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It’s proving to be a lively summer on the Ross Street Patio

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By Mark Weber

With the new designation of being an Entertainment District, there’s an exciting new vibe resonating across Red Deer’s Ross Street Patio.

Earlier this year, City council approved Entertainment District status for the Patio, meaning that the Ross Street Patio is now a place where adults can consume alcohol outside of a licensed premises while taking in various forms of live entertainment. Prior to the May 24th council meeting, City administration determined a new bylaw was needed to support the DBA’s request and sought direction from council before proceeding.

According to the City, Entertainment Districts are new to the province, having been created last December through an amendment to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act.  “We are getting brilliant feedback – it has been so well-received,”
explained Amanda Gould, the DBA’s executive director. There have been no issues either, she added, pointing out that folks have been responsible and simply enjoying the option to have a drink while listening to artists perform on the Patio each week. “They’re having a drink, they’re getting rid of their garbage, and then they are on their way. It’s been absolutely brilliant – it’s been a dream. “It’s great to be able to offer this to people who come downtown.”

Gould has also noted that the designation would help to further revitalize the downtown core by drawing more folks down to not only check out the entertainment that is running on the Patio all summer, but to also see all that downtown ultimately has to offer.

Business owners have also been saying it’s been a positive move. “Tribe, in particular, on Canada Day saw a 30 per cent increase in sales.”

The regular performances are also proving a major draw this summer. “We get people of so many different walks of life coming down to see them – it’s so interesting to watch the Patio right now. We get in at half past eight, and then you go around the corner to look at the Patio to check and make sure everything is good as we do every morning. People are outside City Roast having coffee, sitting on the picnic benches, having their breakfast, or just sitting down to have a chat – it’s just lovely to see. And then it gets full on the days that we have the entertainment going on.”

Thursday and Friday performances run from 12 – 1:30 p.m. with Wednesday performances going from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. “Wednesdays continue to be our best day as we have the market going on then, too.”

Visitors are invited to come down and purchase all their fresh fruits and veggies between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday.

The annual car boot sale will soon be happening as well – they will be on Wednesdays also, she added. “Wednesdays are ‘the day’,” she added with a laugh.

According to the DBA’s website, “Load up your car, truck, or van with any items from your house that you wish to sell (or that you would normally put out in a garage sale) and come down to Little Gaetz Avenue for the Downtown Red Deer Car Boot Sale.” Pre-registration & payment required for those wishing to sell.

And to top of the celebratory spirit, a special limited-edition beer created by Sawback Brewing specifically for the Patio has proven to be a hit as well. “People love it,” said Gould, adding the beer – available at several downtown restaurants – will be available through the summer. The musical performances and the market both run through to the early fall.

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.

Born and raised in Red Deer, Mark Weber is an award-winning freelance writer who is committed to the community. He worked as a reporter for the Red Deer Express for 18 years including six years as co-editor. During that time, he mainly covered arts and entertainment plus a spectrum of areas from city news and health stories to business profiles and human interest features. Mark also spent a year working for the regional publication Town and Country in northern Alberta, along with stints at the Ponoka News and the Stettler Independent. He’s thrilled to be a Todayville contributor, as it allows him many more opportunities to continue to focus on the city and community he not only has a passion for, but calls home as well.

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The return of Zellers: Hudson’s Bay to resurrect Canadian discount retail chain

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Canadian department store Zellers hopes to make a comeback next year, a decade after the discount chain shuttered most of its locations.

Hudson’s Bay Co. said Zellers will debut a new e-commerce website and expand its brick-and-mortar footprint within select Hudson’s Bay department stores across the country in early 2023.

The company said the relaunched Zellers will offer “a digital-first shopping journey that taps into the nostalgia of the brand.”

The return of Zellers comes as soaring inflation drives consumers to discount retailers in search of lower prices and fierce competition from existing stores like Walmart and Dollarama.

It also comes amid an ongoing lawsuit over a Quebec family’s use of the Zellers brand.

The Moniz family is behind various recent trademark applications and corporate registries, including Zellers Inc., Zellers Convenience Store Inc. and Zellers Restaurant Inc.

In a statement of claim filed last fall, HBC accused the Moniz family of trademark infringement, depreciation of goodwill and so-called passing off — the deceptive marketing or misrepresentation of goods.

The Zellers department store was founded in 1931 and acquired by HBC in 1978.

It operated as the discount division of its flagship Hudson’s Bay department stores, with the slogan “Where the lowest price is the law.”

The store hit its peak of about 350 locations in the late 1990s before losing ground to big box competitors such as Walmart.

In 2011, HBC announced plans to sell the majority of its remaining Zellers leases to Target Corp., closing most stores by 2013.

The retailer kept a handful of Zellers locations open as liquidation outlets until 2020.

The company recently launched pop-up Zellers shops inside Hudson’s Bay department stores in Burlington, Ont., and in Anjou, Que.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2022.

Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press

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Inflation “slows” to 7.6 per cent in July, Statistics Canada says

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Ottawa – Canada’s year-over-year inflation rate slowed to 7.6 per cent in July, with the deceleration largely driven by a decline in gas prices.

The inflation rate hit a nearly 40-year-high of 8.1 per cent in June, but economists were widely expecting inflation to have since slowed.

In its latest consumer price index report, Statistics Canada said the rise in prices in July was the smallest monthly gains since December 2021.

It also marks the first decline in year-over-year inflation since June 2020.

The federal agency said gas prices rose 35.6 per cent year-over-year in July, compared with 54.6 per cent in June.

“Ongoing concerns related to a slowing global economy, as well as increased COVID-19 pandemic public health restrictions in China and slowing demand for gasoline in the United States led to lower worldwide demand for crude oil, putting downward pressure on prices at the pump,” the report said.

But while gas prices declined, food prices at grocery stores rose at the fastest pace since August 1981, with prices up by 9.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis compared with 9.4 per cent the previous month.

Bakery goods are up 13.6 per cent since last year amid higher input costs as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to put upward pressure on wheat prices. The prices of other food products also rose faster, including eggs, which are up 15.8 per cent, and fresh fruit, up 11.7 per cent since last year.

As mortgage costs increase with higher interest rates, the report notes rent prices are accelerating, rising faster in July than the previous month.

With more Canadians travelling during the busy summer season, airfares rose by around 25 per cent in July compared with the previous month. Traveller accommodation prices rose by nearly 50 per cent since a year ago, with the largest price increases in Ontario.

As countries around the world struggle with skyrocketing prices, there are some signs inflation is beginning to ease, with the U.S. seeing its inflation rate decline in July as well.

Still, inflation is well above the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target.

The central bank is watching the latest reading of inflation as it gears up to make its next key interest rate on Sept. 7, when it’s expected to raise borrowing rates again.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2022.

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