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Mindbender roller coaster closed after 37 years at West Edmonton Mall

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The Mindbender roller coaster at Galaxyland has been shut down, West Edmonton Mall announced on Monday.

The redevelopment of the area is already underway, and the roller coaster is being decommissioned and removed.

"The iconic Mindbender has been the park’s premier thrill ride since the grand opening in 1985," said Lori Bethel of WEM in a written statement. "While the Mindbender will be missed, we are excited to announce that we are working on groundbreaking new plans for family thrills that will immerse our guests in an out-of-this-world experience."

Archive video of the Mindbender roller coaster.

The Mindbender was designed by Werner Stengel and built by Anton Schwarzkopf.

It was based on the “Dreier Looping” portable rollercoaster that was built by the same team to travel to German funfairs.

Three people were killed on the roller coaster in a crash in June 1986.

The roller coaster reopened to the public in January 1987.

'SO LOVED BY ALL OF EDMONTON'

One local historian says the mall will have a tough time replacing the iconic ride.

"I don’t think there ever will be a right time to remove the Mindbender. The Mindbender is so loved by all of Edmonton and coaster enthusiasts. It’s been there since '85, '86, so most people know it as part of their lives," Matthew Dutczak, the man behind the website Best Edmonton Mall, told CTV News Edmonton, adding that removing the roller coaster will be no easy feat.

"You look back in 1985, '84, when they were building the Mindbender, they built it up outside, and they built the ceiling over it after the fact. So that space, that whole area around the Mindbender, was built for the Mindbender. Trying to pull that out, get that replaced with the ceiling in place, it seems insurmountable to me."

The mall hasn’t given a reason for closing the coaster. While there has been speculation online it is being removed to fit with Galaxyland’s new Hasbro theme, Dutczak thinks there’s likely a bigger reason.

The Mindbender roller coaster at West Edmonton Mall's Galaxyland.

"I don’t think they were aiming to replace it with something just because Hasbro was there. I think the timing is just going to work out that maybe we see a bigger transformation of Galaxyland than we once thought there would be."

Like other Edmontonians, he has fond memories of riding the Mindbender.

"It’s not smooth, it’ll rock you back and forth, it’ll jostle you, it’ll beat you up, you’ll get off and then you’ll get right back on."

"To say that there are big shoes to fill at this point is an understatement, you can’t fill the shoes of the Mindbender. I don’t know what they’re going to come up with, but they have their work cut out for them." 

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