By Mark Weber
With summer just around the corner, downtown Red Deer is all the more bustling with fun events and even more local businesses to check out. But there are a few misconceptions about the area that persist, and that can even prevent some folks from visiting the city’s increasingly vibrant core. “Downtown Red Deer has an always lot of good things going for it,” explained Amanda Gould, executive director of the Downtown Business Association. “Sometimes, that is outweighed by the perception people have of downtown. “What we need to remember is all that has been happening downtown, what with the murals, the events, the alley upgrades – there are a lot of good things happening. And it’s making it such a great destination to come and visit and to also set up your business,” she added.
“We have seen, over the last year, an increase of 50 new businesses downtown. It’s great news, and the downtown is a great place to go.” As mentioned, however, certain misconceptions about the downtown area persist including that
there is a significant parking problem. “We absolutely do not have a parking issue,” noted Gould. Visitors may not always be able to park directly in front of their destinations, particularly if they are in a facility with lots of other businesses and agencies, but there are typically plenty of places to park nearby if you are prepared for a short jaunt. “If you were to travel just a half a block down the street, or even a block down, you will find there are usually plenty of spaces. We are lucky that our downtown is walkable as well.”
She also mentioned that some residents believe that downtown Red Deer is unsafe. “Again, this is a misperception – it’s not the reality of it,” she said. “We are so lucky as a neighbourhood downtown to have our own RCMP policing unit everyday – they chat with business owners and help them solve any safety issues they may come into contact with,” she said. “There is a team of seven on that unit, and surely that makes downtown one of the safest places to be.”
As to the surge in businesses, Gould noted that reasonable rents attract local entrepreneurs to launch ventures there as well – nicely adding to the growing variety of businesses in the area. It’s yet another plus for Red Deer residents.
In the meantime, one of downtown’s most prominent features – the Ross Street Patio – is really starting to liven up these days with the warmer weather and regularly scheduled musical performances. ‘Music on the Ross Street Patio’ is a free event and is open to all ages. Performances run from 4:30 –7:30 p.m. on show nights. Another annual favourite, the Downtown Market, kicks off on Wednesday, May 25. An accredited farmers’ market, visitors are invited to come down and purchase all their fresh fruits and veggies between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday. Live music on the Ross Street Patio is also a key feature on Wednesdays.
Gould added that Friday, May 27, is the official kick-off to summer on the Ross Street Patio. To celebrate, they have partnered with Sawback Brewing to introduce a limited-edition Ross Street Patio beer which is super exciting, she explained. “Free samples will be available at 5 p.m. that day (May 27). There will also be music and other activities. The special beer, featured at several downtown restaurants, will be available through the summer.
Looking into June, performances on the Patio will run on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. “Businesses are now opening up their patios – and we’ve got the music happening on the Patio, so we are really starting to see a lot more people coming down, spending some time outside and enjoying the live music that we are putting on,” she said.
For more about the Downtown Business Association and all that is planned for the Ross Street Patio, find them on Facebook or visit www.downtownreddeer.com.
Air Canada to slash summer flight schedule as airports face lengthy delays
MONTREAL — Air Canada is cutting more than 15 per cent of its scheduled flights in July and August as airports face lengthy delays and cancellations amid an overwhelming travel resurgence.
The move will see 154 flights per day on average dropped from the airline’s schedule — already operating at 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels — affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers. The flights link mainly to its Toronto and Montreal hubs, and are all on domestic or Canada-U.S. routes, the company said in an email Wednesday.
“This was not an easy decision, as it will result in additional flight cancellations that will have a negative impact on some customers,” chief executive Michael Rousseau said in a statement.
“But doing this in advance allows affected customers to take time to make other arrangements in an orderly manner, rather than have their travel disrupted shortly before or during their journey, with few alternatives available.”
The slimmed-down schedule is marked mainly by frequency reductions that affect evening and late-night flights on smaller planes, Air Canada said. International flights remain unaffected except for some timing changes to reduce flying at peak times and even out passenger flow.
Comparing backed-up airports and flight schedules to other global industries where companies “are struggling to restart, unclog supply chains and meet pent-up demand,” Rousseau said Air Canada foresaw much of the strain now weighing on global aviation networks.
“Yet, despite detailed and careful planning, the largest and fastest scale of hiring in our history, as well as investments in aircraft and equipment, it is now clear that Air Canada’s operations too have been disrupted by the industry’s complex and unavoidable challenges,” he said.
“The result has been flight cancellations and customer service shortfalls on our part that we would never have intended for our customers or for our employees, and for which we sincerely apologize.”
Problems escalated across the airline sector this month, despite a federal hiring spree of security and customs officers and a pause on randomized COVID-19 testing, which had caused bottlenecks for international arrivals.
A majority of domestic flights to Canada’s busiest airports were delayed or cancelled over the past week as the effects of an overloaded international network continued to ripple across the country.
Some 54 per cent of flights to the four largest airports were bumped off schedule in the seven days between June 22 and 28, according to analytics firm Data Wazo.
Toronto’s Pearson airport topped the list, with 51 per cent of flights delayed — more than 700 — and 12 per cent cancelled. Montreal was runner-up at 43 per cent delayed and 15 per cent cancelled.
Three Air Canada routes will be temporarily suspended between Montreal and Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Kelowna, B.C., and one from Toronto to Fort McMurray, Alta., the carrier said.
Before the changes it operated about 1,000 flights a day on average, the Montreal-based company said.
Airlines and the federal government have been scrambling to respond to scenes of endless lines, flight disruptions, lost luggage and daily turmoil at airports — particularly at Pearson — a problem the aviation industry has blamed on a shortage of federal security and customs officers.
But Philippe Rainville, CEO of Montreal’s airport authority, said in an interview Wednesday that many of those hires — 900-plus for security screeners — are now in place, yet delays and cancellations persist. Flight disruptions abroad play a big role in continuing to knock domestic schedules off course, he said.
“It’s a consequence of the delay in international flights,” he said. “To delay a domestic flight is a lot easier because flying to major hubs in Europe, the slots are very tight. Domestically, we’ve got a lot more leeway.”
Before Air Canada’s announcement, Rainville expected passenger volumes through Montreal to hit 80 per cent of 2019 levels, though peak times are already on par with three years ago. The airport was planning for about 16 million travellers versus 20.3 million in 2019.
Kinks in one part of the air travel pipeline can snarl others, with overflowing customs areas stopping flight crews from disembarking, for example, or a lack of airline customer service agents exacerbating delays.
Luggage is an especially sticky problem, with a shortage of baggage handlers to shuttle suitcases from late arrivals to connecting planes amid last-minute gate changes.
Passengers say they receive last-minute emails informing them of repeated delays, aircraft changes or rebookings scheduled days after the original departure time. Reasons cited run the gamut from absent pilots to unplanned mechanical maintenance.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2022.
Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)
Business spotlight: MCG careers
This week’s Business Spotlight shines on MCG careers; This amazing company is helping Albertans get back to work! They offer many programs geared at getting their clients into good employment. all services are at no cost!
When did your business open?
MCG has been around since 1989. This office opened for business June 1st, 2022, in a new location with new programming.
What makes your business unique?
Our mission is innovative career development training and human resource services which enable individuals and companies to achieve their full potential.
What are some products/services that you offer?
Resume/cover letter – resources, professional development recognition programs, communication skills, job search techniques, everything we can do to help people with employment.
Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business?
Easy access to non-profit and clients
What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?
The amazing businesses, the people, the history and the no-cost activities
Finish this sentence; I love downtown red deer because…
Of its history and quaintness. The flowers baskets, street markets and entertainment
For more information check out
# 105 – 4807 – 50th Ave.
Red Deer, AB T4N 4A5
Direct : 403-304-9252
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