Your first reason to plan an Alberta shopping spree this summer: no provincial sales tax means more money for shoes. Here’s another: North America’s largest indoor mall has new stores you just have to see (with lots to keep everyone else busy while you hunt for treasure). And there are plenty of reasons to take some day trips this summer to explore our cool little towns. You’ll find interesting shops along historic main streets, unusual museums and great local eats.
What’s New at West Edmonton Mall
Reserve a whole day to see the new shops at West Edmonton Mall – they’re the talk of the town. Head towards Europa Boulevard to find the new Simons, a huge Quebec-based department store (their first outside La Belle Province), with designer clothes for men and women and stylish home décor. You’ll leave with your new favourite cardigan, a funky mushroom tablecloth and a colourful owl mat for the girl’s bathroom. Nice work. Visit Pottery Barn and pop into Williams Sonoma for that blackberry coloured Dutch oven you’ve been coveting (and oh heck, you’ll probably need some new potholders to go with it).
Good thing that dad and the kids are busy at the big mall’s amusement park, skating rink, mini-golf course, IMAX theatre and gigantic waterpark – you have oodles of time.
Day Trip Shopping from Calgary
Okay, you’ve hit all the hippest retailers at the mall, so now it’s time for a cool little road trip to five cool little towns south of Calgary. The whole gang will love this adventure because of the chocolate malts and candy shops.
In the heritage buildings of Olde Towne Okotoks, you’ll find a huge variety of goodies: handmade quilts, antiques, western art and baby gifts to name a few. And as a reward for hauling your bags for you, treat the kids (and dad) to delicacies from the old fashioned candy shop.
Travel down the scenic Cowboy Trail through Turner Valley to the nearby Millarville Farmers’ Market, one of the province’s oldest (summer Saturdays from 9 to 2). Then wander through the antique shops along Black Diamond’s historic Main Street, rub the world’s largest black diamond for luck and grab a chocolate malt and peanut butter burger at Marv’s Classic Soda Shop, a50s style diner.
Nanton’s historic downtown is jam-packed with antique stores – you might be awhile here. Buy some time by sending dad and your mini-engineers to the Ultimate Trains Store and Big Sky Garden Railway where they can play on toy tracks, check out the huge stock of little locomotives and take a couple spins on the ride-on train.