WOOOOOOO SPOKANE TIME
Today my mom and I drove up to Spokane to go to that big mall up there (North Town? Something like that. I’m too lazy to look it up). We screwed around in there for several hours as always, bought too much stuff, then spent the evening watching nonsense on YouTube.
The Spokane visit is one of my favorite parts of my Moscow trips. Hanging out and going OMFG SHOPPING!!!1!!1 with my mom is always enjoyable.
Plus, there’s a comics/gaming store up there that sells individual Pokemon cards, and I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself from trying to get a complete first gen collection next time we’re up there.
Holy crap, it’s a Canadian Mall post! I haven’t done one of those in like 40 years. Today I’ll blog about Core Center (or I guess Core Centre, since it’s Canadian), though this isn’t the first time I’ve been here. Technically Nate and I went here on our second date. So yeah, sometime last December was the first time I was here, haha.
Mileage from home to mall:
- It’s got a little inside garden (okay, a big inside garden) that’s very peaceful and cool to look at, especially with the water features. There’s usually someone in there playing piano, too, so it’s nice.
- It’s downtown and thus is a nice intermediate point for our longer walks that take us through downtown but to a destination a ways away.
- Part of the mall is structured so that if you’re on one of the higher floors and are looking across the way to the other side of the mall, it looks like you’re looking at the outside of another building. It’s a weird little illusion, but it’s pretty cool.
- It’s tucked away rather unassumingly in a building downtown, which makes it impossible to find for people like me. It’s a good thing Nate knows where it is. I also never would have found this on my own, just because it doesn’t look like a mall from the outside.
- They close the bathrooms in the food court on the weekends. What.
Hey look, it’s one of those Canadian Mall posts. I haven’t done one of those in quite some time, have I? Anyway. Today Nate and I walked down to Westbrook Mall, a mall down kind of in the southwest part of the city.
Mileage from home to mall (one way; from Nate’s house, not mine):
- A nice little quiet mall. It wasn’t very crowded at all.
- There’s a Walmart, apparently. I either didn’t see it or just wasn’t paying attention.
- Like most malls, the parking lot is a death trap for pedestrians.
- There were no super special standout stores. It’s a small mall.
- The walk was good, though!
Nate and I are going to CrossIron Mills this afternoon. From what he’s told me, it’s this huge, elaborate mall just outside of the main city.
My tiny little dilemma, though, is this: should I count it as one of my “Canadian Mall” installments? I mean, technically I’m not walking to it, which is the whole reason for my “Canadian Mall” series in the first place, but I looked at its location on Google Maps and I’m pretty sure there’s no way I could ever actually get there on foot. It’s a ways outside of the city, and given Calgary’s mercurial attitude toward sidewalks, there’s probably not a walkable path (also, I think the only way to legitimately get there is on the highway).
BUT ANYWAY. Fun weekend ahead! I’m excited.
It’s Canadian Mall tiiiiime! LET’S DO THIS.
Mileage from home to mall (one way):
- While it’s a moderately long walk here, it’s not a bad walk. No weird “hey, we’re going to not put a sidewalk here just to screw with you” blocks
- Buckets o’ stores. Seriously. It’s a huge mall.
- The layout’s not terrible.
- People EVERYWHERE.
- There were so many people that I actually had no desire to go into any of the stores; I just went in, did my mandatory walk-through, and went back out.
- While the layout’s not terrible, I still got lost in it ‘cause I’m me.
- Some lady almost mowed me over in the crosswalk outside. Like seriously, did she really need to gun it out of the parking lot that quickly? I had the right-of-way (the “walk” sign was clearly still white and not flashing red) but she certainly didn’t give a crap. Good thing I was paying attention.
So I went east again today for my walk and this time actually went INSIDE Sunridge Mall instead of walking around the outside of it and visiting the neighboring business. So here we go!
- It’s a pretty big mall but wasn’t too crowded.
- Lots of different clothing stores (including H&M!).
- There was a massage place (can’t remember the name) that offered “water massages.” These apparently entail getting naked and sitting in a tanning booth-type thing in order to get pummeled by water jets. Sounds interesting.
- Lots of different shoe stores, too. I’m not much of a shoe person, but I might end up going here to get boots at some point. THE SNOW IS COMING.
- Got kids (or like toys)? Giant Toys ‘R’ Us.
- It is REALLY not easy to get here via walking, at least from my location in the city. It’s not a direct shot and you have to go through a bunch of industrial stuff to get there.
- All the women’s bathrooms, except for one, were out of order.
- There was a surplus of very young children there. I don’t know if they all mass-escaped from the Toys ‘R’ Us or what, but OH MY GOD. If your child can’t walk on his or her own yet, it’s probably not a good idea to let them loose in a mall.
Today I walked to North Hill Centre, a small little mall on 16th Avenue, sorta by SAIT.
- Close to home. Takes about a half hour to get there.
- It’s small. Kinda cozy. It’s like the Palouse Mall sawed in half.
- There’s a WIG SHOP!
- The C-Train runs right behind it.
- There’s a moderate-sized branch of the public library behind it.
- There’s a store in there called Alchemy Apparel which sells all this funky pop culture stuff. Looks interesting.
- Not a whole ton of variety if you’re looking for that.
- I put this in the “pros” list but I guess it could be a “con” as well: it’s small. If you like to walk the mall, you’d be done in like 4 minutes.
- I was there like half an hour before it closed on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, but I would guess that it gets a lot of C-Train traffic during peak hours.
And yeah, I know it was only like 2 miles from home; I made up for that by walking to campus, then going back to 14th street, walking up to 64th Avenue, over to Centre St., then home. 16 mile loop!
I reiterate from my Market Mall post two weeks ago: Calgary is NOT flat.
Today I took a super roundabout route and went east to Sunridge Mall. Okay, I actually didn’t go in the mall. By the time I got there I had absolutely no desire to deal with crowds of people, so I just hung out in/around the peripheral stores instead. So I shall review them!
Mileage from home to mall (one way):
- A massive Real Canadian Superstore. Even bigger than the one on Marine Drive in Vancouver.
- A Real Canadian Liquorstore (I am not even kidding, that’s what they’re called)
- BULK BAAAAAAAAAAARN!
- A huge Value Village, which is like Goodwill on crack.
- Calgary! Why u no have consistent sidewalks on your main avenues?
- Value Village prices are like Goodwill prices + $5. But a pack of off-brand shredded cheese at WalMart is like $8, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
- The Bulk Barn is a tiny little thing. Plus it was closed by the time I got there.
Today I didn’t feel much like walking, so I just went north to Deerfoot Mall, a mall I’ve been to a few times but never on a Saturday. But now it’s officially my most recent Canadian Mall destination!
Mileage from home to mall (one way):
- I like the walking route to get here.
- There’s a big-ass WalMart behind the mall itself. Good for broccoli when they have it in stock.
- The mall never seems too crowded.
- There’s a pretty diverse selection at the food court if you’re into mall food.
- The big-ass WalMart NEVER HAS BROCCOLI IN STOCK.
- There aren’t any super interesting (at least to me) stores IN the mall itself.
- Uh…no other cons come to mind, actually.
DONE! Time for Red Bull.
It’s walkin’ time!
Today I went west—a little bit past campus—to Market Mall.
Mileage from home to mall (one way):
- This mall is circular! It’s actually quite cool. It’s also got like 20 entrances.
- It’s also just one floor, so no getting lost on the upper levels.
- APPLE STORE!
- Huge H&M.
- No drinking fountains. What the hell, where am I supposed to refill my water bottle for the walk back? I was going to just fill it from one of the the bathroom sinks, but they all jet out hot water automatically. BAH.
- APPLE STORE was super crowded due to the iPhone 6 release.
- It’s close to campus, so there were students everywhere and it was quite crowded.
So since this mall was not that far away, on my walk back I decided to go the long way up 14th street. Whoever* said Calgary was flat is a LIAR. That street is like a mile of steep hill. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d been on mile 2 of my walk, but I was on mile 12 so it wasn’t the most enjoyable little trek. Got a good pic of downtown though:
*Haha, it was me.
It’s the weekend, the weather’s good, and I’m in a big city that needs exploring.
YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?
It’s Canadian Mall time!
Because I’m me, I chose a mall that’s pretty far away as my first destination: Southridge Mall!
Mileage from home to mall (one way):
- If you don’t feel like shopping at the mall itself, there are a lot of other big stores around, such as Walmart, Bulk Barn, Home Depot, and a giant Safeway.
- It’s not too big, so you won’t get lost in it.
- Want some high-end stuff? This is the mall for you!
- You can get to this mall using two buses from my house, which is pretty impressive given how far away it is.
- Almost EVERYTHING is fairly high-end, so if you’re looking for cheap shopping, don’t go here.
- It’s only open until 5 on the weekends. WTF?
- Their online mall directory is terrible.
DONE! I’ve missed walking in a big city, yo.
I got a massive sunburn in the shape of the Canadian Tire logo on my chest. I look like a retail superhero. Wear sunscreen, kids.
So it occurred to me as I was wandering around downtown Vancouver this afternoon that I’ve walked to all the major malls in the city, but I never gave you guys a ranking.
Like you care, but you know I dig the rankings.
From least favorite to favorite, I bring you Canadian Malls: Vancouver Style!
14. Brentwood Town Centre
Most pointless mall ever. Seriously. It’s like taking the Palouse Mall and removing all the interesting stores, leaving you with Zales, Hallmark, the information center, and that area that turns into the Hickory Farms store during Christmas.
13. Central City
This one’s in Surrey. Do you value your life? Don’t go to
Surrey. The fact that this has a freaking college attached to it perplexes me enough so that this isn’t in last place.
12. Lynn Valley Centre
I don’t really know how this qualifies as a mall, but it is in North Vancouver, which explains the creepy aura about it. Totally not worth the trip up there, unless you’ve got a car. Even then, though, it’s iffy.
11. Lansdowne Centre
There really wasn’t much to this mall, and it’s all the way in Richmond. But it did have a clean Zeller’s, which is like witnessing a miracle, and the Bed Bath and Beyond clone store I walked through seemed pretty freaking awesome.
10. Granville Island
If you can get past the throngs of people that are there pretty much 24/7, the Island is pretty funky. I dig the massive fresh market, but the throngs get to me pretty quickly.
9. Kingsgate Mall
Ah, good old Kingsgate Mall. My grocery depot. Another really small mall, but it’s in a good location, has a grocery store, and has alcohol. What more is necessary when it’s on the bus route home?
8. Capilano Mall
Another pretty “meh” mall apart from the giant Walmart with the McDonald’s as its heart. It’s also all the way in North Vancouver, so it’s really not worth the walk and/or bus ride unless you are morally against the mall on Grandview Highway.
7. Pacific Centre
Apple store + H&M makes for a good mall in general, but there really isn’t anything else in the Pacific Centre worth noting. It’s location is nice, though, and is surrounded by more entertaining things in downtown Vancouver.
6. Oakridge Centre
Poor little Oakridge Centre, being only a mile away…totaly gets overlooked as a place I’ve walked to, haha. It’s a decent mall. Apple store, Safeway, and cinemas for those who enjoy such frivolity. Its proximity to the SkyTrain is both good (“hey! I can get on the SkyTrain right from the mall!”) and bad (“all the SkyTrain traffic has taken over the seats on the bus! How do I get home?!”).
5. Richmond Centre
Apple Store! Late hours! Quiznos! You’re livin’ wild if you go to the Richmond Centre. I still don’t see the logic of having a mall within
literally 300 steps of another mall. At least it’s close to the Skytrain so you can hightail it out of the party zone when all the other malls have closed and you’re still shopping at 6 PM.
4. Real Canadian Superstore
Ah, the love child of Walmart and Costco. I really dig this place, and am glad London seems to think its smaller city needs double the number of RCSSs that Vancouver has. This place gets super extra bonus points because everything’s so cheap. Example: box of awesome granola bars = $4.99 at Safeway. Same box of awesome granola bars = $2.15 at Real Canadian. Yayzorz.
3. Coquitlam Centre
Despite this being 4 billion miles away, it’s huge and has a lot of awesome stores. Assuming you survive the parking lot, this is a super enjoyable mall.
2. Metropolis at Metrotown
This mall? It has a Real Canadian Superstore INSIDE OF IT. It also has a soft pretzel shop, which made my mom super happy when she came up and we hung out at Metropolis. It’s another massive mall, but it’s a lot closer and easily accessible via SkyTrain.
1. Park Royal Centre
GIANT MALL. I really like Park Royal. It’s got an H&M, and HMV (which is like a Hastings), and a Whole Foods. It’s also about 12 miles away and you have to walk through Stanley Park to get there, so it’s a good destination for walking on Saturdays. Completely unrelated side note: Vancouver
has the biggest slugs I’ve ever seen.
Also this: here is a map of my knowledge of Vancouver before I started walking (aka, back when I was on Dunbar):
And here is now:
And today I walked 19 miles.
Today it was sunny and 54 degrees. Good day for walkin’!
I can see, on days like this, why Vancouver is considered such a beautiful, livable city. Proof:
But then there are things like this:
What was I doing? Oh yeah. I was reviewing a Real Canadian Superstore.
What is a Real Canadian Superstore, you ask? It’s what would result if a Super Walmart and a Costco had hot, sweet, unprotected membership warehouse sex. It’s not a supermarket according to Wikipedia. It’s a hypermarket.
Yes, it’s that glorious. Behold:
I’m a big fan of stores where I can purchase a head of lettuce, a bag of underwear (yes, I said a bag), and a stereo system in the same place. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. The RCSS has pretty much anything you would ever need, including a ridiculously awesome produce section that has all sorts of exotic stuff (including dragon fruit!) and a giant candy aisle. You know me and candy, man, we go way back.
– Do you need a 4 pound bag of frozen calamari, a socket wrench, a BBQ, a DVD player, papayas, and a trashy romance novel, but don’t want to drive around town to acquire them all? NO PROBLEM!
– The private label, President’s Choice, is so ridiculously cheap it’s like I’m back in the US.
– You can get in and out super fast owing to the fact that there are about 20 self-scanners. I’m scared of those things, though, so I never use them.
– They let you bag your own stuff. I’m picky with how I bag my crap, especially if I have to jump on a bus to get home (which is often).
– Shopping without spending $50+ requires horse blinders if you’re like me and randomly throw crap into your basket because it looks pretty.
– Speaking of the basket, what’s with the cloth handles on the handheld baskets? Not a real complaint, they just annoy me.
So yeah. RCSS is awesome. Add it to the list of things you must experience when you come to Canada.
I had to go downtown today to get my Sun Run number/shirt, so before that I decided to remedy my “I suck at life and can’t find how to get on Granville Island” failure of a walk last weekend by actually looking up appropriate directions to the island.
I know, I know, Granville Island isn’t a mall. But with the big open market insanity and the building with the bundle of stores in it, I decided to count it anyway.
– THE coolest glasses frames shop on the planet. It’s also called Eyeland, which is freaking hilarious and awesome. Check this noise: http://www.granville-eyeland.com/home
– It’s like a farmer’s market on crack once the weather gets better.
– There’s a bead store. I don’t do bead work at all, but the colors make me smile.
– One of those “how in the hell do you get there?” areas of Vancouver. You know, the ones you can see but can’t fathom how anyone’s supposed to get there. There are a surprising number of those up here.
– Cars should not be allowed on the island.
– People are generally stupid and don’t know how to handle ogling exotic fruit and forward motion at the same time. Get out of the walking traffic first, fondle dragon fruit later.
I am also obscenely stressed out (as I have been for the past three weeks now), so don’t trust my judgment.
North Vancouver’s weird.
It’s a lot steeper than it looks in this pic.
ANYWAY, Lynn Valley Centre.
– It looks nice?
– Really, not much to say.
– The bus I had to take up here came every 45 minutes. Guess who’s phenomenal at just missing the bus?
– No cool stores here. There’s a Save On, but they’re everywhere in main Vancouver.
This one wasn’t worth the trip, in my opinion. I got to see a bit more of North Van, but it’s got a freaky vibe to it of which I’m not a fan.
Now for some Fallout 3.
Confession: I actually didn’t go to Kingsgate this afternoon. Spent the morning running and then went to Costco and The Real Canadian Superstore…but I passed by Kingsgate twice!
I go to this mall to buy groceries, really. Therefore it’s not really worth a special weekend visit (plus it’s not that far of a walk anyway). But I’m kinda running out of malls and figure I better get as many of the smaller ones in these installments as possible.
– Giant Buy Low Foods. A cheap grocery store that’s right on #8’s route which practically goes right by my house.
– Liquor store. I can’t drink, but this particular liquor store has a giant Guinness poster in its main window, which makes me nostalgic for that one time two summers ago when I actually had alcohol.
– Not crowded ever.
– Pretty small. You go there for shoes, alcohol, or groceries. Not much else.
– Closes (surprise!) at 6 on most nights, and due to the layout if you still want to utilize the Buy Low that is open much later, you have to climb up this weird hill to get to it. Not a big deal usually, but a huge pain when it’s raining/ it’s windy/ it’s dark/the hill decided to go into mudslide mode.
Yeah. Dinky mall is dinky.
Google Earth really doesn’t like it when I try to get walking directions to Richmond. No, all-mighty Google, I cannot walk across water, nor can I climb up and utilize the SkyTrain rail as a bridge.
This morning I went running, which is both surprising and hilarious, considering I don’t see myself as a runner AT ALL, but found it easier and more relaxing than walking. Weird.
After running I was all jazzed up and decided to go find a mall. 12 miles later (damn you, Google Earth!) I ended up in Richmond at the Lansdowne Centre.
– Sits in a cluster of malls (and a Real Canadian Superstore, which I WILL review at some point ‘cause it qualifies as a mall in and of itself), so if you get bored of it you can just walk to another one.
– There was a Best Buy! I’d never been to a Best Buy before. Had to resist buying a giant home stereo system.
– Very clean layout. I was impressed.
– Semi-clean Zeller’s. I was phenomenally impressed.
– Like the Richmond Centre, it’s right by the SkyTrain. Handy.
– Malls need to stay open later than 6 PM around here.
– Pretty “meh” selection of stores overall, apart from the Best Buy and this Bed, Bath, & Beyond-esque store thingy that I never got around to walking through (see above con for reason).
So yeah. Not so disappointing, a refreshing change from the last few malls. I’d recommend it.
AAAAAAH WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS MALL??
14.5 miles in the rain (half of that was me screwing around elsewhere, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT) for a crappy Zeller’s and no bathrooms?
– Hell if I know. A London Drugs?
– A crappy Zeller’s
– Have the designers of this mall ever heard the phrase “public restroom?” There was supposedly one in the crappy Zeller’s, but I couldn’t find it.
– There were no other stores of interest at this place. None.
– There was some sort of Idol-esque karaoke going on. It involved little kids. Singing. Badly. Shoot me now.
There was also a little girl (5 or so?) who was stuck in the escalator. The paramedics and fire department were getting there as I did and 45 minutes later they had pried one of the escalator steps completely out and had gotten her free. She wasn’t hurt; I think her pants just got freakishly wound into the mechanics of the escalator. At least the drilling covered up the obnoxious wailing of the karaoke kids for a bit.
It didn’t help that it was raining ridiculously hard on my walk there…blah.
So I went out walking this morning and I saw the strangest thing. I was about two block from my house when I noticed that things started to get really bright around me, bright enough so I could even see my shadow. I looked around and realized that the source of this brightness was coming from above me, somewhere up in the sky, somewhere between the dispersing clouds.
Then I realized what I was seeing.
THE FREAKING SUN.
It was quite a phenomenal sight.
Park Royal Centre! Probably the biggest mall I’ve been to up here (or, you know, anywhere).
– DUDE a Whole Foods. I bought Himalayan pink salt. And…uh…cookies.
– The mall is split into three separate buildings/areas: North, South, and the Village. This makes navigation easy.
– Quite organized for how freaking huge it is (280+ stores).
– A Staples!
– Quite far away. 8.5 mile walk, plus a 30 or so minute bus ride through Stanley Park.
– The three buildings are spaced across a busy highway-type road. Not a big deal, but on a rainy day (which is pretty much the standard up here), it would kind of suck.
– The Home Depot is scary as hell. There was a haunted shovel.
This is North Vancouver’s version of the Pacific Centre. Translation: boring.
– A Walmart. It’s got a McDonald’s in it. That blows my mind.
– A Claire’s.
– Open until…wait for it…9 PM ON SOME NIGHTS! This blasphemy is unheard of. North Van has a wild side.
– Way up in North Vancouver.
– The bathroom is disgusting. Like, Zellers disgusting.
– There really aren’t any cool stores in this entire mall.
Yeah. Really, the only thing it’s got going for it is the Walmart. It’s also deceptively large. Looking at the store directory online and then looking at the mall, you would never guess all those shops fit in the little bitty space. I guess if you’re hard pressed for a Walmart and for whatever reason can’t get to the one on Grandview Highway, take a trip to North Van and visit the bland land of Capilano Mall.
It also was snowing the whole time I was walking there and back, so it was an exceptionally cold day for me. But I have blanket and heater and techno at my disposal here, so it’s all better now.