Thursday, June 27, 2024

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River Rock Casino Resort (“River Rock”) celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday with a grand event, marking two decades of Vancouver’s most exciting gaming, live entertainment, dining and all-suite accommodations. Since opening in 2004 as Metro Vancouver’s premier 4-diamond destination resort, River Rock has continued to attract guests seeking the ultimate recreational experience.

The anniversary celebration was held in the main atrium, which is currently undergoing a major transformation to house Gordon Ramsay Steak, the first of Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay’s fine dining restaurants in Canada.

Popular emcee, voice actor and award-winning radio and TV host Kevin Lim hosted the event, which began with a welcome from Stephen Lee, CEO of Musquim Capital Corporation, and acknowledgment of Musquim land. The event featured “vintage” photos of Great Canadian Entertainment leaders and Lim, and remarks by Great Canadian Entertainment CEO Matthew Enfinson and President and Chief Development Officer Terence Doyle, who shared stories of the resort’s rich history. They acknowledged the resort’s dedicated team members and offered a special champagne toast to honor the 136 “Day One” employees, many of whom were in attendance.

Anfinson highlighted Great Canadian Entertainment’s $500 million investment in River Rock and its role as Richmond’s largest employer with more than 850 team members. He highlighted the resort’s innovations, including the first curved escalator in Canada, a state-of-the-art convertible seating system in its theater and the ‘P3’ project collaboration with the City of Richmond, TransLink and the Vancouver Airport Authority. which developed the South Parkade in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics and now serves thousands of passengers every day.

“We are very proud to celebrate two decades of entertainment and excellence at River Rock Casino Resort. The destination stands as a beacon of innovation, constantly pushing the boundaries to offer our guests unparalleled experiences,” said Anfinson. “This success would not be possible without the unwavering dedication and hard work of our extraordinary team, whose passion drives our achievement. Together, we have built more than a casino; We have built a legacy of community, opportunity and shared success. Here’s to many years of celebrating special moments!”

Kevin Lim entertained guests with a fun trivia game, asking them to name famous artists who have performed at River Rock. Guests fondly remembered memorable acts such as Billy Idol, Earth Wind and Fire, Boyz II Men, Kenny Rogers and Donnie and Mary Osmond, and reminisced about the inaugural event two decades ago featuring Huey Lewis. Lim also highlighted a partnership with LiveNation, promising more top acts at the resort’s roughly 1,000-seat theater.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Jerry Williamson, Director of Gaming Facilities and Development at BCLC, spoke about the more than $280 million received from BCLC as their share of gaming revenue generated by River Rock, which has been reinvested. In important capital projects such as the Richmond Olympic Oval and the Minoru Seniors Centre. Richmond South Center MLA, Henry Yao also offered his congratulations on behalf of the province.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of a charitable check by River Rock Casino Resort General Manager Wayne Odegaard to Natalie Meixner, President and CEO of the Richmond Hospital Foundation. In a special twist, Odegaard doubled the donation to $20,000 when Meixner rolled a seven or more with oversized, inflatable dice.

The event concluded with a ceremonial cake cutting, where Enfinson, Doyle and Odegaard lit sparklers to celebrate the milestone anniversary while Huey Lewis’ national anthem “The Power of Love” played nostalgically.

Earlier this year, as part of the 20th-anniversary celebration, River Rock announced a series of significant improvements expected to be completed throughout the year to enhance the guest experience for decades to come.

Highlights include:

  • Gordon Ramsay Steak will occupy a new space in the main atrium with indoor and outdoor dining.
  • KOI, a new culinary venture by renowned restaurateur Michael Zhang, will open later this year, offering a modern fusion dining experience.
  • The Jade Room will expand with new slot machines, enhancing the gaming options available to guests.
  • The floor layout of the resort will be refreshed for better navigation and accessibility.
  • A new Prive Lounge will be added, featuring a dedicated bar on the gaming floor.
  • Conference facilities will be expanded, providing more space for meetings, events and gatherings.
  • The on-site marina will be dredged to fully reactivate the 130-slip marina.
  • The buffet has been renovated to include à la carte offerings with panoramic views of the mountains and marina.
  • Technical upgrades to enhance audience experience in theatres.

“We are incredibly excited to introduce these enhancements to River Rock Casino Resort,” said Wayne Odegaard, Regional Vice President of River Rock Casino Resort. “As the market leader in gaming and hospitality, and one of very few entertainment resorts in British Columbia, we have always been proud of our resort and its robust facilities. These dynamic upgrades will not only offer expanded choices to our discerning guests but will allow our special brand of hospitality to shine even brighter.”

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