Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Go To The Mall

Last time I was in Edmonton, I vowed not to set foot on the West Edmonton Mall. This time, well, it was right on my path, and I have already seen much of Edmonton's other landmarks. Back in the 1980s the West Edmonton Mall was the biggest mall in the world, and it still is Edmonton's largest attraction. The place is an absolute hell to get into on a bike, as it is surrounded by "parkades".  I managed to stash my bike in the second level of one and draped a tarp over it to disguise the saddlebags while I went in for a peek.

All roads lead to the mall
The mall is humungous, part shopping centre, part amusement park. I walked in and had my morning coffee beside a full sized replica of a galleon, next to a sea lion show. Odd, considering Alberta is a land-locked province. There are fountains galore and a sizeable midway with an indoor roller coaster. Apparently the Oilers sometimes practice on the mall's NHL-sized rink. To top it all off is an indoor lake/wave pool and beach with palm trees. Not really needing to buy anything, I had enough of the place in under two hours.

The 1980s are alve and well here 

I bought some lunch items and pedalled of in search of Edmonton's river pathway system. The North Saskatchewan River cuts a deep gouge through the city, and its steep banks form an organic green vein against the city's rigid grid street pattern. An excellent pathway system runs along this corridor, zipping under the arterial bridges. Edmontonians were in their relaxed Sunday mode, having picnics and enjoying the sunshine. I ate my lunch with a great view of the city skyline and the river.

Chirashi Sushi in the park

I went intto the MEC store to buy replacement inner tubes and stuff I had forgotten (a dirty laundry bag!). While I was in the store my phone rang and it was Stephanie who I was supposed to stay with last night. She asked me what my plans were and said that she and her husband were invited to a dinner which I was welcome to join. I accepted her offer, and had a fabulous time with great people and good food well into the late evening — a  much more valuable and real Edmonton experience than a mall full of artifice!

“Come on everybody, Let's go to the mall!”
(A parody of 1980s music, malls and Canada from "How I Met Your Mother")

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