Anything Goes

Alberta's West Edmonton Mall is truly a "one-stop" shopping centre.






Visit New Orleans' Bourbon Street smack in the middle of Canada's west.


























































































Imagine a place where you could play, shop and explore the

 wonders of the world without having to worry about airline schedules, hotel bookings and the weather. Edmonton, Alberta has just what the doctor ordered. 

   When John and I visited West Edmonton Mall for the second time, it was still an unbelievable and memorable feast for the eyes and as fascinating as ever. The first phase of 220 stores originally built in 1981 has grown to over 48 city blocks. In 1983, 240 more businesses called the Mall home along with an improved and immense Galaxyland Amusement Park, a full size Ice Palace skating rink/NHL hockey arena plus a Casino. Visitors would have to say that this Mall is absolutely awesome.


   But awesome wasn't enough for the developers - in 1985 the number of stores, many exclusive to the city and to Canada, reached 800. West Edmonton Mall amenities include The World Waterpark, Deep Sea Adventure, Dolphin Lagoon, Sea Life Caverns, Professor Wem's Adventure Golf, Jubilation's Dinner Theatre and two "theme" streets. A wide selection of fountains, statues, Chinese vases and more grace the open corridors. There is even a display of the Crown Jewels of England - replicas of course. 

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   Phase IV construction added a gigantic two story HMV Music Store and a mammoth Chapters Bookstore alongside a Starbuck's Coffee House to browse in. The Famous Player 19 screen movie theatre of Phase II sprouted another 100,000 square feet and 12 more theatres plus a 3-D IMAX 6 story screen in the "Silver City" complex during Phase IV. Also included in the "upgrades" were the mega Playdium Entertainment Centre, Fastrack Performance Karts (adult go-karts) and a Western Night Club. This new addition has got to be seen to be believed - the ceiling transforms from daylight to a starlit night sky when the sun goes down! 

   This Mall is enormous so make sure that you pick up the 15 page map/directory to find your way around. The diverse amenities of the West Edmonton Mall offers something for everyone. With each phase this mall becomes more elaborate and even more colossal. It takes days to see it all. To make it easy to see it all, the Mall sells venue passes for the Waterpark, Seaworld and Golf or Galaxyland. This way, each family member can spend a day at the Mall doing their own thing. Those who wish to simply enjoy their surroundings, listen to musical performances or go shopping can easily fill the day.

   The spacious walkways and expansive distinctive image of this overwhelming utopia were awesome. Early attractions include a challenging 18 hole-par 46-Mini Golf Course, a scale model of Christopher Columbus's flagship, the Santa Maria is open for touring and four delightful dolphins perform four times each day for 20 minutes. Visitors can also board 24 passenger submarines that actually submerge 20 feet to manoeuvre among underground aquariums of exotic fish, a sunken ship and 2000 year old coral. The above- ground Sea Life Caverns provide an up- front look at a shark, octopus, sea turtle, reptiles, penguins, and a variety of salt water fish.




Mini-golf with a flair.

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   The highlight for us was the gigantic five acre (equal to five football fields) wave pool behind an expansive glass wall. Thanks to Travis, Attraction Marketing Manager and a much appreciate Press Pass, I was able to take photos from inside on the catwalk near the Wild Gravity Bungi-jump-off point, billed as Canada's only indoor "jumping platform". Families lounged on the beach-style patio far below, while others laughed and frolicked in the wave pool or on the slides or swam in the mini pools or simply relaxed in the hot tub. Raging Rapids inner tube ride, plus numerous slides snaked among the scaffolding. Names such as Twister, Cannon Ball Run, White Lightning, Corkscrew, or Sky Screamer tell their story. Pre-schoolers, too, can delight in their pint-size venues of the Tap Works and Little Caribbean. Didn't bring a bathing suit? Don't worry rentals are available.




A day on a Caribbean "beach" - Edmonton-style!


If all this excitement makes you hungry, don't worry there are over 110 choices of eateries from which to choose. The New Orleans style Bourbon Street, a Europa Boulevard, Hooters or California Cuisine at Planet Hollywood all promise an exceptional treat. Red's Family Recreation Room with its 250 seat restaurant, live entertainment, big screen TV, 350 seat night club, 25 billiard tables and 28 bowling lanes creates a definite one-of-a-kind dining facility. The quality productions of the Jubilee Dinner Theatre add a touch of class. There are just too many choices to mention.

   If visitors are looking for more to do, the on-site glittering glass practice rink of the Edmonton Oilers is also open to the public. Yes, rental skates are available. Ceasar's Bingo and the slots or gaming table at the glitzy Casino Palace add yet another dimension to the Mall's allure. The amusement park of Phase II grew to became the world's largest indoor Galaxyland Amusement Park in Phase III. The 13-storey Drop of Doom and the Mindbender (a triple roller coaster) highlight this event. A wide selection of standard rides tempt the not-so-brave, plus a Tots' section complete with mascot "Cosmos" in the four story space-theme Galaxy Kids 'Play-Park' lure the younger set.

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   Although many people flock to the Mall to 'oh and ah', numerous others come to shop in the relaxed ambience. The thrill of shopping in a tax free province adds to the fun. This Mall is so interesting you may wish to spend a night at the 354 room Fantasyland Hotel located in one of the 118 individualized theme rooms with names like Igloo Room, Victorian Coach Room, Canadian Rail Room or Polynesian Room. Mall organizers have thought of everything. Parking is not a problem either, even for RVs! Take note - parking is for DAYTIME only.

   Although the West Edmonton Mall is the city's main attraction, the scenery in this part of Canada is simply majestic. Edmonton is Alberta's modern capital and Canada's fourth largest city located at the gateway to Canada's north and the picturesque Rocky Mountains. Its hometown flavour and multicultural heritage promote a hospitable way of life featuring year-round festivals and a varied calendar of events. It seems as if the sun never sets in June since Edmonton boasts 17 hours of sunshine. The people are as friendly as the weather. If en route to or from Alaska/Yukon or travelling near Edmonton be sure to include a day at "The Mall". (Campground reservations during peak times are strongly recommended). Call Edmonton Tourism at 1-800-463-4667 or Travel Alberta at 1-800-661-8888 or Fantasyland Hotel at 1-800-661-6454 for info.


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