This January, Corus Entertainment ‘s OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada) presents the premiere of the new original series, Gastown Gamble which follows Vancouver entrepreneur and restaurateur Mark Brand and his wife Nico as they take on their riskiest challenge yet – resurrecting the historic Save-On-Meats building in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside. Produced by Lark Productions in association with OWN (Canada), this series premieres Wednesday, January 18 at 6:30 p.m. PST and repeats Fridays at 8 p.m. PST.
In this half-hour series, Mark Brand and his wife Nico resuscitate Vancouver’s iconic Save-On-Meats building, a 55-year-old diner and butcher shop, in hopes of achieving their ultimate goal of revitalizing Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Situated in the heart of Canada’s poorest urban postal code with a population affected by mental health illness and addiction, Save-On-Meats is hardly desirable, but if anyone is up for the job of breathing life back into this historical building, it’s Mark and Nico, who understand the restaurant business and are known for some of the top eateries in the city. Not only do they want to do justice to the landmark business, but they’re also learning the ropes of running a butcher shop and opening a diner while expanding the business to include a commissary, incubator, laundry and apiary.
For Mark and Nico to realize their dream of resurrecting all four floors of Save-On-Meats , each element of the business needs to thrive; one floor at a time. Their plan is a unique combination of business and social values – and one cannot succeed in this neighbourhood without the other. Many different businesses under one roof in the poorest urban neighbourhood in Canada may prove to be too altruistic for their own good.
“Gastown Gamble is a real and riveting story about taking a huge leap of faith for what you believe in – with a lot to lose,” said Vibika Bianchi, Vice President, Original Programming, Lifestyle, Reality, Factual Entertainment, Corus Entertainment. “Viewers will find themselves rooting for Mark and Nico as they take on this incredibly ambitious project which, if successful, would mean bringing two very different worlds together.”
In the premiere episode, Mark and his team are under the wire with only one day to go until they open their doors to the public, and Save-On-Meats has yet to pass a building inspection. Mark races against the clock to complete last minute repairs to the elevator, smoke alarms and emergency lighting, while Nico, who has no previous experience as a butcher, rushes to prepare the unfinished butcher shop. With eight hours to get $25,000 worth of meat prepped, sliced and ready to sell, will they finish? And will they pass the inspection in time for their grand opening?