West Edmonton Mall

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West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall logo
WestEdmontonMall2017.jpg
The Sea Life Caverns wing, 2017
Location Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates 53°31′22″N 113°37′23″W / 53.52278°N 113.62306°W / 53.52278; -113.62306Coordinates: 53°31′22″N 113°37′23″W / 53.52278°N 113.62306°W / 53.52278; -113.62306
Opening date 15 September 1981 (36 years ago) (1981-09-15)
Developer Triple Five Group
Management Jeff Sheckter[1] alongside The Ghermezian family
Owner West Edmonton Mall Properties Inc.
No. of stores and services 800+
No. of anchor tenants 15[2]
Total retail floor area 350,000 m2 (3,800,000 sq ft)[3]
No. of floors 3
Parking 20,000+,[4] 10,000 overflow[5]
Public transit access West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre (see below)
Website www.wem.ca

West Edmonton Mall (WEM), located in Summerlea, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the largest shopping mall in North America, followed by Mall of America, and the 23rd largest in the world (along with The Dubai Mall) by gross leasable area. [6] It was the world's largest mall until 2004.[3] The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959.[7]

West Edmonton Mall covers a gross area of about 490,000 m2 (5,300,000 sq ft).[3] There are over 800 stores and services including nine attractions, two hotels and over 100 dining venues in the complex,[8][9] and parking for more than 20,000 vehicles.[10] 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 (CAD) in January 2007,[11] and in 2016, for tax purposes, it was valued at $1.3034 billion (CAD), making it the most valuable property in Edmonton.[12]

History[edit]

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.[13] It was the largest indoor shopping centre in the world until 2004,[3] 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.[14]

The former West Edmonton Mall logo from 1981–2005

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.[15]

The Phase III food court at WEM. The top image is what the P3FC looked like prior to 2013. The bottom image is what the P3FC looks like today.

World records[edit]

Past and current West Edmonton Mall world records include;

Other records[edit]

In 2007, Peter Charney broke the world record for the most number of bungee jumps in 24 hours.

Major attractions[edit]

Galaxyland[edit]

Mindbender rollercoaster at Galaxyland

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.[20]

World Waterpark[edit]

Main wavepool.

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[edit]

An ice hockey rink seen from a second story above it. There are two teams playing at the far end. People are watching the game from both levels; there are stores behind them. Above the rink is a glass ceiling from which advertising banners hang promoting the tournament sponsors, as well as the Canadian and U.S. flags
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.[21]

During special events, such as Remembrance Day, the ice rink is covered with fabric for a ceremony to be held on it.[22] 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.[23]

Professor WEM's Adventure Golf[edit]

Professor WEM's Adventure Golf viewed from top floor

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.

Other attractions[edit]

The "Open Sea" Bronze Whale by Robin Bell in its original location before it moved to nearby Sears Canada (which is now defunct). This sculpture is a statue of a North Atlantic right whale.
The brass man in the Phase III food court before he moved to the Phase I food court
"Running In" oil workers statue by Robin Bell
  • Fantasyland Hotel,[24] 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[25] (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.
  • 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. The space has been purchased by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment for their expansion of the Palace Casino, which will be renamed to Starlight Casino.
  • Envy Nightclub (formerly SET Nightclub),[26] 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. (Phase III)
  • An Internet café[27]
  • An inter-denominational chapel[28]
  • Three radio stations: K-97 (classic rock), 840 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).
  • 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 (formerly III) food court
  • A statue of three oil workers is located outside of the Phase I food court

Themed streets[edit]

The mall also includes several "theme areas" including:

Bourbon Street before it was refurbished.
Europa Boulevard in 2003, ten years before La Maison Simons opened
  • Bourbon Street: Features clubs and restaurants in a New Orleans-influenced setting. Several restaurants and clubs are located here including 1ST RND, Albert's Family Restaurant, Boston Pizza, Earls, Hudsons Canadian Tap House, Jungle Jim's Eatery, Marble Slab Creamery, Moxie's Classic Grill, MR MIKES Steakhouse & Bar, Old Spaghetti Factory, 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, Norquest College, Opulence, G-Star Raw, Munchkin Patch, Dr. Martens, Henry Singer, B3, Cafe Levi, FYidoctors, Scotch & Soda, 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.[29]
  • "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 and RAAS, 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.
  • RAAS: An area where small Edmonton businesses are located. "RAAS" stands for "Retail As A Service".
The former Flamingo Bay attraction at West Edmonton Mall. This attraction housed a flock of flamingoes, which later became Jungle Hangout, which housed a troop of ring-tailed lemurs and 2 sloths for about three years.

Upgrades[edit]

Construction on a total retrofit of the mall shopping areas through all the phases began in spring 2011 with the "face lift" completed in 2014.[30]

Future developments[edit]

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.[31] However, none of these projects has begun construction except for the completed parking lot expansion located by the Rec Room. 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 2017, however, the mall remains the largest in North America.

Anchor stores expected to arrive in 2018–2021 is Nordstrom in place of Sears, and Winners/Homesense and Buybuy Baby in the old Target.

Controversies[edit]

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.[32]

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.[33] A few mock/drill lockdowns occurred after the threat.

West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre[edit]

West Edmonton Mall
Transit Centre
Platforms 13 bus bays[34]
Construction
Parking No
Disabled access Yes
Other information
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.[35] 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.[35][36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jeff-sheckter-4413a237
  2. ^ "Store listing". WEM. West Edmonton Mall. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Eastern Connecticut State University (January 2007). "World's Largest Shopping Malls". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Westly, Erica (10 November 2008). "The World's Largest Parking Lots". Forbes. Forbes Media LLC. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Largest car park". Guinness World Records. Guinness World Records. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Biggest Shopping Malls In The World". WorldAtlas. Retrieved 2018-05-11. 
  7. ^ "The Ghermezians build the West Edmonton Mall". CBC Archives. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  8. ^ West Edmonton Mall. "Facts about WEM". Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "History of WEM". WEM. West Edmonton Mall. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  10. ^ Westly, Erica (10 April 2008). "The World's Largest Parking Lots". Forbes.com. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Robinson, Allan (26 January 2007). "West Edmonton Mall financed again". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. 
  12. ^ "City of Edmonton : SLIM Maps". maps.edmonton.ca. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  13. ^ "History of WEM". WEM. West Edmonton Mall. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  14. ^ "Three killed in roller coaster accident at Edmonton mall". Nl.newsbank.com. 16 June 1986. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  15. ^ "Adjusters assess storm damage to West Edmonton Mall". CBC News. 12 July 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2018. 
  16. ^ Emil Pocock (January 2000). "Table 3 World's Largest Shopping Centers Compared". American Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University. American Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University. Archived from the original (Archive) on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "West Edmonton Mall". The Canadian Encyclopedia. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "6 Largest Indoor Water Parks in the World". Touropia. Touropia.com. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "Most bungee jumps in 24 hours (indoors)". Guinness World Records. Guinness World Records. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  20. ^ "S&S Worldwide". S-spower.com. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  21. ^ Mah, Bill (14 June 2015). "West Edmonton Mall sells Ice Palace naming rights to auto dealer". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  22. ^ "Edmontonians honour those who fought for our country". 11 November 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2018. 
  23. ^ Bartko, Karen (13 July 2017). "West Edmonton Mall ice rink undergoing $3M renovation". Retrieved 6 March 2018. 
  24. ^ "Fantasyland Hotel". Fantasyland Hotel. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  25. ^ "Edmonton Shooting Range". Shootingcentre.com. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ Blue Shift Gaming
  28. ^ "Marketplace Chapel". Marketplace Chapel. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  29. ^ Bill Mah (20 January 2011). "Simons to dominate mall's Europa Boulevard". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  30. ^ Mah, Bill (21 January 2011). "Multimillion-dollar facelift set for WEM". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  31. ^ International Council of Shopping Centers. "West Edmonton Mall gets go-ahead for expansion"
  32. ^ VIDEO | Edmonton woman alleges assault by mall guards – Edmonton – CBC News. Cbc.ca (19 December 2011). Retrieved on 12 July 2013.
  33. ^ "No "imminent threat" to West Edmonton Mall visitors, RCMP says". Edmonton Journal. 22 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  34. ^ "West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre Map" (PDF). City of Edmonton. Retrieved October 2, 2017. 
  35. ^ a b "West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre". City of Edmonton. Retrieved October 2, 2017. 
  36. ^ Osman, Laura (May 13, 2016). "West Edmonton Mall transit centre construction begins Monday". CBC News. Retrieved February 18, 2018. 

External links[edit]