I left Colum at Legoland for a birthday party and strode forth into the mall. My purse was slung over one shoulder and I hoisted my laptop on one hip, figuring I’d walk around for a bit before settling down with a coffee and my computer. That’s when I saw the sign: Aldo Outlet Sale Up to 70% Off. I was going to need to buy myself shoes at some point. Not taking advantage of the sale would be pretty irresponsible.
I gave my best guestimate of my bank balance, deducted the sum of bills that possibly, maybe would be automatically withdrawn at any point and then decided I should probably deposit the two cheques I’d been carrying around for several days before buying any shoes, sale or no sale. The mall directory didn’t list any banks at all, so I stopped at an information kiosk.
“Is there a TD Bank in this mall?”
“There’s one outside Entry One and past the plaza on the north side of the mall. It’s just over by the Boston Pizza.”
“Oh, great. So I walk this way to get to Entry One?”
The mall guy looked at me. “Aren’t you going to drive?”
“Oh,” I said. “Should I drive?”
“Well, you’d have to walk all the way through the mall. Then you’d have to cross the parking lot. And then,” he squinted from the excursion involved in imagining such a walk, “you’d have to cross the … and then the plaza … and the other parking lot … So, yeah. I think you probably want to drive.”
I’d only ever been to Vaughan Mills incidentally before. Once we went to a media preview of Legoland and once we stopped for lunch at one of it’s satellite plazas after visiting Reptilia. It’s a Goliath of a mall, just built in 2004 on a large swath of farm land (if childhood memories of trips to Canada’s Wonderland serve me right). Billed as “Canada’s premier outlet destination,” it’s basically a very large, egg-shaped mall surrounded by an enormous moat of a parking lot. Then there are further rings of plazas and suburban box-style shopping undulating out in all directions. It’s big on parking, short on sidewalks.
I had started back toward my car when I thought, “Screw it.” I wanted to walk. I had three hours to myself and it was a beautiful summer day and, besides, I had a sweet parking spot near Legoland that I didn’t want to give up. How bad could it be?
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