West Edmonton Mall
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West Edmonton Mall (WEM) is a shopping mall located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is 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 is currently the largest shopping mall in North America and was the world's largest mall until 2004. The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959. Its major anchors include 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||more than 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). It holds 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 23 December 2000, a 22-year-old man drowned in a recreational lagoon. A man matching his description was seen swimming at about 2:30 am as the nearby drinking establishments had closed, though a second security check did not find anyone in the lagoon area. The man's body was found around 10:30 am later that morning, fully clothed except for his shoes and jacket, which were never located. He is believed to have accidentally drowned while under the influence of drinking alcohol and cannabis.
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 8 January 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 and 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)
- Second Bay Store (closed 1998, now Scotiabank Theatre, Sunrise Records, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and Lego Store)
- HMV (Closed 2017, now Sunrise Records)
- Eatons (Closed 1999, replaced with Zellers in 2000)
- Forever 21 (Closed 2019, now West 49)
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 triple loop 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 more than 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 major renovations. It undertook a complete redesign from the original theme, old Victorian fantasy, to a galactic space theme. It is an indoor amusement park located on the north side of the mall and is the second-largest indoor amusement park in the world, behind Ferrari World, and features 24 rides and attractions. There are eight beginner rides, nine intermediate rides, seven thrill rides, the triple loop Mindbender roller coaster, the world's largest indoor triple loop roller coaster. The latest attraction in Galaxyland, which opened in 2018, named HAVOC. The management closed Drop of Doom 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. In late 2019, the park announced a new partnership with Hasbro, with several rides and attractions being rebranded with Hasbro toy brands. The renovation is scheduled to finish by Winter 2020.
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.
In 2018–2019, the waterpark underwent a $2.5 Million dollar renovation. The renovations included new paint jobs to the Corkscrew slide, the hand rails, and the Blue Thunder Wave Pool. Bathrooms were introduced to a more convenient location, as well as a rooftop balcony on top of the bathrooms for social gatherings. A hot dog stand, Tiki Dog, was added.
Along with Galaxyland, the World Waterpark was closed on March 16, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Mayfield Toyota Ice PalaceEdit
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 for ceremonies. In July 2017, West Edmonton Mall announced that the Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace would get a $3 million renovation. It closed for the summer and reopened in December 2017.
Professor WEM's Adventure GolfEdit
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 cinema.
- 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)
- 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:
- BRBN ST. (Bourbon Street): 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, The Old Spaghetti Factory, 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. As part of the 2011-2014 mall renovations, 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 it still maintains an Asian decor, is no longer exclusive to such businesses.
RAAS, short for "retail as a service" (operating 2017-2018) in Phase IV of West Edmonton Mall.
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 16 October 2019, local car dealership Mayfield Toyota announced that they 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 (11,000 m2) 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 1,000 parking stalls and valet service. As part of this upgrade, the mall has added several high-end retailers.
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.
West Edmonton Mall was the object of a controversy in 2011 when, after arresting a woman for trespassing, security staff were caught on video allegedly assaulting her. A judge had agreed to release the video after charges against the woman were dismissed.
West Edmonton Mall Transit CentreEdit
|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 Service (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.
The following bus routes serve the transit centre:
School special routes that arrive/depart from West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre include routes: 1S, 2S, 4S, 14S, 100S, 102S, 103S, 107S, 109S, 112S, 115S, 150S, and 813.
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