Reason #50 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

West Edmonton Mall

By Emil Tiedemann

Eskander, Nader, Raphael, and Bahman Ghermezian first followed their father Jacob from Iran to North America in the late ‘50s, eventually settling in Edmonton by 1964, where they would transform their carpet importing business into a major real estate empire. It was that empire that would eventually take on a project that would transform our city as well. 
Galaxyland is one of the largest indoor amusement parks in the world!

When West Edmonton Mall first opened its doors on September 15, 1981, it was the largest shopping centre in the world, and remained so until 2004 (it remains the largest in North America), at 5.3 million (& growing) square feet! Worth around a billion dollars today, West Ed employs about 24,000 people, welcomes more than 32 million visitors annually, and can accommodate some 20,000 vehicles. 

It has become one of the structural icons of Canada, a place where folks from around the globe come to shop and play in its more than 800 stores and services, including some brands you won’t find anywhere else in the province. 

But, most people recognize the Mall by some of its more unique attractions, such as the indoor amusement park, waterpark, ice rink, aquarium, mini golf courses, and that giant to-scale replica of the Santa Maria ship that was used by Christopher Columbus in his first-ever voyage. 
That's the life-size replica of the famous Santa Maria ship in West Ed!

If you’re from out of town visiting for the weekend, you don’t even have to leave the grounds, because there are over 350 rooms (including about 120 themed options) available at the attached Fantasyland Hotel, not to mention plenty of restaurants, bars, a movie theatre, an Asian supermarket, a dinner theatre, an arcade, and a two-floor casino. 

And it doesn’t end there, as expansion plans will continue at least into 2018 and include a convention centre, apartments and office space, and an LRT station! #wem


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