Made It To Edmunton
Thank you for all your assistance on my trip to Edmonton. Without your help, I don’t think I would have made it. Well I promised you an article on my trip along with pictures so here it is.
I went to Edmonton, Canada at the end of August 2006. I wanted to see the West Edmonton Mall (WEM). It is currently the largest mall in the world. I also got to see some friends from Calgary that we had met on a cruise about six years ago.
I planned this trip through United Spinal’s Able to Travel. Well I can tell you any trips I may take in the future will be planned by Able to Travel. All details were taken care of and re-checked before and during my trip. I have MS and can not walk. I use a power wheelchair to get around with my wife as my care giver.
The trip involved taking a NorthWest Airline (NWA) from Phila. International to St. Paul. Then transferring to another NWA plane to Edmonton. We started the day about 3:30 am EST and arrived in Edmonton about 1:30 pm Mountain Time. There is a 2 hour difference. We arrived there 3:30 pm EST.
We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald. The Manager was outstanding. The room was accessible and met my needs. It had a tub with a transfer bench. A hand held shower and a roll under sink. There were grab bars in the shower and near the “John”. Any problems we encountered were addressed by the maintenance staff very promptly. The manager helped us with everything from getting schedules for express buses to and from the mall, to picking up passes so we wouldn’t have to have exact change for the bus. She even offered to walk us to the bus stop to make sure he got the right one. It was only a block from the hotel. Most of their buses are what they call low level buses. What they have is a ramp that is folded down on the floor and raises up and out to let any one that needs boarding assistance onto the bus. Disabled people, mothers with strollers and seniors get priority seating. Several of the seats lift up allowing you to park your chair or stroller.
The WEM is very accessible. It has an amusement park, full size skating ring, World Water Park, Deep Sea Adventure, and many more attractions. It has 900 stores, 21 movie theaters, 100 eating establishments, and miniature golf. There is a chapel, a Sea Lions show and a casino. We were at the mall for three days and I think we saw most of the attractions and stores but I am not sure.
I do want to mention if you are looking to cut costs, the Fairmont is a highly rated hotel. With this label is associated certain costs. The Harvest House, the Hotel Restaurant, was excellent. It also cost more than most of the restaurants in the area. The manger and her staff are more than willing to help you get reservations for those restaurants and give you directions on how to get there.
Besides having a great time, I guess the most important thing is I went there. I have not traveled for several years due to various reasons. One was getting to the airport. It was always a nightmare from my house in South Jersey. Able to Travel made it possible for an accessible transportation system to pick us up and take us back from the airport. They also arranged the same type of transportation in Edmonton. Both systems were reliable and very timely. That removed one reason why not to go from my list. I think I just was afraid of what would happen to my chair. I didn’t want my wife to pack mule my stuff on and off planes. But everything worked out. I guess you just have to take the chance if you want to see places that seem beyond your ability to get there.
I did and was glad I made the effort. I hope you get to see some of the pictures my wife took of the mall’s attractions [included below]