Mall Verdict, Laugh? I thought I’d die, and a Salute To Fallen Heroes

Okay – time to check out the West Edmonton Mall to see how it measures up to the Mall of America. According to records, it is physically larger and has more stores, but that can be deceiving.

A closer look at the grandaddy of them all, the South China Mall in Dongguan, China, shows that, while it dwarfs other malls at 9.6 million sq. ft and room for 1500 stores, most of the storefronts are empty (although the amusement areas are doing well). So, does it count if it’s big and empty? Not to me. Heck, you could call any large warehousing space a mall then and try to get in the record books.  I say Nay Nay!

The West Edmonton Mall (WEM) is 5.3 million sq ft (versus Mall of America’s 4.2 million sq ft) and has 800 stores to the MOA’s 42o. So, it was my unofficial duty to check them both out and report to you all. Here’s what I found out.

MOA has four levels arranged, basically, in an ‘O’ that kind of looks like an Ohio State ‘O’:

Go Bucks!

And, in the center of the ‘O’ is a full sized amusement park:

The WEM, like the roads through Edmonton, are all over the place. It’s only two stories high, but the place covers an area six city blocks by 3 city blocks. And it goes on, and on, and on. Although it doesn’t have an amusement park in the middle, it does have:

a full-sized skating rink


a putt-putt golf course


a water park with full-sized replica of the Santa Maria


a live seal show


a friggin' wave pool

So, entertainment-wise, I gotta say the Canucks nailed it.

The mall has a lot of European flavor to it (makes sense as Canada is part of the British Commonwealth). Many stores I recognized from living and visiting in England. They also had themed avenues shooting off of the main body of stores. Such as:



and New Orleans

But the main thing is, I walked it all. Both levels. Not counting lunch, it took me an hour and 40 minutes to stroll the whole thing. It’s BIG.

So, in closing – I like the simplicity of the MOA layout. It’s nice to make the round on one level, scoot up an escalator, then do it again on the next one. I felt like I was never going to see the end of the WEM. It took a conscious effort, once I got done with one level, to go on to the second. (But I do it all for you folks – ’cause I know this is stuff you gotta know). There is a more eclectic range of stores in WEM and their themed streets are pretty darn cool.

Score one for the Canucks.

(check out additional photos in the album for day 16)


I haven’t had a lot of luck finding places to go for fun in the evenings. I love to see things and take pics, but it’s nice to sit down and let someone just entertain me!

I love baseball (Hate MLB – but that’s another story). I hoped to attend one of the minor league games with the many teams that dotted my path to Alaska. Alas, every time I pulled into a town with a team – they were on the road. So, imagine my joy to find out that the Calgary Vipers of the North American League were going to be playing the Lake County Fielders (which is owned by – wait for it – Kevin Costner!) the day I’m overnighting in Calgary.

How was the game, you ask?

Rained out.

So, I pick my droopy face up and head for the Comedy Cave, billed as Calgary’s ‘Leading Independent Comedy Club’. I was not sure that that was a real plus, but decided to give it a try. Now, remember, I almost went to improv in Minneapolis only to realize that I would have been the ONLY member of the audience (couldn’t handle the pressure – bailed out).

This time, I get there at 7:15 for an 8pm show. I wanted to eat and make sure I got a good seat. The place was very dark as I entered and was led to a seat nicely positioned close to the stage but far enough away not to become an object of abuse to a rambunctious comedian. When I was able to make out my surroundings, I counted 10 people (including myself) in a place that could seat about 150. Oh, God…

By show time, the audience was up to a massive 20 people. There were nearly as many entertainers there as customers. I quickly had a couple of LaBlatts to prepare for the show which consisted of a host (local guy), a comedy ‘mentor’ to the host (mentioned he’d been on TV six or seven times to no reaction), and the headliner, a guy named Dave Merheje.

The host made a bunch of mediocre jokes about drinking and sex. The mentor made his big debut and then went for about 30 mins skewering all the local Calgary politicians (of course, I had no idea what he was talking about), and then the headliner did AN HOUR AND A HALF OF NON-STOP weirdness that I would describe as a mixture of Paul Reiser and Richard Lewis ON CRACK. Crazy, delirious stuff that made virtually no sense. Periodically, he would collapse against the back of the stage laughing hysterically at his own jokes, take a swig of beer, then launch into another tirade.

Wow. I was exhausted at the end of the show. Final insult: cost of ticket, two beers, and three mini-burgers w/fries? $52.

There’s a reason they’re independent, I’m thinking…


By the way, the reason comedy sounded good was that I was listening to a John Pinette CD on the road. For those of you who don’t know who John is:

My wife and I saw him when he came to Columbus, OH and he was a hoot. If you get a chance, do an internet search for a video of John doing “Chinese Buffet”. Classic.


The sun peeked out for a moment on my drive out of Edmonton. I took advantage of that and pulled into Mayerthorpe, Alberta in response to a roadside sign for the “Fallen Four Memorial Park”.

The memorial was built to remember four Royal Canadian Mounted Policemen who were killed on the same day in 2005 while trying to apprehend a drug trafficker and burglar.  The memorial consists of a monument

along with a children’s park and a building that houses memorabilia from the four officers:

Peter Schiemann, Leo Johnson, Anthony Gordon & Brock Myrol

After touring the memorial, once again I am reminded of the fragility of life – even more so for those who put on a uniform every day in order for us to enjoy our work, our families, our own lives. They deserve our most sincere thanks – each and every day.


Today’s Travel:  309 miles

Total Travel To Date:  4048 miles.


One response to “Mall Verdict, Laugh? I thought I’d die, and a Salute To Fallen Heroes

  1. Go Bucks!!!!! It’s about time you showed some home team spirit !!!

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