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The Ghermezians: back row (left to right): Bahman, Raphael, Nader and Eskander, with parents Miriam and Jacob

urbs. “The real estate we have in Vegas was purchased over the past 20 years,” says Don, attesting to the family’s foresight.

“Are more of the children involved with the business now?” I ask. “How many of you are there?”

He laughs and then counts his brothers, sisters and cousins. “Eskander has 8 ... Nader 10....” He stops after several rounds of fingers. “33.”

“And you’re all involved in the business?” “Just the older ones.” I wonder aloud about another rumour – the living arrangement of the extended family. A private Jewish

school, tunnels between houses, a self-sustaining town within the upscale Glenora neighbourhood?

“Well,” Don replies, smiling as if a little wary. “We’ve more or less purchased an entire crescent. And yes, the houses are connected. We all live there.”

“Not all of you?” “All of us,” he says. “Of course, with so much business now in the United States, we have our American head office as well. But Edmonton is home. It’s a great place to live in, do business and raise a family.”

My older brother once worked a summer job in the kitchen of the Ghermezians’ Convention Inn South, 20 years ago. He regularly watched patriarch Jacob Gher- mezian sample desserts in the kitchen and chat with em- ployees, often with a young grandson in tow. He would take biscuits off trays in the kitchen and feed the boy, then walk off to teach him another part of the job.

Perhaps Don was that boy. One thing is for certain: with 33 new Ghermezians on the ascendancy, the next generation must have learned well from someone. The world of investment and real estate in the 21st century best be on its guard.

ALBERTA VENTURE

| THE CENTURY

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