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Thread: Aug. 18, 1955: Edmontonís first mall pulls traffic in ó and away from downtown

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    Default Aug. 18, 1955: Edmontonís first mall pulls traffic in ó and away from downtown

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/...dmontonjournal

    Aug. 18, 1955: Edmontonís first mall pulls traffic in ó and away from downtown

    EDMONTON - Shoppers flocked to a new mecca when Westmount Shoppersí Park, the first shopping mall in Edmonton and Alberta, opened its doors.

    ďThereís nothing in Eastern Canada to compare with this,Ē proclaimed retailer W.C. Woodward, whose store, along with Stanley Kresgeís, would anchor the 40-store shopping centre. In fact, the only thing remotely like Westmount in North America was Highland Park Village in Dallas, Texas, built in 1931.

    A group of American financiers pitched the proposal to city council in Oct. 1952 asking for six city blocks between 111th and 114th Avenues and 133rd and 135th Streets to be rezoned from agricultural to business use. The first phase of the $3-million structure was 87,000 square feet.

    Until then, downtown had been the only shopping game in town with The Bay, Woodwardís and Eatonís, as well as dozens of small, independent stores. Downtown also was the cityís entertainment destination with movie houses, restaurants and bars. But a lack of parking had become a real headache

    One big thing that made Westmount so appealing was its 3,000 free parking spaces.

    Westmount opened the floodgates and more shopping developments followed, pulling more away from the downtown: Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre 1960; Meadowlark Shopping Centre in 1964 when the Town of Jasper Place amalgamated with the city; Northgate Shopping Centre, 1965; Capilano Mall, 1967; Southgate Shopping Centre 1970; Londonderry Mall 1972; North Down Centre 1975; Kingsway 1976; West Edmonton Mall 1981 ó the largest mall in North America and the 12th largest in the world; and Mill Woods Town Centre 1988.
    ďYou have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.Ē - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    So when will there be plenty of free parking downtown and return of the shops to reverse this 50 yr. trend?

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    Free parking is not the solution.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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    although it could help the key is lrt expansion, and making dt the place to see and be seen once again. that is slowly happening. one step at a time.

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    I believe LRT expansion is a major key. I think downtown living is an even bigger key. The many condos coming up is a start but what would be wrong with 25 or 30 high rise apartment buildings with reasonable rents and large parkades and many shops at street and second levels. Also a free parking WEM style parkade with 25,000 spaces for visitors to downtown wouldn't hurt as well as a couple of freeways to downtown ( the automobile is here to stay people). Where people live other shops, major stores and eateries big and small quickly follow as can be seen in the new burbs.

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    Downtown needs more people living and work in the same area, this will work much better for downtown.

    I remember an article in the Journal paper says there is nothing for people to see in downtown , so that's a big problem right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Also a free parking WEM style parkade with 25,000 spaces for visitors to downtown wouldn't hurt as well as a couple of freeways to downtown ( the automobile is here to stay people).

    I don't even know where to start with this lol!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Franky Knuckles View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Also a free parking WEM style parkade with 25,000 spaces for visitors to downtown wouldn't hurt as well as a couple of freeways to downtown ( the automobile is here to stay people).

    I don't even know where to start with this lol!!!!!
    Lets start with.. Cars do not equal Vibrancy.. if they did we would all be resorting to fistacuffs to get to South Edmonton Common..
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Franky Knuckles View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Also a free parking WEM style parkade with 25,000 spaces for visitors to downtown wouldn't hurt as well as a couple of freeways to downtown ( the automobile is here to stay people).

    I don't even know where to start with this lol!!!!!
    Lets start with.. Cars do not equal Vibrancy.. if they did we would all be resorting to fistacuffs to get to South Edmonton Common..
    Apparently you don't go very often, or you'd realize that this is pretty much occurring on a daily basis.

  10. #10

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    Go DT. It's more fun than SEC, or Westmount, or even WEM.

    (My God, did I just say that? But something's happened, even since 2010. It's a different and better place.)

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AShetsen View Post
    Go DT. It's more fun than SEC, or Westmount, or even WEM.

    (My God, did I just say that? But something's happened, even since 2010. It's a different and better place.)
    I'm thinking your account has been compromised, I'm recommending the mods to suspend your account until your identity can be proven.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    I believe LRT expansion is a major key. I think downtown living is an even bigger key. The many condos coming up is a start but what would be wrong with 25 or 30 high rise apartment buildings with reasonable rents and large parkades and many shops at street and second levels. Also a free parking WEM style parkade with 25,000 spaces for visitors to downtown wouldn't hurt as well as a couple of freeways to downtown ( the automobile is here to stay people). Where people live other shops, major stores and eateries big and small quickly follow as can be seen in the new burbs.
    Free parking is not the solution... and there is after 6pm.

    Good access is important as is more people living downtown and LRT expansion.
    www.decl.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    I'm thinking your account has been compromised, I'm recommending the mods to suspend your account until your identity can be proven.
    I can't and won't prove anything. But I'm serious.

    Maybe it's just the summer months downtown, who knows?

    But DT's been more lively of late, more quirky and changing than WEM. SEC is just a temple to sending money, which I don't have all that much of.

    Westmount in 2013 is not the Westmount of 1955 -- or even of 1986 for that matter. I work not too far away since my latest transfer, and every time I've gone in recently I've realized it's just not my cup of tea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Franky Knuckles View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Also a free parking WEM style parkade with 25,000 spaces for visitors to downtown wouldn't hurt as well as a couple of freeways to downtown ( the automobile is here to stay people).

    I don't even know where to start with this lol!!!!!
    Lets start with.. Cars do not equal Vibrancy.. if they did we would all be resorting to fistacuffs to get to South Edmonton Common..
    Apparently you don't go very often, or you'd realize that this is pretty much occurring on a daily basis.
    That's fisticuffs over parking and to get out of the dam place.
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

  15. #15

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    Obviously you haven't tried driving to it, or around it. It's a rage inducing event just getting into the bloody place, especially on the weekend.
    That place has to have some of the worst driving exhibits I've ever had the displeasure of witnessing, and an abnormal amount of "new driver" signs on the windows. You know the "new driver" signs that look like they quite well have been there for 6 months or year or two even.... Top that off with the extreme opposites driving the jacked up F-150, get off my road, diesel exhaust spewing "muuhhhhhhh trukkkkkkkkk hyuk hyuk hyuk" losers that think they own piece of road you are on...

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    ^ are you feeling ok? lol
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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    Quote Originally Posted by AShetsen View Post
    But DT's been more lively of late, more quirky and changing than WEM. SEC is just a temple to sending money, which I don't have all that much of.
    Probably the most lucid comment I've seen.

    But yes, that pretty much hits the nail on the head. Going to the temples of consumerism is a rather homogeneous experience. Walking outside and seeing a sea of cars or a parking landscape is not very stimulating. The downtown is evolving, becoming less static (or more bluntly less dead) and there is so much more to come. At the risk of being overly optimistic, a renaissance is in the wind.
    Did my dog just fall into a pothole???

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    Quote Originally Posted by AShetsen View Post
    Go DT. It's more fun than SEC, or Westmount, or even WEM.

    (My God, did I just say that? But something's happened, even since 2010. It's a different and better place.)

    I agree.
    Onward and upward

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Franky Knuckles View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Also a free parking WEM style parkade with 25,000 spaces for visitors to downtown wouldn't hurt as well as a couple of freeways to downtown ( the automobile is here to stay people).

    I don't even know where to start with this lol!!!!!
    Lets start with.. Cars do not equal Vibrancy.. if they did we would all be resorting to fistacuffs to get to South Edmonton Common..
    Apparently you don't go very often, or you'd realize that this is pretty much occurring on a daily basis.
    That's fisticuffs over parking and to get out of the dam place.
    As sadly funny as this pissing contest is...


    Vibrancy is in the eyes of the beholder. Cars do equal vibrancy...in the right setting. Don't let your "anyone who is in a car is dead from the neck up" bias fool you...the car is here to stay.

    ...and no...it is fisticuffs to get into that darn place. That development is a zoo at the best of times. Don't let its poor planning fool you...it puts through a ton of turn daily...turn numbers that would make DT extremely envious...

    Downtown is changing...and yes the free parking motif still holds...but if you think that the revenue generated and turn rates overall by DT merchants is the same as SEC, WEM, Southgate etc...think again. I am shopping more and more downtown and have recently moved back downtown...but the reality holds...if I want the bloody inventory selection I need (let alone having it in stock in the first place), I am in the West End or South Side...aka...WEM or SEC/Southgate. Yesterday's office set shopping debacle proved it yet again....shop at DT store...go to Whitemud Crossing to get the inventory. Yup.....real convenient...
    Onward and upward

  20. #20

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    Some interesting history of malls no longer in their glory here...

    BBC - Culture - The death of the US shopping mall

    "The shopping mall had long lost its 1950s atmosphere of hedonistic, all-American innocence. And, as many became redundant, so they were abandoned like giant refuse thrown from even bigger automobiles. And, because they had been built on an increasingly ambitious scale and are essentially giant boxes with vast rooms inside shot through with miles of mechanical and electrical services, these were never going to be easy structures to convert to new uses, even though many Americans have suggested they become giant leisure centres: bowling alleys, funfairs and casinos. This is not such a bad idea: the demolition of such huge buildings could only appear to be a case of conspicuous consumption and wastefulness on a truly titanic scale. ..."

    http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/201...ping-mall-dead

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    You may hate it, but true facts:

    Fastest growing demographic? Senior Citizens

    Fave place for fastest growing demographic to shop/socialize/exercise? Malls

    Could give many more facts. Okay, another - place developers see growing interest in assisted living - malls.

    So, hope as you will, and I hate em myself, but malls aren`t going away. Shockingly, for the health and social well-being of seniors, malls may well be a good thing.
    ... gobsmacked

  22. #22

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    Inspired by this thread: http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/showt...858#post788858 I dug out a Woodward's brochure for their opening. It's too long for my scanner which I can't really get to right now anyway but here's a quickie couple snaps from my phone:




    I feel in no way entitled to your opinion...

  23. #23

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    Very cool! Thanks for posting it. I've long thought that the original mall was much nicer than any of the iterations that followed.

    I can't find any decent old photos online.

  24. #24

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    What a find.
    Let's make Edmonton better.

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