A look at West Edmonton Mall- Visit Jan 2014

The West Edmonton mall

West Edmonton Mall from Sky ( sorry not my pic)
West Edmonton Mall from Sky ( sorry not my pic)

I trust you got to see the blog for the 10th. I hear what your saying. 2 Blogs within a relatively short period  “unbelievable”.  What can I say I’m dedicated. Amanda and I had a trip to West Edmonton Mall, once the largest all under one roof, huge. I still believe it’s still the largest in North America. Lets take a break I’ll check the stats…. I’m back now we can write with authority . It IS the largest in North America.

Whilst it was the biggest when it opened in 1981 and remained the largest until 2004, It now stands about 13th, tied with Dubai, although Dubai is the largest in the world by total area. They use 2 types of measurement. Total area and “Gross Leaseable area”. To give you a comparison, currently the “New South China Mall “, largest in the world, ( in China, in case you didn’t catch on), has a Gross Leaseable Area of 659,612 sqm with a total area of 892,000 sqm.  WEM, as we like to call it, has 350,000 sqm, same as Dubai, however WEM total area 493,000 sqm with Dubai total area of 1,124,000 sqm.

Whilst sitting at tie 13th, it still has a few number ones.

1) Worlds largest indoor amusement  park. 2) Worlds largest indoor lake. 3) worlds largest indoor wave pool. (this is different to the lake) 4) Worlds largest indoor triple loop rollercoaster. 5) Worlds largest car park.

It gets about 30 million visitors a year and is the equivalent of 48 city blocks with about 800 stores.

I tried to see if Centro mall in Goulburn rated. I couldn’t even see “Australia” in the top 40, let alone Centro. Ah well enough of the history lesson. Visiting it was pretty mind blowing, and to think it is only about half an hour drive from where we live.

A picture of the wave pool. I'd like to say I took this one, but alas.
A picture of the wave pool. I’d like to say I took this one, but alas.
This is my second car. Only about 365K, cheap in any man's eyes.
This is my second car. Only about 365K, cheap in any man’s eyes.
The Santa Maria. They hire this out for parties
The Santa Maria. They hire this out for parties

The  ship is a full scale repluc, replik,  copy of the Santa Maria, which was Christopher      Columbus’s flag ship on his first  journey across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. ( gee I am a wealth of information, some of you thought my brain would go to mush over this next 12 months)

This is the indoor wave pool and slide. Largest in the world.
This is the indoor wave pool and slide. Largest in the world.(yes I took this one)sat 11 jan edmonton mall trip (22)


Bridge over lake in WEM
Bridge over lake in WEM

We watched a seal show and had lunch in one of the 2 large food courts. It has a number of restaurants as well.

It’s funny talking with locals, whom consider there are better malls to shop at .

sat 11 jan edmonton mall trip (18) Time for a break, this shopping thing sure wears you out.

Time for a break, this shopping thing sure wears you out.
A view of the ship from the upper level.
A view of the ship from the upper level.

Just to wander about and see the other things that form part of the mall is pretty awesome. The large cinema complex, the wave pool, Galaxy land ( I found out we could have had cheap rides as we are over 50, bother !! ), the high ropes course, the flying fox that runs over the wave pool, the ice skating rink, the large lake and the ship, aquarium and seal show (of course there is shopping, if that takes your fancy).

Overall worth the trip. We will go back, especially when the kids visit.

Catch ya.

Hello Again 10th Feb

Hi There Bloggers and Bloggets (another great word, feel free to use it)

I have been a bit slow on the old up-dates, but I have labelled hundreds and hundreds of photos.

In the last update I was talking about the Superstore. I couldn’t just leave it at that.

Bulk goods canadiona super store 25th Jan (1)

You name it and you could probably buy it in bulk at the superstore.
You name it and you could probably buy it in bulk at the superstore.

Bulk goods canadiona super store 25th Jan (5)

I found a breakfast cereal called “Holy Crap”. I kid you not. I’ll let you know how it works out.

I always laugh when, in Australia, you see Easter eggs or Hot Cross buns on display basically after Boxing day. Not here, it’s valentines day. This is pitched to every age group and for the most part all types of relationships. Kids as young as 6 can purchase boxes of cards with various characters like Superman, The Hulk, Hello Kitty, Barby (there were heaps). They have about 30 cards and envelopes to a box. You can purchase little mail boxes , that even have the little flag on the side which can go up to show you have mail. “How Cute”. Of Course Amanda bought a little post box for her desk at school. You can purchase all sorts of cards ” To my Grandson/Granddaughter on “Valentines day” . There were niece, nephew , father , son, and so on absolutely huge (” To my Son on Valentines day, love Dad” not sure it quite works for me.. I guess it’s what you grow up with) .

There are whole sections devoted to Valentines day, with cutters, chocolates,patty papers, fluffy toys for kids and adults, decorations and multitudes of cakes.. I guess it beats having the shelves full of Easter eggs when we still have Christmas decorations up.

Here is Targets’ effort

Lovetacular, some marketing guru got paid for that....
“Lovetacular”,( and I thought some of my words were ridiculous)  some marketing guru got paid big bucks for that……

My first Ice  Hockey game was  with Amanda’s class. I got to ride on a “Yellow School Bus” just like you see in the movies.  I was a parent helper… Yes I was… We watched a game from one of the junior leagues. LA Junior Kings versus Notre Dame Hounds. They were the older teenagers. These games can be better than some of the major league games as there were “Scouts” out watching for some kids to sign up. This means that the players  really push themselves. There was a lot of crashing and crunching and yes one or two fights. I have seen the odd movie ( The mighty Ducks, lame I know, but I did enjoy the movie/s) and parts  of a game on Fox sports, however you cant beat the real thing.012214_0704_21stJan19.jpg

A junior league hockey game
A junior league hockey game

Following the game we caught up with other exchange teachers from Australia, and some past Canadian exchange teachers. Getting to the venue.. well I never. We bought a Garmin map thinghy, it doesn’t deserve to be called a GPS. This unit knows as much about Edmonton as I do Grrrrr. I asked for directions into town. It told me to take a left onto “Sir Winston Churchill Avenue”. I was on an overpass for goodness sake. The avenue was 10 meters below me. Maybe it thought I was in a hover car.

We did get there, however missed our dinner and settled for some Maccas. Oh well can’t have it all our own way.

Me filling up for the first time . At .94 cents per litre we can afford to do some travelling.
Me filling up for the first time . At .94 cents per litre we can afford to do some travelling.

Catch up sooner this time. I promise.

au revior ( who’s a clever boy).

21st Jan Post 1

Hi there, I guess you thought I dropped off the face of the earth. I have been quite busy over the last couple of weeks, with various activities. Most notable was the car.

Oh yes, we now have a vehicle. After viewing a few and having them checked out by a mechanic (Yes a must), we finally obtained a car. As you can see it is black. Yes I said black.

Neither Amanda or I have considered ourselves black car people as we have almost always had white cars, however she is a real beaut. (Love the car as well)


She is a 2007 Mazda CX7 with 124Ks on the clock. Her name is Maz (funny that, you can tell there has been a considerable thought process). None the less she has a sun roof, heated leather seats (very nice), remote keyless entry and remote start. (another unique feature. I can start the car whilst still in the shops so the car is all warmed up before I get in. Who knew?) I need to get used to (among other things) the fact that you carry this thing like a fat credit card, and you just turn a knob and the car goes. It has a lost feature, which when you touch on the card like thinghy (technical term) it makes the horn go off and off and off and so on. I have worked out how to make it go, not how to make it stop. It will be handy at West Edmonton Mall , which must have about 27,000 car parks.

For those who have noticed in the picture, that is not goober hanging out of the nose of the car. That is the block heater We can plug the car in overnight or in a lot of carparks so your block don’t freeze. Or at very least it keeps the oil becoming like molasses.

We are pleased to have “Maz”. The little white sonic we have been driving did not cope with the sudden change in the weather. We have had an unseasonal amount of snow for the first month of winter. The last week has been unseasonably warm, even getting into to double digits. This has turned most streets into “Slushies”. Last week I got bogged a number of times. It took me 1 and a half hours to travel 200 metres. I could not get out of my street. I was calling AMA (like NRMA only with different letters) when people helping another car a little further up the street offered to help me. I had to reverse all the way home. Not to mention Amanda had to walk home.

Knowing we were going to pick up the car in the next 2 days, I took Amanda to school and stayed out all day, as I could not afford to get stuck again. We are fortunate that the car yard does not close until 9.00pm. In Canada you must purchase the plate and the insurance before you can pick up your car. So we had to purchase the car, get the insurance, get a registration plate and then go back and get the car. The plate remains with us. When you get your insurance you get the equivalent of our green slip as part of your overall insurance. It is still compulsory. The actual registration was only about $115, which included a portion because it was our first “Alberta” registration. Lucky for us the registration place was open till 7.00pm.

Getting our insurance was a bit stressful. As we were advised, we obtained our driving history, our insurance history and a copy of our insurance policy, which is in joint names. As GIO had not put Amanda’s name in the letter (even though the policy was quite clearly in joint names) the insurance companies would not accept the letter. I rang GIO back in Aust, and to cut a long story short it took 4 days and over 3 and a half hours on the phone. The difference in our premium was about 2K less with the letter, so all good.

After getting our insurance we went across the hall to a registration office. They ask you for some interesting questions. Amanda had to provide her hair colour (she said brown, and the lady asked if that was her natural colour), height, eye colour and weight. It was a public area with a few people around. You are trying not to be too loud. How embarrassing…

There is a lot to get used to, outside of snow, ice, driving and the fact that most of the time the lanes are hidden under snow. There is the false sense of security when you see the glorious sunshine and race out only to freeze your tail off. In Australia sun = warm in Canada sun = freeze your butt off. (well in winter anyway.)

We have a few supermarkets quite close to us. There is Save on Foods, Safeway, Sobeys and The Canadian Superstore. I like the Superstore. Sorry I forgot to say Target. Yes we have Target like at home, except ours sells groceries as well, not to mention that every supermarket (including Target has a Pharmacy in it and a Starbucks. (I can’t imagine why I ever come home).

Anyway back to the Superstore. The variety is unbelievable. They sell the usual packaged stuff, however they have a huge section where you can buy everything in bulk. Pasta’s, cooking chocolate, all variety of nuts and seeds. They have powdered cordials (but nothing is called cordial), sugar, flour and of course all the lollies, did I mention the lollies… J. If you can think of a dry good, chances are you can buy it by the kilo or pound. Yes, that gets confusing, this is a metric country but a lot of things are still sold by the imperial measure and in both English and French, no less.

I am trying to build a snow kangaroo in the front yard for Australia Day. After Amanda and I went for a walk we returned to find this sign on our “work in progress”. I was told Canadians were friendly and helpful, you be the judge. We’ve discovered our Canadian neighbour Tom has a wicked Australian sense of humour!

1st January

21st January
21st January

These two pictures shows what a difference 3 weeks makes. The first picture was taken 1st Jan and the 2nd taken on the 21st. The pile of snow in the front of the 2nd photo will be a snow Kangaroo (eventually).The snow here is too light and fluffy to make a snowman. We have to pile it up and let it set, or add water to make it wet! Snow in January is dry, powder snow. Snow in March is wet, snowman snow.

The next 2 same dates

Compare 1st and 21st of January

012214_0626_21stJan5.jpgCompare 1st and 21st of January

Who needs a Fridge to chill the wine. :)
Who needs a Fridge to chill the wine. 🙂

The next few pics are from Amanda’s School.

The mural near Amanda's Classroom
The mural near Amanda’s Classroom
Someone forgot to tell the kids that soccer is supposed to be a non-contact sport .That's Amanda on the bottom of the Tackle
Someone forgot to tell the kids that soccer is supposed to be a non-contact sport .That’s Amanda on the bottom of the tackle.
The playground with a light dusting of, you guessed it :snow"
The playground with a light dusting of, you guessed it :snow”
They have the cute yellow busses.
They have the cute yellow busses.

school tues 7th jan 14 (2)

Yes it was that Cold outside....
Yes it was that Cold outside….

I have already had a few goes at posting the Next Blog, I have messed up a couple. So I will break it down. This may mean I may be out of sync with dates, but what’s a few messed  dates between friends. Bottom line I won’t get any posts done. At this rate I will have it worked out by December 2014… Where is a Technobob ( not sure if that’s a word but like an earlier one I am going to claim it and use it) when you need one. Mitchell (our son) is coming in December, he is a Tecnobob, but I doooo hope I have it under control before then.

the Journey continues

me working..I will be fit.
me working..I will be fit.


I had typed an updated blog page , however it has disappeared. Not sure where, may even show up in the future….

31st Jan new Years Eve.

Amanda and I had decided to walk into town. The town was in one direction and a car hire place the other. It was only about -18…The lower end of town is quite close. We were hoping for a coffee,however the coffee shop had closed for new years eve. We decided to walk back in the other direction looking for the car hire place. After a while and a couple of “where the heck are we moments” we got down to the main road and traversed our way across. It is hard sometimes to see where the road ends and the footpath begins.

We ventured into a gas station (yes I am learning the lingo). A young girl was serving behind the counter aand we asked about the location of the car hire place. She was not sure and offered to Google it. She located the place, which was only about 250 meters up the road, and rang them. We offered to buy her coffee for assisting us, she said she was allowed to make herself coffee from the machines. Amanda offered to watch the shop,if she wanted to go to the ladies room as we overheard her saying she wished she had gone a little earlier before it got busy. She said yes. A man came in and Amanda said to him that the girl would only be a moment. Amanda advised that we would not be much help as we couldn’t even work the coffee machine. The girl returned and the man told her we said he could have everything at half price. After we all had a laugh he left  and we finally worked the coffee machine and went to pay our bill. The girl advised that the man had paid for our coffees. The people are really friendly.

We got our car, local Maccas (don’t ask for a large drink) and some local shopping and headed back home as it gets dark about 4.30 and we needed to shovel the footpath.

Again an element of kindness saw our path shovelled. Our neighbours Tom & Less had done it for us. They came out to say hello and invited us in for a coffee. This was about 5ish New years eve. We left at about 12.30,having seen the local fireworks through the warmth of their front window. They are a lovely couple.

So far our experiences of the people of Canada is great. People love hearing us talk. It’s funny as I don’t consider we have accents, or at very least nothing special.

I am nervous about driving as I need to cope with the left had drive and the snow, which has been very scary. I almost bogged a couple of times……

So far so the experience has been fantastic, even though I spent nearly two hours on shovelling today. No need for a Gym.

Yesterday I thought I would go outside, without gloves to deal with that fluffy white stuff,as the sun was out and it looked beautiful. Lasted 10 mins. Fingers froze. Amanda came out with the gloves. “wont make that mistake again”. Ok Bloggers catch up soon…..

Ps. Special thanks to Carol & Bron who are assisting our New ozzie family.
I am hoping the greater Aussie Family are as friendly to Thom, Maria and family as we are experiencing.

This is it....
This is it….
On the plane at last
On the plane at last
Landed at Edmonton
Landed at Edmonton
From our bedroom window....
From our bedroom window….
Amanda on our front steps.. don't slip
Amanda on our front steps.. don’t slip
In case you cant see it. White hire car in the driveway.
In case you cant see it. White hire car in the driveway.
Our street. It is there somewhere. the foreground trench is our foot path
Our street. It is there somewhere. the foreground trench is our foot path
Our home for the next year..love it
Our home for the next year..love it
our backyard from the back deck. the hump is a barbyQ,during summer
our backyard from the back deck. the hump is a barbyQ,during summer
Give me a break, where does the road stop and the sidewalk begin..
Give me a break, where does the road stop and the sidewalk begin..

Wow, finally here….The last four days have been a blur. A total of 12 hours sleep over the four days and 5 of them were on the plane over… There is being prepared and feeling that you are prepared. They are not the same thing. Its a bit like climbing Everest there is  a lot of work and long tiring days, however the summit is something to be hold. I appreciate that most will not feel sorry for us, imagine what we will experience over the next year. We are appreciative of the assistance given by various people. The people I work with who have taken on things and will manage things. A special thanks. The people at Amanda’s work who have and will assist  especially in the transition to the School for Thom. The friends who will assist Thom, Maria and the girls in making their stay a great one. A very special thanks to Steff,Peta & Mitch. I cant see us being here without them assisting us.

We did an all nighter on the Sunday night and was still putting a few last things in and trying to keep under 23 kgs in each of the suitcases. We were a bit dozy on the train. My Mother in law calling to make sure we did not sleep through the train stop.

We did make it and now the real journey now begins.

Being as tired as we were enabled us to get some sleep. I managed about 5 hours plus, which is sometimes more sleep than I get on a normal night.

The flight into Edmonton was amazing the blanket of white was spectacular. It was only -22, almost summer….. :), we were expecting about -31.

We were met by Thom and Amanda’s school sponsor Chris.

We have a distinct difference to most of the exchangees. We were able to spend a little time with our opposite families.

Thom, Maria, Amelie & Natalie are a really delightful family. They have a lovely home, one which we will be hours for the next year. They were hospitable and we shared a meal together before they left us in the quiet of gently falling snow. It is hard to get used to the fact that the outside is extreme cold, with the home pleasant enough to be in very light clothing. The view from the front window is a postcard…. stay tuned

Working through lists

As we get closer to “C” day, no not Christmas, although we have that to work to as well, Canada day, the lists are getting longer not shorter. The only thing getting shorter is the time.

We are sorting through things like phones, electricity, gas & internet. these are now set up for the family soon to call Australia home. We have been watching the local temps in Canada, around -30. this will be a vast contrast to the plus 30 we have been experiencing. I guess the swimmers will be sitting at the bottom of the suitcase for a few months.

I officially finished work today, I say officially as there is still a weeks’ work to do. We have still some final things around the house before we will feel comfortable.
Amanda collected some Australiana stuff, we might need a suitcase just for these things.
Amanda has designed our business cards. Pretty good. She has already started handing them out.
One thing I would do next time is set up the blog and then do the cards so we could put the blog address.

We did have to change our blog address. Our original was coopersexchange.wordpress.com.. It was not until our son, who was going to help with the final set up started laughing. I don’t think I have to elaborate any further other than to say think about your blog name and how words run together. fortunately wordpress enabled us to change the blog address. Thank goodness.

The days disappearing………

2 weeks to go

Amanda and I are about to embark on an adventure that I am not sure we both have our heads around. This time in 2 week we will be on a plane headed for St Alberts, a city on the outskirts of Edmonton.

The trip is exciting, however the preparation is and has been daunting for newbies at the whole exchange process. With both of us still juggling work, getting all the appropriate paperwork and having our home ready to receive a family who are working through the same process, the learning curve has been steep and challenging. We did expect this would be the case, as with anything one has not tried before.

I look forward to updating as we work through the last couple of weeks.