Love it or hate it, West Edmonton Mall is one of the main tourist attractions in the city and a huge driver of the local economy.
The mall’s promotional budget for 2002 exceeds $3.2 million and more than doubles the $1.4 million the City of Edmonton is spending on tourism promotion this year.
Opened in 1981 and currently documented as the world’s largest shopping centre, WEM is known as a place to eat your lunch (with more than 110 establishments), then lose it (on the 14-storey Mindbender rollercoaster).
With more than 800 stores and services, it’s a place to earn money (the mall reports 23,500 full- and part-time employment opportunities) and spend it. According to the 2001 self-funded Economic Impacts of West Edmonton Mall survey prepared by Econometric Research Limited, $8.9 billion was spent by visitors to WEM from 1986 to 2000.