The city of Edmonton is not the largest city in North America or even in Canada. Edmonton’s metro population of 1.3 million inhabitants is small compared to Montreal’s 4.09 million. However, the city is notable for being the provincial capital as well as home to North America’s largest mall, the West Edmonton Mall. The mall is visited by over 32 million people annually and over 90,000 shoppers each day. West Edmonton Mall Properties Inc owns the mall, which was opened in 1981.
West Edmonton Mall is huge covering an area of about 5.3 million square feet, and the mall is not only the largest in Canada but is also North America’s largest mall. The massive mall is made up of over 800 stores as well as more than 100 dining locations. West Edmonton Mall also boasts of having a huge parking area with a capacity of more than 20,000 vehicles.
While the mall does not appear in the list of the world’s ten largest malls, it was once unrivaled in size globally before the construction of mammoth malls in the Middle East and the Far East since the start of the 21st century. The mall held the title for the world’s largest mall since its construction until 2004. Currently, the mall ranks as the world’s 23rd biggest mall. The mall also held the record of having the largest indoor waterpark in both North and South America.
The mall’s immense size does not only eclipse any other mall in Edmonton but also by value with the West Edmonton Mall being valued at over $1.3 billion, more expensive than any other property in the city.
The mall is situated in an easily accessible part of Edmonton, and shoppers can use numerous ways to reach the mall. The mall has a huge transit center known as the West Edmonton Mall Transit Center which is the first place of call when visiting the mall. Having a total of 13 bus bays, the transit center is perfect for visitors traveling via public transport and receives buses which use both the St. Albert Transit and the Edmonton Transit System. Additionally, the transit center is built in a way that it allows for disabling access. However, the transit system lacks public washrooms. To improve the experience visitors have while at the transit center, the mall spent an estimated $3 million to upgrade existing facilities and also add new lighting and sidewalks.
Security has always been a priority to the mall’s management since the mall’s opening. However, with new security threats emerging in the 21st century, security measures have been heightened all over the mall. The reality of the security threats faced by the mall was seen in 2015 when a notorious terrorist group, Al-Shabaab called for the attacking of the mall. While the attacks never happened, the mall’s security apparatus tightened the mall’s security in response to the threats such as installing more surveillance equipment as well as conducting several mock lockdowns at the West Edmonton Mall.