June 8, 2016 8:43 pm
Updated: September 8, 2016 1:10 am

WATCH: Tour Edmonton’s new casino under construction in ICE District

WATCH ABOVE: For years, it was an island unto itself, with little development happening around it. Now, the downtown casino has many new neighbours and is being renewed itself. Vinesh Pratap takes a tour.


It’s out with the old and in with the new in downtown Edmonton, where work is furiously underway to get the new Grand Villa Casino ready to open in the fall.

Members of the media were given a tour of the new facility Wednesday, which is under construction just west of the old Baccarat Casino on 104 Avenue.

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“It’s obviously going to be much more of a luxury-oriented, high-end casino with a lot of options for eating and dining,” Ward 6 city councillor Scott McKeen said.

“The Baccarat had a reputation as the ugliest building in Edmonton—I don’t know if that’s fair—it certainly was not stellar looking. And I think some of us will be glad to finally see it go down.”

READ MORE: Where does Rogers Place construction stand 6 months ahead of opening day?

There are more than 150 construction workers on site to build the $32-million facility.

Watch below: As the countdown to the opening of downtown Edmonton’s Rogers Place continues, another facility is opening its doors. On Sept. 7, 2016, Edmonton gamblers were able to try their luck at Grand Villa Casino. Quinn Ohler has the details.

“We’re working fast and furious to get this product done as quickly as we possibly can,” Tony Santo, CEO of Gateway Casinos, said.

“This is a first-class facility. The Grand Villa is our most elegant brand.”

The facility will offer more than just casino games, with multiple restaurants and a live entertainment area.

The casino is expected to add 200 new jobs to the downtown core—exciting news to McKeen, who said the area has been somewhat of a “forgotten realm” in the past.

“It was tragic what happened to our downtown and I think some of the criticisms were valid and so what we’re finally seeing is this invigoration of our downtown,” McKeen said. “We finally are going to have that critical mass of stuff to draw people to downtown.

“I think downtown will be unrecognizable in five to 10 years.”

Watch below: ‘The shape of the city is changing’: Edmonton Tower in Ice District nearing completion

The new gaming facility is set to open in September, the same month Rogers Place will open its doors.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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