The largest mall in the world. Bigger even than The Mall of America. So large it has an indoor amusement park, and water park, both which are the largest indoor ones in the world also. There is also an indoor ice rink, and the Edmonton Oilers occasionally have an exhibition practice there. There is even the largest indoor lake in the world, containing fish, penguins, and even dolphins which do dolphin shows.

There are three food courts, and a chapel inside. There is also a motel, and a large number of nightclubs.

It cost 1.1 billion dollars (Canadian), and took four years to build, from 1981 to 1985.

Even cooler, it has (or at least had) a fleet of 4 22-passenger submersibles. The submarine tank is a huge pool that visitors can tour in submarines to view many species of marine life including: dolphins, sharks, rays, octopi, and other fish.

In fact, with four operational submarines, the undersea naval power of landlocked Alberta is greater than that of the Canadian navy. Sad but true. (The Canadian Navy has more submarines total, mind, but hardly any of them work. Recently we bought 4 rusty, dented not-quite-hulks from England, but none will be seaworthy before 2005 at the earliest.)

The ship Santa Maria floats atop the water. The band Captain Tractor filmed the video for their version of the Arrogant Worms' song The Last Saskatchewan Pirate aboard her.

I live in Edmonton (albeight pretty far away from West Ed), so I go there two or three times a year. One very odd thing about West Ed is that relatively few people go there to shop. I mean, at your average mall, about 80% of people are actually going to buy stuff. But at West Ed, there's always more people looking at the dolphins than buying shirts. The mall is fairly entertainment oriented.

One of the coolest parts of West Ed is Silver City. It's a giant movie theater with ten or twelve really big screens. There's also an imax. The big draw, though, is the lobby, which includes a big floating statue of yoda, a bunch of weird people biking around in airplanes, and a gigantic dragon with a flamethrower mounted in its mouth. Every twenty minutes, the dragon focuses on someone with its laser eyes, and breaths a 20 foot-long flame in their direction. You can feel the heatwave through the whole lobby. There's also a little lightshow before the flaming, with lightning and thunder, and lots of smoke. Very cool

Another large draw is the amusement park, which is one of the largest indoor ones in the world. It used to be called Fantasy Land, and had lots of themed stuff, like balloons that you could sit in and would rotate, and a themed "play area" where you could go in passageways up high in the "mountains" that took half a side of the wall. Apart from the usual kiddy-rides, there's also a Roller Coaster, the Mind Bender, that does several loop-the-loops. There's also the "Drop of Doom", which throws its twenty or so occupents down five stories in half a second. If you throw a coin down at the top, you will catch it at the bottom. There's a few other rides of note, like a smaller roller coaster, a pirate ship that rocks back and forth (quite a bit), another one that goes all the way around, a twirling swing thing and some sort of "twister" thing.

The Water Park too, is very nice. There are some rumours about slugs on the steps up, but I've never seen any. There are some very nice slides, although it can be a pain to trudge up all those flights of stairs :-(. All the slides empty out into their own little pools, but there's quite a large wave pool, styled as a beach, with fake palm trees at the shallow end, where people eat their lunches. At the deep end of the wave pool, there's a fenced off area where people sometimes bungee jump off a platform attached to the roof. It's always cool because they sound a horn when someone's going to jump, and everyone looks up...

There's several other attractions, but those are my personal favourites

WEM has over 800 stores/services, 6 of which are major department stores (The Bay, The Brick Warehouse, London Drugs, Old Navy, Sears, and Zellers). There are 26 theatres (some Cineplex Odeon, some Famous Players) and 110 restauraunts (many duplicates - there are 3 McDonald's'). There are three 'Theme Streets', Bourbon Street (New Orleans theme), Europa Boulevard (European theme), and a third whose name I don't know yet which has an Asian theme (most of the shops hadn't opened when I last went, it seems supported mainly by T&T Supermarket). The Mall contains the world's largest indoor amusement park Galaxyland (formerly Fantasyland, until Disney found out), an NHL size arena, the world's largest indoor wave pool Blue Thunder in the 2 hectare World Waterpark; and a 210-yard all-season driving range. On display are a replica set of the British crown jewels from William I to George VI, a Ming dynasty Chinese pagoda, and 7 porcelain vases from the Ching dynasty. Among the mall's living exhibits are a petting zoo (I'm unsure as to whether this is a permanent fixture or a temporary gig), a dolphin lagoon (down to the last dolphin, Howard, and the mall is under a lot of pressure to give him up), and a variety of aquatic life visible either from within the malls fleet of submarines or in aquaria scattered about the mall.

The Mall has four mascots - Sharky from the World Waterpark, Deep Sea Danny from the Deep Sea Adventure, Cosmo from Galaxyland, and Professor Wem from Professor Wem's Adventure Golf

The mall has 325,000 light fixtures, so even in the dead of night they can keep the place lit brightly. The mall provides jobs for 23,500 people, and has over 20,000 parking spaces in the world's largest parking lot. There's also a fairly large bus station in the parking lot too, if finding a parking space is a worry.

The Mall covers 493,000 square meters (5.3 million square feet), getting it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest shopping center. I've heard rumours about a fifth phase being added at some point, adding 25% more retail space, a 12 storey apartment building, a 12 storey office building, and an 8000 seat mulitpurpose arena. I don't envy the people in that neighbourhood. The traffic is already horrible, and the five nightclubs in the mall attract a lot of problems to the area. Expansion won't help that. The mall is already killing off other parts of the city as businesses move to it. And besides, it already looks as though Dr. Frankenstein was on the architectural team. But maybe it won't be as bad as everyone seems to think.

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