton in July 2017.

What’s In A Name?
Grand Villa is Gateway’s most premium brand. It got its start in Burnaby, BC at Gateway’s flagship property, which was inspired by the casual sophistication of an Italian villa.

“The brand has evolved over the years as we continue to add amenities that allow all customers to enjoy a great night of entertainment,” Vickerman says. “Luxurious fit and finish with an incomparable entertainment, dining and gaming experience is what you can expect to find at a Grand Villa.”

The Offerings

Gateway’s focus since early 2013 has been on the growth and evolution of its portfolio of properties to elevate customer experience by appealing to a wider range of customers. Grand Villa Edmonton is equipped with 30,000 square feet of gaming entertainment, with more than 500 of the newest slot machines and 28 table games, in addition to Gateway’s signature food and beverage brands—MATCH Eatery & Public House and Atlas Steak + Fish.

“There is no other spot in the province where you can enjoy a night of entertainment like we offer—public and private dining, live entertainment, VIP gaming,” Vickerman says.

Each restaurant offers a distinct atmosphere that creates a memorable dining experience for guests. As Vickerman explains, MATCH Eatery & Public House is a contemporary pub that features quality sporting and entertainment experiences, such as live music and featured DJs, along with modern twists on classic favourites. In contrast, Atlas Steak + Fish is an elevated take on the iconic North American steakhouse. Its warm and casually elegant ambiance is complemented by a stylish approach to hospitality and remarkable cuisine that takes guests back to a time when dining out was a true experience.

“Atlas has become the perfect place to host private events. The main restaurant seats 160 guests, and the private dining room seats 48,” Vickerman notes. “Being next door to Rogers Place, we get a lot of celebrities who visit us before and after their shows.”

Giving Back To The Community

Gateway Casinos operates 25 properties across Canada, and the company’s $85-million investment into Grand Villa Edmonton and Starlight Casino in West Edmonton Mall has created more than 500 jobs for Edmontonians.

“This is a sizable economic contribution that is augmented by other spin-offs through local suppliers, payroll, taxes and our community giving program: GatewayGIVES,” Vickerman says. “Gateway and Grand Villa are proud members of the Edmonton community, and we believe strongly in our responsibility to give back and support the community where we work.”

Vickerman is also proud of Gateway’s numerous community partnerships, such as GatewayGIVES’ collaboration with the Edmonton chapter of Meals on Wheels. GatewayGIVES sponsors the organization’s soup program three times each month, in addition to countless volunteer opportunities throughout the year.

Gateway also supports students through its bursary program. In 2015, Gateway announced a five-year, $50,000 partnership with NAIT in Edmonton to support students pursuing career paths in culinary arts and hospitality.

But Gateway’s community involvement doesn’t stop there. The company is a partner of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Radiothon, the annual Kids Up Front Denim & Dice fundraiser and is a three-year title sponsor of the Skirts-A-Fire Festival.

Tips For Aspiring Professionals
Vickerman’s top tips for up-and-coming business professionals are to take chances and ask questions. There will always be risks in the business world—especially when it comes to getting ahead—but Vickerman believes that opportunities will continue to come your way if you maintain your drive, integrity and credibility. And remember, always keep your word—if you promise something, follow through with it. Business is all about relationships, and maintaining a reputation for being reliable and trustworthy will go a long way.

“Being with Gateway for 13 years has taught me that it’s not just about having great customer service, but about providing an exceptional customer experience to each and every customer that walks through your doors,” Vickerman says. “There is value in the details, so don’t take anything for granted. When you are building relationships with people, it’s the personal touches that stand out and leave those lasting impressions that drive brand loyalty. Smile, tell the truth, be sincere and don’t be afraid to be a little out-of-the-box.”

Another Path

If Vickerman hadn’t joined the team at Gateway, his sights would have been set on Las Vegas—that said, Grand Villa is as close as you’ll get to Vegas in Edmonton.

“I love the action,” Vickerman says. “The move-and-shake of the casino industry really appeals to me.”

Vegas or not, Vickerman loves living and working in Edmonton. Among the reasons to love the city are the friendliness of the people, the exceptional food and abundance of sunshine—even when it’s -30C outside.

“I’m in the heart of the brand-new Ice District—it’s literally still developing!” Vickerman adds. “And it doesn’t hurt that Connor McDavid plays half his games every year right next door. There are beautiful parks to walk my dogs, and I live five minutes away from anything I need to do. It’s a beautiful city, and I’m honoured to be a part of it.”

What’s Next

Gateway has significantly expanded its footprint and portfolio, with 25 properties in British Columbia, Edmonton and Ontario—up from 12 in 2015.

In addition to growth throughout Ontario, where the company now has 11 properties, Gateway’s current strategic opportunities include a $57-million rebrand and renovation of the Palace Casino at the West Edmonton Mall to be known as Starlight Casino Edmonton, a proposed $70-million local entertainment destination in Delta, BC, renovations and rebranding at Chances Campbell River and Chances Courtenay, and the first Gateway redevelopment in Point Edward, ON, to be rebranded Starlight Casino Point Edward.


White Starline – An EOCC Themed Event on July 26

The Titanic is undoubtedly one of the most famous cruise ships in history, as much for its gargantuan size as its tragic fate. The infamous ship was constructed between 1909 and 1912 by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Ireland. Its maiden voyage left Southampton, England on April 10, 1912 and was headed to New York City when it struck a 100-foot iceberg in the early-morning hours of April 15, 1912 and sunk. The wreckage was found at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean in 1985.

The Titanic’s grandeur has been immortalized through historical records, artifacts and pop culture, and it will be brought to life on July 26, 2018 at Halley’s Club for a celebration filled with dancing, live music from the Million Dollar Dreamers and live paintings by artist Katie Cunningham.

In preparation for the event, we’ve gathered some interesting facts to help you brush up on your Titanic trivia.

Legendary Proportions

The Titanic cost more than $7 million to build, and it measured 269 metres (882 feet) in length and stood 53.3 metres (175 feet) tall. The ship burned more than 800 tons of coal per day—all of which hand-shovelled by 167 men—and required 885 crew members to keep everything running smoothly. There were approximately 1,317 passengers on board, and 705 people survived the wreck.

Opulence of the Era

The interior of the Titanic was inspired by The Ritz hotel in London, and the iconic Grand Staircase—which spanned seven of the ship’s 10 decks—was equipped with luxurious oak panelling, bronze cherubs and paintings. Amenities on board the Titanic included a gym, pool, Turkish bath, a dog kennel, a squash court and its own newspaper titled the Atlantic Daily Bulletin. The musicians on board the ship were also expected to know all 352 tunes in the song book provided to first-class passengers—just in case there were any requests.

First-class passengers had no shortage of supplies to imbibe in. It’s estimated that the Titanic carried 20,000 bottles of beer, 1,500 bottles of wine and 8,000 cigars. The Titanic’s final dinner consisted of 10 decadent courses.

Notable Passengers

The Titanic carried some of the wealthiest people in the world, the richest of whom was John Jacob Astor IV. He was worth a whopping $90 million at the time, which translates to approximately $2 billion today. Astor did not survive the voyage, but his wife, Madeleine, did. She was pregnant while aboard the Titanic and gave birth four months later.

Other storied passengers include Olympic silver medallist Cosmo Duff-Gordon; Benjamin Guggenheim, brother of Soloman Guggenheim, namesake of the famed museum in New York; Noël Leslie, Countess of Rothes; Margaret Brown, also known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown; and Millvina Dean, the youngest survivor (she was two months old), who died at age 97 in 2009. It’s also said that chocolate mogul Milton S. Hershey was meant to be on board, but he had to rearrange his travel plans to New York to accommodate a business matter.

Cinematic Legacy

Who could forget James Cameron’s record-breaking cinematic adaptation of the Titanic’s story? The 1997 film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, had a $20 million-dollar budget and grossed $2.187 billion at the box office. It was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 11, including the coveted Best Picture accolade, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Original Song for “My Heart Will Go On.”

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