West Edmonton Mall, Phase I. Edmonton, Alberta. August 2013.
West Edmonton Mall, or West Ed, as us locals call it, is the number one tourist destination in all of Alberta. The mall was built in four phases, with the first opening in 1981 (pictured). Phase II opened in 1983, Phase III in 1985, and Phase IV in 1999. From the completion of Phase III in 1985 until 2004, West Ed was the world’s largest shopping mall.
Today it sits as a testament to 1980s-era Americana in Canada. The oddly shaped building in the background with logos of various mall businesses is Galaxyland, also apart of Phase I. It is an indoor amusement park that hosts the world’s largest indoor roller coaster, the Mind Bender.
Due to the fact that the mall was built in four phases, design, especially outside, is very mishmashed. On one end you have concrete, the other stucco. The interior until recently also had that aforementioned 1980s feel. Even with that, due to the mammoth size and desirable location, the mall remained lucrative and busy. At least now they’re updating the interior, probably due to increased competition from the newly renovated Southgate Centre for first-in-the-city retailers.