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  • Fort Edmonton ParkFort Edmonton Park Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Edmonton Park is a living history park in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and named after the first enduring European outpost in the region of modern day Edmonton, and is the biggest living history museum in the country. It has original and rebuilt historical structures that represent the history of the city, that includes the post-horse aboriginals and has costumed historical interpreters in the summer months. The idea behind the park started way back in 1915, when the remains of the old fort were demolished, although there were many town's people that opposed it wanting to cherish old buildings for their heritage value. After WWII, renewed interest again arose, and it wasn't until 1969, that the park started construction under the Fort Edmonton Foundation. Their master plans of 1968, believed that a park with a good cross-section of the area's history, back to its distant geological past, to those present attributes and even a prophesy area about the city's future. The first plan thought that the process would be done in ten phases, but by 1987, they realized that it's development was quite different from the 1968 plans. They decided to focus on the four area already done and amended the plans to reflect those changes. The fort opened first, in 1974, and accessed by road going directly into it. Next was the 1885 Street that opened in the late 1970s, then the 1905 Street in the early 1980s and finally the 1920 Street in the start of the 1990s. They have a working steam engine train that brings visitors from the park's entrance and has done so since the opening in 1977. Every street is a work in progress, with the plans calling for more additions, mostly to the 1920 Street. By 2008, the park still had four areas, spread across 158 acres, with the fort, the 1885 Street, the 1905 Street and the 1920 Street, with the steam engine train taking them from the entrance to the fort that is located at the other end, and then walking back through the various sections. Besides the train, there are vintage autos, horse buggies and streetcars to help you get around or just to ride and enjoy. The train is free, as is the streetcar, but the horse drawn buggies charge a fee; with the autos rate up to the discretion of the driver.  Some of the more prominent venues featured inside the fort include a replicated York boat, a boat fashioned after a canoe, but able to carry much more weight and better stability in rough waters; the Rowand House, which was one of the biggest houses in the region of western Canada with four levels; the Mens' Quarters that was set up to house the laborers that worked for the Hudson Bay Company; the clerks' quarters that housed the educated clerks; the Indian House/Trade Store, where all the trading was done; and the aboriginal camp that lay outside the post.  In the 1885 Street, which is the settlement era from 1871 to 1891, contains many noteworthy items of its own that include the covered wagon, the Jasper House Hotel, McDougall Methodist Church, Northwest Mounted Police Outpost and the Ottewell Homestead. The 1905 Street brings us to the era of Edmonton as a young city and some of the wonderful items located here include the tent city, Rutherford House and streetcar. The 1920 Street is the metropolitan period from 1914 to 1929, and contains the Blatchford Field Air Hangar, Hotel Selkirk, Mellon Farm, Al-Rashid Mosque and the 1920 midway and exhibition area.  

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  • West Edmonton MallWest Edmonton Mall Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    The West Edmonton Mall (WEM) found in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the biggest shopping mall in North America and the fifth biggest in the world. It was started by the Ghermezian Brothers in 1959, who had immigrated here from Iran. From 1981 until 2004, it was the world's biggest mall and covers more than 6 million square feet and cost $1.2 billion to build it. Inside you will find more than 800 stores, services and parking. There are over 23,000 people employed here and over 28 million visitors come here each year; with an average daily amount of 60,000 to 150,000. Its present value is $926 million and opened in 1981. Since that day, it has expanded three times, with phase II opening in 1983, phase III opening in 1985 and phase V in 1999. When opened it was the biggest in the world and put in the Guiness World Records. There is a full sized amusement park inside that was called Fantasyland until Disney made a stink and then renamed Galaxyland. There is also a waterpark, called World Waterpark, constructed in 1985, and believed to be the biggest indoor waterpark in the world; spanning 4.9 acres and housing the world's biggest wave pool. The mall also boasts of an indoor lake that contains salt water with four sea lions. The Ice Palace is a scaled down replica of a National Hockey League ice rink found in the center of the mall and an 18 hole miniature golf course called Professor WEM's Adventure Golf. There are four movie complexes, a recreation center with bowling alley, pool hall, arcade, music stage and restaurant. Other exciting attractions include the Fantasyland Hotel, a group of ring-tailed lemurs and 2 sloths, an indoor shooting range, large scale replica of the Santa Maria, one of the ships that sailed with Christopher Columbus, a petting zoo, nightclub called the Empire Ballroom, skate shop with indoor skating rink, internet cafe, inter-denominational chapel, 4 radio stations, Bourbon Street area, Europea Boulevard, Chinatown and more coming in the future. If you ever thought that you couldn't find a mall big enough to keep you and your family busy for more than a day, here is the ultimate, and it will positively take you more than one day to peruse and enjoy.  

January 11, 2011