Shop and awe: Looking back 40 years to the opening of West Edmonton Mall
WEM event one of dozens of Edmonton ribbon-cuttings to remember
West Edmonton Mall turned 40 this week.
The opening-day ribbon was snipped on Sept. 15, 1981, by Edmonton Mayor Cecil Purves.
Purves was flanked by Nader and Eskander Ghermezian, two members of the local family whose company, the Triple Five Group, still owns the property four decades later.
Our Edmonton, The Ribbon Cutting Edition, is on Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday at noon and 11 a.m. Monday on CBC-TV and CBC GEM.
"It's a huge milestone for the mall," says Matthew Dutczak, a WEM fan and historian who operates the YouTube channel Best Edmonton Mall.
"For me, it just kind of puts an exclamation point on all those great memories I had growing up and how much it meant to me going to the mall."
Dutczak told Edmonton AM host Mark Connolly he's now reliving those memories with his kids at the mall but he believes locals take the middle-aged landmark for granted.
Everyone who has ever visited the mall has memories, from wedding proposals at the Fantasyland Hotel to Halloween costume competitions, to getting lost as children in the vast space and, of course, the 1986 Mindbender roller coaster accident that killed three people and injured 20 others.
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The WEM ribbon isn't the only opening of old we've dug out of the CBC Edmonton archive vault.