West Edmonton Mall is a ridiculously large shopping and entertainment complex in Edmonton, Canada. When compiling this list of fun facts about Edmonton, I found there were so many about WEM that I’ve made this separate post of surprising, crazy, and weird West Edmonton Mall facts.
For even more, I’ve also got this post on 80+ fun Alberta facts!
Table of Contents
Size & General Facts about West Edmonton Mall
- West Edmonton Mall was built in 1981 and remained the largest mall in the world until 2004.
- If WEM were a country, it wouldn’t be the smallest one. It occupies 5.3 million square feet, compared to the Vatican’s 4.7 million square feet.
- WEM has the world’s largest parking lot, with 20,000+ spaces and 10,000+ overflow spaces. Yet it can still be hard to find a space at peak shopping times.
- Often described a small city of its own, the Mall’s addresses cover several postal codes.
- The Mall is located in the neighborhood of Summerlea, taking up approximately half of the neighborhood’s total area.
- There are over 800 shops and service providers in West Edmonton Mall.
- The Mall employs more than 24,000 people.
- West Edmonton Mall is still the largest mall in Canada, and is second largest in North America after the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. (The two malls are constantly expanding and competing for the title). The two ma
- The Mall is currently listed as the 27th largest in the world by leasable space, but many of the top spots go to malls with large, unused spaces.
- The Mall is the second most visited in Canada, after Eaton Centre in Toronto.
- Valued at over $1 billion, the mall is the most valuable property in Edmonton.
- The Mall is owned by the Iranian-Canadian Ghermezian family, who also own the Mall of America and American Dream, the two other largest malls in North America.
- The owners say the Mall is “inspired by the traditional urban bazaars of Persia.”
- While some facilities were temporarily closed during COVID, and hundreds of workers were temporarily laid off, most stores remained open through the pandemic.
- The Mall is visited by over 30 million people per year, making it Alberta’s #1 attraction. It receives more visitors than Disneyland and the Statue of Liberty combined.
- On July 11, 2004, the Mall suffered millions of dollars of damage in a hail storm.
- West Edmonton Mall hosted Canadian Idol auditions in 2008.
- In February 2015, the jihadist terrorist group al-Shabaab called for attacks on West Edmonton Mall.
- Locals call West Edmonton Mall “West Ed” or simply “The Mall.”
Facts about West Edmonton Mall Facilities
- Galaxyland, WEM’s indoor amusement park, used to be called Fantasyland. The park had to change its name after being sued by the Walt Disney Company. Fantasyland was already the name of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland. Fantasyland Hotel was allowed to retain its name, though.
- The Mindbender, one of four rollercoasters in Galaxyland, is the tallest indoor rollercoaster in the world and the only one to do three full loops.
- On 14 June 1986, three people died when the last car on the Mindbender derailed and crashed into a concrete pillar.
- The Mall was forced to put a plaque up for the deceased, but it is so small and inconspicuous that you won’t be able to find or read it.
- In 2022, the Mindbender closed for maintenance, but rumor has it that it will closed for good.
- After 24 years of being space-themed, Galaxyland is currently being switched over to a Hasbro theme after partnering with the major toy producer. Next decorations and rides will be related to Hasbro brands like My Little Pony, Monopoly, G.I. Joe, Nerf, Play-Doh, Battleship, and Operation.
- World Waterpark is the largest indoor waterpark in the Americas. It occasionally hosts a rave called Soundwave.
- The world record for most bungee jumps in 24 hours was set in November 2006. Peter Charney jumped 225 times.
- Deep Sea Adventure Lake is the world’s largest indoor lake. It includes a replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria ship.
- Drunk people have been known to jump into the lake from the second floor railing after visiting nearby night clubs in the mall. On December 23, 2000, one of them died after doing so.
- The mall has a chapel of its own, the West Edmonton Christian Assembly.
- The Ice Palace is a regulation-size skating rink in the Mall.
- The Mall has its own Chinatown, a New Orleans-themed strip or restaurants and bars called Bourbon Street (now rebranded as BRBNst), and European-themed Europa Boulevard.
- West Edmonton Mall has Canada‘s first Victoria’s Secret store.
- A bronze whale statue weighing thousands of pounds was recently moved to a new location in Phase 1 of the Mall.
- Other attractions in West Edmonton Mall include a shooting range, go-karts, 24-hour gym, casino, dinner theatre, radio studio, VR game centre, IMAX theatre, bowling alley, and Crystal Labyrinth.
- The Fantasyland Hotel is a theme-room hotel that was featured in Fubar 2, a comedy mockumentary about Alberta metalheads. Read our my family’s stay in the hotel here.
- Retired facilities include a Deep Sea Adventure (a submarine ride), Deep Sea Derby, a ball machine, and a laser maze.
- There also used to be a huge fire-shooting dragon on the roof of the lobby of the IMAX Theatre. You could feel the heat from them.
Facts about Animals in West Edmonton Mall
- West Edmonton Mall is licensed as a zoo. The Mall has in the past housed peacocks, sloths, a chimpanzee, blue macaws, lemurs, caimans, grizzly bears, dolphins, flamingos, grizzly bears, gibbons, and Bengal tigers.
- Animals in the West Edmonton Mall today include sea lions, African penguins, sea turtles, and a long list of other reptiles, amphibians, and sea creatures.
- There have been numerous protests and controversies related to the animals housed in the mall, especially the dolphins.
- Nearly 500 animals were once seized from an abandoned pet store in the mall.
- World Waterpark is known to have cockroach issues. It is though that the cockroaches (which normally don’t exist in Alberta) hitched a ride in on some products ordered from a tropical country.