West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall (WEM), located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the largest shopping mall in North America, followed by King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, the most visited mall in Canada followed by Metrotown Mall in Burnaby, and the 23rd largest in the world (along with The Dubai Mall) by gross leasable area. It was the world's largest mall until 2004. The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959. Its anchors are Hudson's Bay, London Drugs, La Maison Simons, The Brick, and Winners/HomeSense.
The Sea Life Caverns wing, 2015
|Location||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|Opening date||15 September 1981|
|Developer||Triple Five Group|
|Management||Danielle Woo alongside The Ghermezian family|
|Owner||West Edmonton Mall Properties Inc.|
|No. of stores and services||800+|
|No. of anchor tenants||15|
|Total retail floor area||350,000 m2 (3,800,000 sq ft)|
|No. of floors||3|
|Parking||20,000+, 10,000 overflow|
|Public transit access||West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre (see below)|
West Edmonton Mall covers a gross area of about 490,000 m2 (5,300,000 sq ft). There are over 800 stores and services including nine attractions, two hotels and over 100 dining venues in the complex, and parking for more than 20,000 vehicles. More than 24,000 people are employed at the property. The mall receives about 32 million visitors per year; it attracts between 90,000 and 200,000 shoppers daily, depending on the day and season. The mall was valued at $926 million in January 2007, and in 2016, for tax purposes, it was valued at $1.3034 billion, making it the most valuable property in Edmonton.
West Edmonton Mall first opened its doors to the public on 15 September 1981. The mall was developed in four phases, completed in 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1999. It was the largest indoor shopping centre in the world until 2004, and was named such in the Guinness Book of Records. The four phases of construction are used in a colour-coded system as a guideline for finding stores and attractions. The Mindbender indoor roller coaster had a fatal accident on 14 June 1986 when one of the rear cars derailed from the track and slammed into a nearby concrete pillar. Three people died and one was injured in the accident.
On 11 July 2004, the mall suffered millions of dollars in damage when a severe storm of hail and rain caused roofs to fail and drains to overflow. The Ice Palace and surrounding sections were the most damaged, and the World Waterpark had a sewage overflow. The damage was promptly repaired.
- Sears Canada (closed January 8, 2018, was replaced by a now-closed West 49 outlet on the Main level and Stitches Factory Outlet on the Upper level. Replaced by The Brick on Upper Level, Lower level to be replaced by Mayfield Toyota in 2021)
- Target Canada (closed 2015, now Winners/Homesense on the 1st floor and International Clothiers & Buy Buy Baby on the 2nd floor)
- Zellers (closed 2012, replaced with Target Canada in 2013 which closed in 2015.)
- Red's (closed June 2006, now Ed's Bowling)
- Woodward's (closed 1993, now Hudson's Bay)
- 2nd Bay Store (closed 1998, now Multi Movie Screen and Sunrise Records)
- HMV (Closed 2017, now Sunrise Records)
- Eatons (Closed 1999, replaced with Zellers in 2000)
Past and current West Edmonton Mall world records include;
- World's largest mall (1985-2004) - West Edmonton Mall itself
- World's largest indoor amusement park - Galaxyland
- World's largest indoor roller coaster - the Mindbender
- World's largest indoor lake - Deep Sea Adventure Lake
- Largest indoor waterpark in the Americas - World Waterpark
- World's largest parking lot with 20,000+ spaces, and over 10,000 overflow spaces. - WEM's parking lot
Galaxyland was originally known as "Fantasyland;" however, during a court battle with the Walt Disney Company, West Edmonton Mall changed the park's name to Galaxyland in July 1995 after completing some minor renovations. It is an indoor amusement park located on the north side of the mall. It is the second-largest indoor amusement park in the world, behind Ferrari World, and features 24 rides and attractions. There are 8 beginner rides, 9 intermediate rides, 7 thrill rides, the triple loop Mindbender roller coaster, (which derailed in 1986 causing 3 deaths) .The Mindbender is the world's largest indoor triple loop roller coaster. The latest attraction in Galaxyland, which opened in 2018, named HAVOC. The Drop of Doom was shut down in the early 2000s. The tower area was replaced shortly after by a more modern launch ride, the Space Shot, a S&S Double Shot Tower Ride.
The World Waterpark is the world's second largest indoor waterpark, built in 1985, with a size of 20,903 square metres (5.165 acres). The park has the world's largest indoor wave pool. The highest slides in the park are the Twister and Cyclone, which are each 25.3 metres (83 ft) high.
The wavepool has six wave bays, each with two panels with a total of 1,500 horsepower (1.1 MW) generating waves up to two metres high.
Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace
Ice Palace is a scaled down version of a National Hockey League (NHL) regulation-sized ice rink located in the centre of the mall. The Edmonton Oilers occasionally practised at the Ice Palace during the 1980s. The Oilers' contract for using the rink has since expired. The rink is used for various hockey and other sporting tournaments. In 2015, the Ice Palace was renamed Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace after the mall sold the naming rights to a local auto dealership.
During special events, such as Remembrance Day, the ice rink is covered with fabric for a ceremony to be held on it. In 2017, West Edmonton Mall announced that the Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace will get a $3 million renovation. Due to this, it was closed for the summer and reopened in December 2017.
Professor WEM's Adventure Golf
Professor WEM's Adventure Golf is an 18-hole miniature golf course. The miniature golf course was originally known as Pebble Beach Mini Golf, and was designed to be a mini golf version of Pebble Beach Golf Links. The course was refurbished and given the Professor WEM theme in the mid-1990s.
- Fantasyland Hotel, located within the mall; WEM is also affiliated with a second hotel, the West Edmonton Mall Inn, located across the street from the shopping centre on 90th Avenue.
- An indoor shooting range (named "Wild West Shooting Centre")
- Large-scale replica of the Santa María, one of the ships sailed by Christopher Columbus in 1492 to San Salvador Island. The deck can be booked for private functions.
- 24-hour Gym, Crunch Fitness
- Dinner Theatre: Jubilations Dinner Theatre offers original Canadian three-act musical comedies along with a four-course dinner. Full bar service is available and the theatre's productions run Wednesday to Sunday. This space was formerly a Famous Players theatre.
- Previously, the mall has had a history of nightclubs and recreation spaces including the Empire Ballroom, Edmonton Events Centre (now demolished), Ed's Rec Room, The Joint and Ka'os Nightclub. The former Edmonton Events Centre space has been purchased by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment for their expansion of the Palace Casino, which was renamed to Starlight Casino.
- Envy Nightclub (formerly SET Nightclub), a dance club featuring top 40 and electro music. The space was formerly Whisky Jack's, a country-themed nightclub.
- West 49 skate shop, built in the 1st floor of the former Sears temporarily. Stitches Factory Outlet takes the 2nd floor. (Phase I)
- An Internet café
- West Edmonton Christian Assembly (WECA), an inter-denominational chapel
- Three radio stations: 97.3 K-Rock (classic rock), 840 CFCW (classic country and news programming), 96.3 The Breeze, are owned by Stingray Radio. The Stingray-owned area features studios, offices, and a small free museum. Stingray is located in the space formerly occupied by Playdium, with the broadcast studios visible from the mall (illuminated "on air" signs indicate when broadcasts are under way from those studios).
- Dragon's Tale Black-lit Mini Golf is located nearby Galaxyland, along with the Crystal Labyrinth Mirror Maze.
- A bronze whale sculpture is located outside the former Sears entrance (Phase I).
- A brass man sculpture is located in the Phase I food court
- A statue of three oil workers is located outside of the Phase I food court
The mall also includes several "theme areas" including:
- Bourbon Street (BRBN st.): Features clubs and restaurants in a New Orleans-influenced setting. Several restaurants and clubs are located here including 1ST RND, Boston Pizza, Earl's, Hudson's Canadian Tap House, Jungle Jim's Eatery, Marble Slab Creamery, Moxie's Classic Grill, MR MIKES Steakhouse & Bar, Rick Bronson's The Comic Strip, Sherlock Holmes Pub, Aussie Rules, Cajun Bistro and Dueling Piano Bar, and Tony Roma's. The lighting in this area is left intentionally dim to simulate a nighttime atmosphere. The area is situated in such a way that it can be closed off from the rest of the mall, allowing for hosting of special events, and for its establishments to stay open past the closing time of the rest of the mall. In the mid-2010s, this area was renovated and Bourbon Street was renamed BRBN St.
- Europa Boulevard: Eclectic shops in an area designed to look like a European streetscape. It is home to Europa Watch & Jewelry, Fleurs Flowers, Opulence, G-Star Raw, Plush Skateboard Shop, Dr. Martens, B3, Cafe Levi, FYidoctors, Frank & Oak, Yasmin, Stitch It and several rentable conference rooms that look down on the Boulevard. Also, Europa Boulevard is home to the first La Maison Simons to open outside Quebec.
- "Chinatown": Asian-themed area anchored by a T & T Supermarket (in the former Canadian Tire location). It is located directly above Bourbon Street. The "Chinatown" signage was removed in May 2012 and the section, though still maintaining an Asian decor, is no longer exclusive to such businesses.
- Video game console demos are located in random places around the mall. Nintendo is located near Phase 4, PlayStation is located in the center court, and Xbox is in the Microsoft Store. Besides video games there is also VR demos and a Lamborghini in the center court.
- Fourpost: An area west of the Deep Sea Adventure Lake, hosting small kiosks of local Edmonton businesses. Formerly "RAAS": "Retail As A Service".
Construction on a total renovation of the mall shopping areas through all the phases began in spring 2011. The 'face lift' included the renovation of all mall common areas, which started in Phase I and finished in Phase IV. The most notable upgrades included the retrofit of an existing water fountain into new choreographed musical dancing fountains, hanging decor of ceramic roses in the Rose Court outside Victoria's Secret and glass oil droplets around the Oilmen Statue outside the Phase I Food Court. Most of the renovations were completed in 2014, however some areas of the mall continue construction, such as Park Lane and Chinatown.
In 2017, the mall announced that the Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace would undergo a renovation, retrofitting it with the latest technologies. The Ice Palace closed in mid 2017 and reopened in December. Later in mid 2018, the mall announced that the World Waterpark would undergo renovations worth 2.5 million in September 2018. All upgrades have since been completed.
In 2002, the City of Edmonton approved plans for the mall to expand with an additional 30,000 square metres (320,000 sq ft) of retail space, a facility for sports, trade shows and conventions, a 12-story office building, and a 600-unit apartment building, along with more parking. However, none of these projects has begun construction except for the completed parking lot expansion located by the Rec Room.
On October 16, 2019, local car dealership Mayfield Toyota announced that will relocate to the West Edmonton Mall. The dealership, which will be primarily located in the old Sears store, will be approximately 118,000 square-feet and include up to 65 service bays, a detailing center, and a three aisle drive-thru that will intersect the entire mall. The project will also include the addition of a 200,000 square-foot parkade with 1000 parking stalls and valet service.
West Edmonton Mall was the object of a controversy in 2011 when, after arresting a woman for trespassing, their security staff were caught on video allegedly assaulting her. A judge had agreed to release the video after the charges against the woman were dismissed.
In February 2015, the jihadist terrorist group al-Shabaab released a propaganda video calling for attacks on the West Edmonton Mall and other Western shopping centres. Although the group had hitherto never launched attacks in North America, security at the mall was tightened in response. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also indicated that there was no evidence of any imminent threat. A few mock/drill lockdowns occurred after the threat.
West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre
|Platforms||13 bus bays|
|Website||West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre|
The West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre is a major transit centre on the south side of West Edmonton Mall, outside mall entrance 48. Buses using the transit centre enter and exit from 87 Avenue. The large shelter building at the transit centre is accessible and equipped with power doors. This transit centre has vending machines and a pay phone but no park & ride, public washrooms, or drop off area. The transit centre is served by Edmonton Transit System (ETS) and St. Albert Transit (StAT).
$3 million in upgrades to the transit centre were completed in June 2017 and included a new heated indoor shelter (double the size of the previous shelter), new sidewalks, new lighting, and a new public art installation, among other changes.
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