West Edmonton Mall (WEM), located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the largest shopping mall in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959. It was the world's largest mall for a 23 year period from 1981 until 2004.
West Edmonton Mall covers a gross area of about 570,000 m2 (well over 6 million sq ft). There are over 800 stores and services and parking for more than 20,000 vehicles. More than 23,000 people are employed at the property. The mall receives 28.2 million visitors per year; it also attracts between 60,000 and 150,000 shoppers daily, depending on the day and season. The mall was valued at C$926 million in January 2007.
Galaxyland is an indoor amusement park located on the north side of the mall. It is the largest indoor amusement park in the 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, and 5 other "pay at site" rides/games. The Mindbender is the world's largest indoor triple loop roller coaster. The newest attraction in Galaxyland, opened on July 17, 2007, called the Galaxy Orbiter, begins at the Mindbender and intertwines with the entire park. Arguably the second most popular attraction in Galaxyland (after the Mindbender), 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. Only recently was the loading area replaced by an interactive laser ride based on the theme of the park's mascot, Cosmo. Other popular attractions include the TurboRide 3D Theatre which sits directly underneath the Mindbender, the privately owned Haunted Castle and 3D Fun House (also beneath the Mindbender), the Autosled roller coaster which is a tamer alternative to the Mindbender, the Swing of the Century, and also Galaxy Kids, a large play area for young children.
The World Waterpark is the world's 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 and is known for its high-speed water slide called the Sky Screamer, which is often mistaken as the park's tallest slide at 24 metres (79 ft). The highest slide in the park is the Twister, 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 separately owned Bungee Tower where one can bungee jump directly over the wave pool.
Recent renovations 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.
Sea Life Caverns / Sea Lions Rock
Sea Lion show near the Santa MariaWest Edmonton Mall has an indoor lake which contains a salt-water habitat with four sea lions and a replica of the Santa Mar?a, built during the 1986 World Exposition in Vancouver. The Santa Mar?a has been used for an annual Christmas fundraiser, raising toys for underprivileged children. Also, the submarines, a long time favorite, had been replaced with the Deep-Sea Derby, a bumper boat ride with squirt guns. 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 two sea lions (Banny and Jazz) providing the entertainment for the current presentation labeled "Swim, Slide, and Splash!".
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.
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.
Originally, the mall was home to four movie theatre complexes. However, as of 2008, only the Scotiabank Theatre, formerly Silver City Famous Players, (with an animatronic fire breathing dragon and IMAX screen) is in the mall. Up until recently, a discount cinema, owned by Cineplex Odeon was located outside the Phase I entrance to Galaxyland, but it was shut down in 2005 and has since seen the majority of the space it occupied bought out by skateboarding/snowboarding store West 49 which also built an indoor skatepark in the basement. Prior to the opening of Silver City, in the mid 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 (formerly Red's), is an entertainment complex consisting of a bowling alley, pool hall, music stage, arcade, and restaurant. The stage is one of Edmonton's major music venues. Past players have included many bands, both Canadian and international. Wilco, Arcade Fire, The Mars Volta, Mot?rhead, 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 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.
Victoria's Secret: the first Victoria's Secret to open in Canada
An indoor shooting range (named "Wild West Shooting Centre")
Large-scale replica of the Santa Mar?a, one of the ships sailed by Christopher Columbus.
24-Hour Gold's Gym.
Dinner Theatre - Jubilations Dinner Theatre offers original Canadian 3 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 and Ed's Rec Room have seen several tenants over the years including The Joint and Ka'os Nightclub.
Nightclub Whisky Jack's; a country themed nightclub.
West 49 skate shop with indoor skate park, built in a converted cinema.
An Internet caf?
An inter-denominational chapel
Four radio stations. Three of them, K-97 (classic rock), 790 CFCW (classic country and news/sports programming), 96.3 Capital FM, are owned by Newcap Radio. The fourth, HOT 107, is owned by John Charles Yerxa. 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 Boston Pizza with BP's Lounge, Hooters, Tony Roma's Ribhouse, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Albert's Family Restaurant, Moxie's, Earls, Jungle Jim's and the Comedy Club. The lighting in this area is left intentionally darker than other parts of the mall in order to simulate a nighttime atmosphere.
Europa Boulevard - Eclectic shops in an area designed to look like a European streetscape. It is home to A Piece of Cake, G-Star , Energie/Miss Sixty, Urban, Paradox, Europa Cafe and several rentable conference rooms that look down on the Boulevard. Also, Europa Boulevard will soon be home to the first La Maison Simons to open outside of Quebec.
Chinatown - Businesses catering to the Asian population, headlined by T & T Supermarket (in the former Canadian Tire location). It is located directly above Bourbon Street and features a miniature koi pond with a bridge.