West Edmonton Mall

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Coordinates: 53°31′20″N 113°37′22″W / 53.52222°N 113.62278°W / 53.52222; -113.62278

West Edmonton Mall
West eMall.jpg
An overview of the indoor lake
Location Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Opening date 15 September 1981
Developer Triple Five Group
Management Ghermezian Family
Owner West Edmonton Mall Properties Inc.
No. of stores and services 800+
No. of anchor tenants 8
Total retail floor area 350,000 m2 (3,800,000 sq ft)[1]
No. of floors 3
Public transit access West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre (see below)
Website www.wem.ca

West Edmonton Mall (WEM), located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the largest shopping mall in North America and the tenth largest in the world (along with The Dubai Mall) by gross leasable area.[2][better source needed] The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959.[3] It was the world's largest mall until 2004.[1]

West Edmonton Mall covers a gross area of about 490,000 m2 (5,300,000 sq ft).[1] There are over 800 stores and services in the compound,[4] and parking for more than 20,000 vehicles.[5] More than 24,000 people are employed at the property. The mall receives 32.2 million visitors per year; it also attracts between 90,000 and 200,000 shoppers daily, depending on the day and season. The mall was valued at CAN$926 million in January 2007.[6]


West Edmonton Mall first opened its doors to the public on 15 September 1981. The mall has been expanded three times since its opening in 1981, with these additions completed in 1983, 1985 and 1999. It was the largest indoor shopping centre in the world until 2004 (History of Shopping Malls) and was put in the Guinness World Records. The four phases of construction are used in a colour-coded system as a guideline for finding stores and attractions.

The mall's amusement park was originally called Fantasyland, until The Walt Disney Company took the mall to court, claiming ownership of the name, which is a themed area found at its Disneyland-style theme parks around the world. WEM lost and subsequently renamed the attraction Galaxyland. Since the name change, they introduced the mall's mascot Cosmo who is the basis for several rides in Galaxyland. The amusement park is located in what is referred to as Phase One, although it stretches into Phase II. However, the mall was allowed to retain the name Fantasyland Hotel for its on-site hotel. The hotel is a separate building but it is attached to Phase III of the mall and its lobby opens straight into the mall.

The Mindbender indoor roller coaster had a fatal accident on 14 June 1986 when several of the cars came loose and came off the track. Three people died in the accident.[7]

In the early 1990s, the Woodward's department store chain, one of WEM's anchors, went bankrupt, and its locations were purchased by the Hudson's Bay Company. As a result, WEM boasted two full Bay department stores until the late 1990s when the company closed the store that had replaced Woodward's, leading to a renovation (known as Phase IV) that added a Famous Players multiplex, a two-floor HMV location (complete with an HMV stage, which has played hosts to autograph signings for bands, Hollywood celebrities and World Wrestling Entertainment superstars), a $12.6 million Playdium entertainment complex/arcade (now closed), an indoor shooting range, a Chapters bookstore with a Starbucks, as well as several other smaller stores. In 2005, the upstairs space previously occupied by Playdium was rented by three NewCap Radio radio stations: 790 CFCW, K-97 97.3 (Formerly, 97.3 K-Rock), and 96.3 Capital FM (formerly 96.3 Big Earl).[8] The downstairs area was at one point partially used as a paintball playing area, but is now vacant. In 2007, the Famous Players multiplex, formerly known as Silver City, was renamed Scotiabank Theatre.[9]

Logo used up to 2005

The closures of Canadian Tire and IKEA in the mid-1990s left vacancies that sat unfilled until the spaces were converted into a T & T Supermarket in 2002, and an entertainment complex called Ed's Rec Room that consists of a billiard hall, bowling alley and nightclub, respectively.[10][11]

Among the stores that are only found in Edmonton at WEM are DeSerres, and Simons, along with others.[12]

The mall suffered millions of dollars in damage on 11 July 2004 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. The Ice Palace has suffered occasional flood damage since as well.[13]

In the summer of 2009, the mall's dinner theatre was relocated and Edmonton's second branch of Bed, Bath and Beyond opened in the dinner theatre's old location above the west-end food court. In August 2010, Victoria's Secret opened their first Canadian store in the mall.[14]

Logo used since 2013

La Maison Simons opened a 115,000 sq ft (10,700 m2) store in the mall on 31 October 2012, its first outlet outside of Quebec.[15]

Major attractions[edit]


Mindbender rollercoaster at Galaxyland
Main article: Galaxyland

Galaxyland was originally known as "Fantasyland;" however, during a court battle with Disney, 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, including the triple loop Mindbender roller coaster, which derailed and killed 3 riders in June 1986, and 5 other "pay at site" rides/games. The Mindbender is the world's largest indoor triple loop roller coaster. The latest attraction in Galaxyland, which opened on 17 July 2007, called the Galaxy Orbiter, begins at the Mindbender and intertwines with the entire park.[16] 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.[17] Only recently[when?] was the loading area replaced by an interactive laser ride based on the theme of the park's mascot, Cosmo. In March 2011, new feature, which replaced the Sonic Twister (which succeeded the Disco Dynamo) debuted, the "Cosmic Revolution". It rotates and manoeuvres in a similar pattern to the "Sonic Storm" but with possible upside-down sensations. Other attractions include the TurboRide 3D Theatre, which sits directly underneath the Mindbender, the privately owned Haunted Castle and Fun House (also beneath the Mindbender), the Autosled roller coaster which is a tamer alternative to the Mindbender, the Swing of the Century, and Galaxy Kids, a large play area for young children.

World Waterpark[edit]

World Waterpark pool
Main article: World Waterpark

The World Waterpark is the world's second largest indoor waterpark, built in 1985, with a size of over 20,000 square metres (4.9 acres). The park has the world's largest indoor wave pool. The highest slides in the park are the Twister and Cyclone, which is 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.

The major slides are all on the east side of the park, with a children's play area and change room access behind them. On the west side is a tube ride which has been changed many times over, a three-person inflatable raft slide and the Zip Line's where one can Zipline directly over the wave pool.

Recent renovations in 2012 brought new signage, a complete resurfacing of the wave pool, and changeroom upgrades. There have also been large renovations to the children's play park at the far east side in 2008. The new version of this play park is called "Caribbean Cove" and contains a 1200 litre bucket that drops water on the whole play park on regular 2 minute intervals. A small dolphin themed child's park was open during the renovations and is still open to this date. Also more recently, they have added 3 more slides, taking down the Skyscreamer and building a new one along with a skyscreamer extreme and a loop waterslide.

On 2 December 2014, West Edmonton Mall permanently closed the Thunderbolt slide to make way for a new attraction.[18]

Sea Life Caverns / Sea Lions Rock[edit]

Sea Lion show near the Santa Maria

West Edmonton Mall has an indoor lagoon which contains a salt-water habitat with a sea lion and a replica of the Santa María, built during the 1986 World Exposition in Vancouver. The Santa María has been used for an annual Christmas fundraiser, raising toys for underprivileged children. Also, the submarines, a longtime favorite, had been replaced with the Deep-Sea Derby, a bumper boat ride with squirt guns. This attraction has since been removed. Deep Sea Adventure is also home to the mall's aquatic life, most of which are housed beneath the main floor in the "Sea Life Caverns". Today, what was once the Dolphin's Lagoon is now the Sea Lions' Rock, with three sea lions (Clara, Kelpie and Pablo) providing the entertainment for the current presentation labeled "Swim, Slide, and Splash!".

Ice Palace[edit]

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 practiced at the Ice Palace. This drew huge crowds during the Wayne Gretzky years in the 1980s. The Oilers' contract for using the rink, however, has since expired. The rink is used for various hockey and other sporting tournaments.

During special events, such as Remembrance Day, the ice rink is covered with fabric and a ceremony is held on it.

Professor WEM's Adventure Golf[edit]

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.

Movie theatres[edit]

Originally, the mall was home to four movie theatre complexes. However, as of 2008, only the Scotiabank Theatre (with IMAX), formerly Famous Players SilverCity, (which opened with an animatronic fire breathing dragon, which was removed in 2014 due to high maintenance costs[19]) is in the mall. Until 2005, a discount cinema, owned by Cineplex Odeon was located outside the Phase I entrance to Galaxyland; the majority of the space it occupied was bought out by skateboarding/snowboarding store West 49 which also built an indoor skatepark in the basement. Prior to the opening of SilverCity, in the late 1990s there was a Famous Players theatre located near the Palace Casino, as well as a second Cineplex Odeon below Ed's Recreation Centre (formerly Red's), on the main level with the Gourmet Court (Phase III).

Ed's Recreation Centre[edit]

The Edmonton Event Centre was demolished in December 2013. In early February 2014, Sports Check opened a 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) flagship store in the old Edmonton Event Centre location in West Edmonton Mall. The new Sports Check features 800 display screens.[22]

Other attractions[edit]

  • Fantasyland Hotel,[23] 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.
  • Victoria's Secret: the first Victoria's Secret to open in Canada
  • An indoor shooting range[24] (named "Wild West Shooting Centre")
  • Large-scale replica of the Santa María, one of the ships sailed by Christopher Columbus. The deck can be booked for private functions.
  • 24-hour Gold's Gym.
  • 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.
  • Nightclub Empire Ballroom. The mall has had a history of night clubs, as the space occupied now by Empire as well as other locations nearby the Edmonton Events Centre (now demolished) and Ed's Rec Room have seen several tenants over the years including The Joint and Ka'os Nightclub.
  • SET Nightclub,[25] a dance club featuring top 40 and electro music. The space was formerly Whisky Jack's, a country-themed nightclub.
  • West 49 skate shop with indoor skate park, built in a converted cinema.
  • An Internet café[26]
  • An inter-denominational chapel[27]
  • Three radio stations: K-97 (classic rock), 790 CFCW (classic country and news/sports programming), 96.3 Capital FM, are owned by Newcap Radio. The Newcap-owned area features studios, offices, and a small free museum. Newcap 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).

The mall also includes several "theme areas" including:

  • Bourbon Street: Features clubs and restaurants in a New Orleans-influenced setting. Several restaurants and clubs are located here including Sherlock Holmes, Hudsons Tap House, Jungle Jim's, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Oranj Sushi Bar, Earls, Mr Mikes Steakhouse, Tony Roma's, Moxie's, The Red Piano & Bistro Dueling Bar, 1st RND, and the Comic Strip. The lighting in this area is left intentionally darker than other parts of the mall 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.
  • Europa Boulevard: Eclectic shops in an area designed to look like a European streetscape. It is home to Europa Watch & Jewelrery, Opulence, Buffalo David Bitton, G-Star Raw, Camper Footwear, Dr. Martens, Brandy Meville, Cafe Levi, HS Henry Singer, High Grade Clothing, FYidoctors, 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.[28]
  • "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.

Future developments[edit]

Plans are underway for a total retrofit of the mall shopping areas through all the phases. Construction began in spring 2011 and are be staged, expected to last 18 to 24 months.[29] As of August 2013, the construction is still underway.

In 2002, the City of Edmonton approved plans for the mall to expand with an additional 30,000 m2 (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.[30] As of early 2015, however, construction on any of these items has yet to begin. Currently, a number of large shopping malls, all larger than the West Edmonton Mall, are under construction in China, and the retail centre in Beijing has already displaced the West Edmonton Mall as the world's largest. The SM Mall of Asia, located in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines has also surpassed the mall's gross floor size by 36,000 square metres (390,000 sq ft). As of 2015, however, the mall remains the largest in North America.


West Edmonton Mall was the object of a controversy when, after arresting a woman for trespassing, their security staff were caught on videotape allegedly assaulting her. A judge had agreed to release the video after the charges against the woman were dismissed.[31]

In February 2015, the Al-Shabaab militant group released a propaganda video calling for attacks on the West Edmonton Mall and other Western shopping centers. 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.[32]


West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre[edit]

West Edmonton Mall
Transit Centre
Station statistics
Coordinates 53°31′13″N 113°37′21″W / 53.52028°N 113.62250°W / 53.52028; -113.62250
Platforms 13 bus bays
Other information
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Owned by Edmonton Transit System
Website WEM Transit Centre

The Edmonton Transit System operates 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 NW. The large shelter building at the transit centre is accessible and equipped with power doors.

Bus bay assignments[edit]

  • 5001: 23 Mill Woods, 100 Downtown, 111 Downtown, 113 Jasper Place, 133 South Campus.
  • 5002: 101 Wedgewood, 103 Cameron Heights.
  • 5003: 2 Lessard, 4 Lewis Farms.
  • 5004: 102 West Lymburn, 106 Lessard.
  • 5005: 107 Westridge, 110 Westridge.
  • 5006: 4 Capilano.
  • 5007: 106 University, 150 Eaux Claires.
  • 5008: 2 Clareview.
  • 5009: 1 Capilano
  • 5010: 100 Lewis Farms, 119 The Hamptons, 133 Lewis Farms, 136 The Hamptons, 137 Clareview.
  • 5011: 14 Downtown, 205 St. Albert, 311 Jasper Place.
  • 5012: 109 Downtown, 122 Westmount, 129 Westmount.
  • 5013: 112 Capilano, 115 Northgate, 126 Westmount.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Eastern Connecticut State University (January 2007). "World's Largest Shopping Malls". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Emporis (7 February 2012). "World’s 10 biggest shopping malls" (Press release). Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Ghermezians build the West Edmonton Mall". CBC Archives. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  4. ^ West Edmonton Mall. "Facts about WEM". Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Westly, Erica (10 April 2008). "The World's Largest Parking Lots". Forbes.com. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Robinson, Allan (26 January 2007). "West Edmonton Mall financed again". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. 
  7. ^ "Three killed in roller coaster accident at Edmonton mall". Nl.newsbank.com. 16 June 1986. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "Newcap Radio 2005 Annual Report". Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited. 2006. p. 16. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Cineplex Entertainment and Scotiabank Launch First National Canadian Entertainment Loyalty Rewards Program and Rename Three Major Cineplex Theatres". Marketwire. 2 May 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  10. ^ Friesen, Kenton (31 October 2002). "Mall marches forward with expansion plans". Business Edge. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Corporate Profile". T & T Supermarket. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "West Edmonton Mall - List of stores". Malls.Com. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Adjusters assess storm damage to West Edmonton Mall". CBC News. 12 July 2004. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Victoria's Secret opens 1st Canadian store". CBC News. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Kozicka, Trish (31 October 2012). "Simons opens its doors in Edmonton". Global Edmonton. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  16. ^ Ferguson, Amanda (17 July 2007). "Rotating roller coaster a Galaxyland hit". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "S&S Worldwide". S-spower.com. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  18. ^ http://www.wem.ca/play/attractions-at-wem/world-waterpark/slide-closures
  19. ^ http://www.canada.com/story.html?id=75a473fa-9868-4c7c-9d03-8a3799147871
  20. ^ Chalmers, Ron (23 May 2007). "WEM goes high-end". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  21. ^ "Edmonton loses a top live music venue". Edmonton Journal. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Sport Check Opens Flagship Store in Canada's West Edmonton Mall". 8 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "Fantasyland Hotel". Fantasyland Hotel. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  24. ^ "Edmonton Shooting Range". Shootingcentre.com. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ Blue Shift Gaming
  27. ^ "Marketplace Chapel". Marketplace Chapel. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  28. ^ Bill Mah (20 January 2011). "Simons to dominate mall’s Europa Boulevard". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  29. ^ Mah, Bill (21 January 2011). "Multimillion-dollar facelift set for WEM". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  30. ^ International Council of Shopping Centers. "West Edmonton Mall gets go-ahead for expansion"
  31. ^ VIDEO | Edmonton woman alleges assault by mall guards – Edmonton – CBC News. Cbc.ca (19 December 2011). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  32. ^ "No “imminent threat” to West Edmonton Mall visitors, RCMP says". Edmonton Journal. 22 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 

External links[edit]