FRIDAY FEATURE: A Town Called Vulcan

IMG_1179For those of you who may not know,  I’ve dedicated a whole year to crossing off as many items of geekery of my Geek Adventure list as possible.  They have ranged from creating my own superhero, going Nessie hunting, spending the night in a haunted house and even meeting Joss Whedon (my personal favourite).

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get on a plane and head to a country I’ve never been before in order to cross another item off the list.  Number 24 –  Visit the town of Vulcan in Canada

Why was it on the list?  Well, what self-respecting Trekkie wouldn’t want to visit a place named after our beloved Spock’s home planet?  It was an adventure just waiting to happen…

After a comfortable flight and catching up with some sleep in Calgary, we set off on the hour and a half’s drive to Vulcan.  Surrounded by vast plains, the town seems to pop up out of nowhere, and with only 2,000 residents, it’s a small place.  Named after the god of fire by a surveyor with a love of Roman mythology, the town was named Vulcan in 1910, well before we had ever heard of Starfleet, the Enterprise or ‘Beam me up Scotty’. Its history is steeped in agriculture but over the years they decided to embrace the very thing that caused people to stop and take their pictures next to the towns sign.

Nothing says ‘Welcome to Vulcan’ more than a replica Federation ship they have on entry into the town.  It was unveiled in 1995 and has plaques around the base written in English, Vulcan and Klingon.  Talk about geeky photo opportunities!

 

Starship in Vulcan 2Starship in Vulcan

 

Once you have sufficiently exhausted your Star Trek poses, the next stop would be the Trek Station.  Situated behind the starship, it’s the perfect place to stock up on your Trek merch.  And if you are up for a giggle, you should definitely take advantage of their photo area.  You can chose uniforms from all different Trek eras and pose with some cardboard cutouts of your favourite characters.  Or if you are wanting to take a unique souvenir, you can have your picture taken and then superimposed on to the bridge of any Enterprise.  You can also find out more about Spock Days, the annual Trek convention the town holds.  Previous guests have included Robert Picardo, Marina Sirtis and Walter Koenig.

Outside the Trek Station is a special plaque, honoring Gene Roddenberry and the impact he had on popular culture by creating such a seminal TV show.  Unveiled by his son Rod in 2008, it is fitting that the town not only celebrates it’s favourite Trek characters but the man who created them for us all to love.

Outside the Trek Station in Vulcan

After this, I would recommend you download the Vulcan App.  This gives you a walking tour of the town, narrated by Garrett Wang.  It points out interesting murals around town (the Trek doctors outside the town surgery was my favourite) and takes you past the bust of Leonard Nimoy.  When Nimoy visited the town in 2010, the population trebled overnight!  He also left his handprint which is bronzed underneath the bust.  It’s a fitting tribute to the man that embodies the spirit of Star Trek and has supported the towns efforts to be the official ‘Star Trek Capital of Canada’.

Your last stop in the town should definitely be the newly opened Trekectera museum.  Situated just around the corner from the Nimoy bust, this is a perfect addition to the town.  Opened just a few months ago, the museum is the next step in making the town a Mecca for sci-fi fans.  If you ever get the chance to go and visit, I would highly recommend that you ask for Michael.  One of the town who has been pushing for Vulcan to embrace it’s sci-fi destiny, he is quite the tour guide.  A raconteur with a great passion for films and TV, you can tell he is a superfan.  I could honestly have listened to him tell stories all day.  Not just about Star Trek but also the many films that have been shot in and around Alberta.

The museum itself is small but perfectly formed.  Featuring costumes and props from all 5 TV series and the recent blockbusters, you will find something of interest whether you are an old school fan or new recruit.  From costumes from the J.J Abrams reboot to props from the TV shows, it’s a perfect place to geek out.

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The town of Vulcan may be a small but it has big aspirations as a must-visit on any sci-fi fans holiday.  I had an absolute blast and would recommend it to any Trekkie visiting the state of Alberta.  It’s worth coming out of the big cities on an ‘away mission’ to check out what this unique town has to offer.

You can find out more about a trip to Canada by visiting Travel Alberta 

 

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