A FIFA World Cup qualifying game isn’t the only major event to take over Edmonton this weekend.
For the first time, Edmonton and Rogers Place will host the Bull Riders Canada Professional National Finals.
John Brodie is excited about the recent boost in business. He is co-owner of Cavern, a bistro just down the street from Rogers Place.
“We definitely see an increase in business,” he said. “There are a lot of Airbnbs in these condo buildings on 104 Street and the hotels in the area fill up.
“We had some strangers here last night.”
This weekend marks the first big event at the new Ice District Plaza, a two-day party for the PBR Canada National Finals.
“I think people need this right now,” said Andrea Carroll, director of events operations for Oilers Entertainment Group.
“I think we are entering the winter season and we are ready to have a little party.”
Puneeta McBryan of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association said downtown has started to see an increase in visitors, but it’s big events like the PBR event that have an impact.
“Having events like this means everything,” he said.
“This alone will put a lot of our bars and restaurants (and) our hotels through a month that maybe they didn’t know was going to happen.”
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Explore Edmonton estimates that more than 50,000 people will be coming to town for both the football game and the PBR event.
“We’re getting a feel for what the pre-pandemic was like, so everyone’s moving cautiously (and) slowly, but we’re starting to come back,” said Daniel St. Pierre of Explore Edmonton.
It’s a comeback that Brodie is ready and waiting for.
“Looking ahead to the next few years and seeing what a return to normal brings,” he said.
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