The new casino location offers a first-of-its-kind gaming experience in central Alberta
You may remember it as the Capri. Then it briefly joined the Sheraton brand. More recently it was known as the Cambridge. Over the last few years Central Albertans have become accustomed to the largest hotel complex in the city changing it’s name regularly.
It would seem those days are over. When the O’Chiese First Nation purchased the Cambridge in the summer of 2021, they definitely had long term plans in mind. Over the last month those plans have become visibly obvious as the Red Deer landmark has taken on significant structural changes which will alter the view of the hotel at the intersection of Gaetz and 30th for decades to come.
Even more significant changes have taken place inside as September 2023 marked the Grand Opening of Red Deer Resort and Casino.
“The completion of the casino is a major milestone for us and the City of Red Deer,” said George Yammine, CEO, O’Chiese Business and Investment Center, the owners of Red Deer Resort & Casino. “The casino will be a key driver of tourism and economic growth in the region, becoming a hub for entertainment for the region and beyond.”
The expansion of the casino and upgrades to the hotel are expected to increase employment by up to 20 per cent with an increased need for dealers, servers and housekeeping professionals.
The casino will serve as a major entertainment destination for residents and tourists alike. Located in the heart of Downtown Red Deer, it will offer a wide range of gaming options such as slot machines, table games, poker room, dining rooms and bar and more. The casino is expected to become a hub for entertainment, attracting visitors from all over the region and beyond.
The casino’s design also respects the cultural heritage of the O’Chiese First Nation. The sunrises over the Alberta prairies and the sunsets over the Rocky Mountains inspired the design for the casino space. An integrated waterfall symbolizes shared values of a deep connection to nature, ancestral lands, and the spiritual importance of water. With more than 38,000 square feet of play space, the casino’s design highlights the region’s beautiful landscape.
Red Deer Resort & Casino is expected to significantly contribute to community investment through its hotel and casino operations and create numerous employment opportunities for the city.
“We look forward to welcoming guests to Red Deer Resort & Casino and providing them with a world class entertainment experience,” said Adrian Strawberry, Hotel Operations Manager, O’Chiese Hospitality. “We have worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition and we cannot wait for you to experience it.”
The next massive project will take place on the north side of Red Deer Resort and Casino where the former dance bars have been demolished to make room for a new exhibition hall featuring space for 2,000 visitors.
The Red Deer Resort & Casino features 241 unique guestrooms, 15 modern meeting rooms, a sprawling conference centre covering 53,000 square feet.
For more information, please visit www.reddeerresortandcasino.ca.
City Council decides to close Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site
City Council requests the Province of Alberta make changes to OPS in Red Deer
City Council made decisions (Friday) related to Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site (OPS), requesting the Government of Alberta (GOA):
- formalize an orderly transition of the existing OPS out of Red Deer by the end of 2025;
- provide in its place greater harm reducing options within our community that focus on health, wellness, and recovery, including more detox capacity, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), recovery coaches, counsellors, and culturally appropriate health and wellness supports, etc.;
- provide dedicated grant funding to provide a continuous police presence/enforcement in the immediate vicinity of the OPS and temporary shelter, until the crime and social disorder impacts associated with these provincial services are better mitigated for the safety and security of our public;
- substantially increase front-line supports for mental health and addictions within our community/region to better address the root causes leading to drug and alcohol addictions.
These decisions stem from a Notice of Motion put forward by Councillor Higham on December 18, 2023. After being read into the record on January 22, 2024, a non-statutory public hearing was scheduled for yesterday, February 15, 2024. Approximately 40 members of the public attended the non-statutory public hearing, with approximately 30 individuals speaking to the Notice of Motion, sharing their thoughts on the issue.
After hearing from the public yesterday, City Council debated the motion today, with Mayor Ken Johnston now having City Council direction to take the issue forward to the province and proceed with advocacy efforts.
“The public hearing and the debate of this motion were harrowing and emotional experiences for everyone. Each of us have been touched in some way by addiction; we heard that very clearly, and I am no exception. We heard heartfelt testimony from many members of our community, citizens, some who use the OPS, some who are service providers in the community, business owners, doctors, family members that have lost loves ones, and more,” said Mayor Johnston. “Council approached this most sensitive of issues with open minds, open ears, and open hearts. We are trying to improve lives for those suffering from addiction. This is a complex challenge, as these are areas where municipalities do not have jurisdiction. What we know is that Red Deer needs robust support from the provincial government for people with addictions; we need support for our community that is grappling with the fallout of addictions; and we need that support in the most immediate way.”
Mayor Johnston added, “Following this meeting, I will reach out to the Ministry of Addictions and Mental Health to book meetings where we can discuss how to move forward in the best interest of our city.”
Currently the OPS is located 5246 53 Avenue in downtown Red Deer.
Mayor and City Council statement on passing of Jack Donald, an incredible philanthropist and community builder
“Be honest with yourself, with others. Be proud of what you do, and do your best.” – Jack Donald’s advice to young people
Quote and photo courtesy of the Alberta Order of Excellence
“On behalf of City Council and City staff, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Jack Donald on their loss. Jack was a remarkable leader, contributing over 50 years to the growth and development of Red Deer and Central Alberta as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and community builder. His vision and business acumen significantly impacted the local economy, creating jobs and attracting investment. Jack’s tireless charitable efforts have left a lasting impact on various community causes.
In 1964, Jack and Joan Donald moved to Red Deer, where Jack not only grew his business but also became actively involved in community service. From leading the Optimist Club and Rotary Club to serving as a Red Deer Alderman in the 1970s, Jack demonstrated a deep commitment to the well-being of the community. His dedication to education led him to serve on the Board of Governors for Red Deer College, where the Donald School of Business stands as a testament to their generosity.
Jack’s contributions extended to Westerner Park, where he played a pivotal role in relocating the exhibition grounds and building key facilities. His philanthropy also reached beyond, co-chairing a successful 2005 fundraising campaign for STARS and earning induction into the Southern Alberta Business Hall of Fame in 2011. Named Red Deer’s Citizen of the Year in 2002, Jack Donald leaves behind a legacy of community spirit, business brilliance, leadership, philanthropy, and unwavering volunteerism that will resonate throughout Central Alberta for generations.
Our deepest condolences go out to the Donald family and friends. Please know that we share in your grief, recognizing that Jack’s impact will endure as a beacon of inspiration for our community.”
Mayor Ken Johnston
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