Edmonton a leader in the ‘other 9 to 5’

What’s the difference between Edmonton nightlife and Vegas nightlife? Well, besides the sheer volume, per capita dollars spent and the heat, there are more similarities than you’d think.

While Edmonton doesn’t boast dozens of casinos, countless Cirque du Soleil shows or over 22,000 conventions annually, we are leaders in nightlife management, something that Vegas knows very well.

At the recent International Responsible Hospitality Conference (IRHC) hosted by Responsible Hospitality Edmonton (RHE), in partnership with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, Captain Robert DuVall of the Las Vegas Police Department shared stories from the strip. While a few of the stories could only happen in Vegas, it’s clear that Edmontonians share many of the same ingredients for a typical night out: the need to be social, a desire for safety, late nights and not surprisingly, alcohol.


Captain DuVall outlined five proactive solutions to reducing the problems that may arise while managing a city’s nightlife. Responsible Hospitality Edmonton confirms that all of these methods are already being practiced in Edmonton in one way or another:

● collaboration
○ Events like the IRHC are evidence of the strong networks that already exist between the City, law enforcement, industry leaders and venue staff.
● awareness campaigns
○ RHE has a number of specific awareness campaigns to encourage patron responsibility
● tourism based policing
○ While Edmonton doesn’t have specific tourism policing, EPS has invested in dedicated resourcing and training for entertainment zone policing.
● compliance checks
○ RHE’s Public Safety Compliance Team conducts regular compliance checks in licensed venues
● technology
○ in addition to security cameras, the popularity of cell phone cameras add additional tools for police to assist in solving crimes

At the end of the day, late-night patrons from Vegas to Macau to Edmonton want the same things: to have fun and to feel safe. Staff of these establishments, who work the ‘other’ 9 to 5 (i.e. 9pm to 5am) also need to feel secure. Those who manage bars, pubs and other late-night venues are often faced with similar challenges: how do we marry the concepts of fun and safety into a seamless union?

Last week’s IRHC brought people together to do just that. With high-caliber speakers from across the globe, the conference emphasized the importance of social gatherings. Humans have had a need to socialize since the beginning of time. Mark Bellis, director of policy, research and development at Public Health Wales, delved into the history of social spaces and drinking as a social activity, tracing it back to Ancient Greece.

Edmonton’s nightlife is an important part of what makes Edmonton a sociable, livable city. Jim Peters, president of the Responsible Hospitality Institute, detailed some driving forces that make a sociable city. They include:

● mixed-use developments
● downtown stadiums/arena
● performing arts centres
● university
● transportation hubs

Think of how many of those Edmonton already has, or will have very soon. While some of these aspects may require more time, Edmonton is already a very sociable city.

Learn how Responsible Hospitality Edmonton creates safe and vibrant hospitality destinations.