West Edmonton Mall facts for kids

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West Edmonton Mall
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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 (38 years ago) (1981-09-15)
Developer Triple Five Group
Management Jeff Sheckter alongside The Ghermezian family
Owner West Edmonton Mall Properties Inc.
No. of stores and services 800+
No. of anchor tenants 16
Total retail floor area 350,000 m2 (3,800,000 sq ft)
Parking 20,000+, 10,000 overflow
No. of floors 3
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. It was the world's largest mall until 2004. The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959.

West Edmonton Mall covers a gross area of about 490,000 m2 (5,300,000 sq ft). There are over 800 stores and services in the compound, 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 (CAD) in January 2007.

History

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 several of the cars came loose and came off the track. Three people died and one was injured in the accident.

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 1999 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, which is 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, and several other smaller stores. In 2005, the upstairs space previously occupied by Playdium was rented by three NewCap Radio stations: 790 CFCW, K-97 97.3 (Formerly, 97.3 K-Rock), and 96.3 Capital FM (formerly 96.3 Big Earl). 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.

250px-Wem logo old
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. Among the stores that are only found in Edmonton at WEM are DeSerres along with others.

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. The Ice Palace has suffered occasional flood damage as well. 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. On August 12, 2010, Victoria's Secret opened their first Canadian store in the mall. 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. The construction of the Simons store resulted in HMV reducing its second-floor footprint.

In early February 2014, Sportchek opened an 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) flagship store in the old Edmonton Event Centre location in West Edmonton Mall. The new Sportchek features 800 display screens. Zellers closed in 2012 and was replaced by Target which later closed in 2015.

In January 2017, Cineplex Entertainment announced that it would open a second Edmonton location of its entertainment restaurant concept The Rec Room at West Edmonton Mall. The original location opened at South Edmonton Common the previous year.

World records

Past and current West Edmonton Mall world records include;

  • World's largest mall (1985-2004)
  • World's largest indoor amusement park
  • World's largest indoor roller coaster
  • World's largest indoor lake
  • North America's largest indoor waterpark
  • World's largest parking lot with lot with 20,000+ spaces, and over 10,000 overflow spaces.

Other records

  • Most bungee jumps in 24 hours record while indoors was set by Peter Charney, on 6–7 November 2007 at the World Waterpark.

Major attractions

Galaxyland

Rollercoaster-Galaxyland-Edmonton WEM
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 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. 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.

World Waterpark

WorldWaterparkWestEdmontonMall2017
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.

Sea Life Caverns / Sea Lions Rock

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The Santa Maria ship.

West Edmonton Mall has an indoor lagoon which contains a salt-water habitat with four California sea lions 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". Sea Life Caverns is home to a wide variety of animals including fish, reptiles, amphibians and penguins. There is a 525,000 litre tropical salt-water aquarium that is home to an array of fish, sharks and sea turtles. This is the largest of its kind in Western Canada. Today, what was once the 'Dolphin's Lagoon' is now known as 'Sea Lions' Rock', which is home to four California sea lions (Pablo, Kelpie, Clara, and Quinty). They have educational shows with a focus on conservation that run twice a day from Sunday to Thursday (2pm, 4pm), and three times a day on Friday and Saturday (12pm, 2pm, 4pm).

Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace

Ice Palace at the West Edmonton Mall during the Brick youth tournament, 2015
Ice Palace during a youth tournament

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 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 and a ceremony is held on it.

Professor WEM's Adventure Golf

ProfessorWEMSAdventureGolfWestEdmontonMall2017
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.

Movie theatres

West Edmonton Mall-Fire Dragon
Dragon above Scotiabank Theatre, removed in 2014.

Originally, the mall was home to four movie theatre complexes. However, as of 2017, 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), 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

Ed's Recreation Centre (formerly Red's), is an entertainment complex consisting of a bowling alley, arcade, and formerly a pool hall, music stage, and restaurant. The stage was one of Edmonton's major music venues. Past players have included many bands, both Canadian and international. Wilco, Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips, The Mars Volta, Motörhead, Matthew Good Band, Sloan, P.O.D., Joe Satriani, Cradle of Filth, Theory of a Deadman, Our Lady Peace, In Flames, Lifehouse, Children of Bodom, Bring Me the Horizon, Testament, DragonForce, Opeth, GWAR, Muse and Switchfoot are just some of the bands that have played at the venue. It was formerly known as the nightclub/restaurant/rec room Red's. At the end of June 2006, the owners of Red's closed its doors after they chose not to renew their lease. The mall separated it into three areas: converting the stage/restaurant area into a separate concert venue known as the Edmonton Event Centre; the other area which contains the lounge, the arcade and the bowling alley was re-dubbed Ed's Rec Room and a mini-golf course, Putt 'n' Glow. The Edmonton Event Centre closed on New Years Day 2013. It was demolished in December 2013, and Sport Chek took over its former space.

Other attractions

  • 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. The deck can be booked for private functions.
  • 24-hour WEMfit.
  • 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.
  • 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 with indoor skate park, built in a converted cinema. This was formerly Cineplex Odeon.
  • An Internet café
  • An inter-denominational chapel
  • 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).
Bourbon Street in West Edmonton Mall
Bourbon Street
EuropaBoulevardWestEdmontonMall2017
Europa Boulevard
'Chinatown' section of West Edmonton Mall (2005)
Chinatown

Themed streets

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 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, The Red Piano Cajun Bistro and Dueling Piano Bar, and Tony Roma's. 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 & 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.
  • "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

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. By 2014, the mall's "face lift" had been completed.

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. 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 2017, however, the mall remains the largest in North America.

Future anchors to arrive around 2017-2019 inside the mall include The Rec Room (a more modern version of the former Red's, run by Cineplex Entertainment) in the former Target, and Sunrise Records in the former HMV.

Anchors

There are currently 18 (17 after 04/30/17) anchor stores in West Edmonton Mall; and 6 former anchors stores.

Key Anchors

  • Galaxyland (1985–present)
  • World Waterpark (1986–present)
  • Scotiabank Theatre/IMAX 3D (2007–present) formerly Famous Players SilverCity

Store anchors

  • Bed Bath & Beyond (2009–present) formerly old dinner and a movie theatre
  • The Brick (19??-present)
  • Chapters (1999–present) formerly Hudson's Bay 2
  • Forever 21 (2015–present) formerly XXI Forever
  • H&M (20??–present)
  • HMV (1999–present) formerly Hudson's Bay 2, will become Sunrise Records (closing on April 30, 2017)
  • Hudson's Bay (1981–present)
  • International Clothiers (2016–present) formerly Designer Depot
  • London Drugs (19??–present)
  • NewCap Radio (2005–present) formerly Playdium
  • Old Navy (19??–present)
  • Sears (1981–present)
  • Sport Chek (2014–present) formerly Edmonton Events Centre
  • Simons (2012–present) formerly Petcetera
  • T & T Supermarket (2002–present) formerly Canadian Tire
  • Urban Behavior (200?–present)
  • Winners (19??–present) formerly Jysk

Former

  • Eaton's (1981-1999) Now Zellers
  • Woodward's (1981-early 1990s) now Hudson's Bay 2
  • Hudson's Bay 2 (early 1990s-1999) formerly Woodward's, now Phase IV w/ NewCap Radio, Scotiabank Theatre, HMV, Chapters, & more
  • Zellers (1999-2012) Formerly Eaton's, now Target
  • Target (2013-2015) Formerly Zellers, soon to be The Rec Room
  • Designer Depot (2015-2016) Now International Clothiers
  • Canadian Tire (1985-mid 1990's) Now T&T Supermarket
  • IKEA (1985-mid 1990's) now Ed's Rec Room
  • Playdium (1999-2005) formerly Hudson's Bay 2, now NewCap Radio
  • Famous Players SilverCity (1999-2007) formerly Hudson's Bay 2, now Scotiabank Theatre
  • Famous Players 2 (19??-1999) now Jubilations Dinner Theatre
  • Cineplex Odeon (19??-2005) now West49 w/ indoor skate park
  • Cineplex Odeon 2 (19??-19??) (now the Phase III food court)
  • Jysk (19??-20??) Now Winners
  • Petcetera (1997-2012) now Simons

Future

  • The Rec Room
  • Sunrise Records, to replace HMV due to bankruptcy.

West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre

West Edmonton Mall
Transit Centre
Station statistics
Coordinates 53°31′13″N 113°37′21″W / 53.52028°N 113.6225°W / 53.52028; -113.6225
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.

Currently the transit centre is under heavy reconstruction to prepare for the Valley Line LRT. Construction is expected to last into early 2017.

Bus bay assignments

  • 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.

West Edmonton Mall Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.