The eagerly awaited mega mall CrossIron Mills opened yesterday to massive crowds as shoppers filed in to the $500-million complex for the opening of 200 stores.

With 55 per cent of the stores being outlets, John Scott, vice-president of development for Ivanhoe Cambridge, said that CrossIron Mills is not just another shopping centre.

“CrossIron Mills is a very unique product. It’s a combination of a lot of other attributes of other retail venues,” said Scott.

Parts of the original plan, such as a horse track and casino, have not come to fruition, but Scott said the draw to the mall is still substantial and they are pleased to be open and operating.

Grand-opening ceremonies were held in the food court and attended by Kelly Hrudey from Hockey Night in Canada and Olympian skeleton bronze medallist Mellisa Hollingsworth, who accepted a $10,000 check for Canadian Sport Centre Calgary.

Shoppers then assisted in counting down for stores with the help of the giant LED screen.

“We had a good crowd for the opening,” said James Moller, general manager of CrossIron Mills. “We got lineups at the entrances to get in and at a lot of the stores.”

Some stores with lineups included Forever 21, with its largest location in Alberta, and Aldo Accessories.

Traffic to the mall, previously thought to be a problem, was relatively smooth sailing for those who made the trek north early, as management had a parking plan in place.

Moller said they had 50 individuals outside making sure that roadways were clear and directing traffic so people knew where they were going. RCMP also assisted.

Celebrations will continue this week with appearances by the Bachelorette Jillian Harris tomorrow and Henry Burris and the Grey Cup on Sunday.

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