On some days, you just want to say, “Beam me up, Scotty! There’s no intelligent life here.” And when those days arrive, Scotty’s transporter is waiting in Vulcan, Alberta, Canada, halfway between Calgary and Lethbridge. The Canadian Pacific originally named the town for the Roman god of fire, but the citizens had a better idea.
In the 1970s, Vulcan needed to attract visitors, and they noticed that Star Trek fans were taking pictures with their Welcome to Vulcan sign. The earth-bound Vulcans found a space-time portal and achieved a mind-meld with Vulcan planetary ambassadors, they say. Eventually, the planet opened a permanent wormhole to bring Mr. Spock’s homeworld and the 22nd century from star 40 Eridani A to the Albertan plains. In response, the United Federation of Planets named Vulcan the Star Trek Capital of Canada.
When the Canadian Pacific platted the town, the railroad named the streets for planets. Later, citizens changed the planetary names. Now, street signs bearing the Starfleet crest show the streets’ current and former names.
The Voyage Of The Starship FX6-1995-A
We’re not die-hard Trekkies, and our vehicle can’t warp time. Even with those disabilities, we drove out of our way on a road trip to visit the Town of Vulcan on Alberta’s Highway 23. We arrived after dark, but no worries — the Starship FX6-1995-A and the Vulcan Tourism Trek Station are well lit. The darkness cloaked their surroundings, just as the Klingons cloaked their starships. Nighttime obscured the wormhole between the planet Vulcan and the town.
Based on Star Trek V’s pattern, the starship model is hefty at 31 feet long and 9 feet tall. It weighs five tons. The saucer is 15 feet wide. Including the base, the starship flies 19 feet high. (Of course, the town’s starship is tiny compared to the real Starship Enterprise.) Look for even tinier starships on the light poles.
Let’s decode the starship’s designation: FX6 identifies Vulcan Airport, just to the west of town. The ship landed in 1995. The “A” means that it was Vulcan’s first Trek-themed project. The starship’s landing pod on Klingon Way bears plaques with English, Klingon, and Vulcan greetings.
Fans can pose as their favorite character at the billboard next to the starship. My husband preferred Worf, the Klingon. I preferred Capt. Kate Janeway. Some of the cutouts, especially Lt. Uhura’s, require fans to stoop or kneel. Don’t miss the flower tower solar panels above the billboard.
During daylight, pack a picnic and eat at the table below the starship. Unfortunately, the starship’s replicator is too tiny to make human-sized food portions. You’ll need to bring your own.
Enter Vulcan’s Spaceport Sent From Vulcana Regar
Whether the planet sent its spaceport from Vulcana Regar through the wormhole to Vulcan, Alberta, remains unknown. Earth accounts say the Vulcan Association for Science and Trek (VAST) built a replica on Earth, but is VAST a front for the actual Vulcans? Science fiction conspiracy theorists want to know.
Whichever is the truth, enter the Trek Station. Take your place at the bridge’s consoles or sit in the captain’s chair. William Shatner, George Takei, and Leonard Nimoy all have signed the chair.
We know you’re dying to join Starfleet without going to Starfleet Academy. Good luck with that, but you can dress up in crew uniforms and pose with famous characters’ cutouts. Check out a Klingon bat’leth, which Worf sent through the wormhole. The captain’s chair and the bat’leth are only a sample of more than 800 Star Trek artifacts the Vulcans have preserved.
More Trekkie Themes Beyond The Starship And Station
In 2010, Nimoy came to Vulcan to unveil Mr. Spock’s bronze bust. The pedestal includes Spock’s hand in a Vulcan salute. Before you visit the Head of Spock, buy a pair of Vulcan ears at the station. Take a picture with Spock in order to live long and prosper!
Look for portraits of Star Trek’s medical staff in a mural. (No, Dr. McCoy isn’t saying, “He’s dead, Jim.”) The Latinum Loonie dollar store’s front displays a starship. Restock at Starfleet Supplies, also known as Wolfe’s Home Hardware.
Kathryn Elizabeth Larsen took Trek fandom to another level. Her gravestone in the Vulcan Cemetery is shaped like a communicator and reads, “A Trekker who’s gone to the Final Frontier.”
It’s only logical: Eat the poutine at Mama’s Pizza & Pasta.
Set Your Phasers To “Fun” During Spock Days
Ambassadors from multiple homeworlds use Vulcan’s transporter during Spock Days. Everyone is welcome. Starships join terrestrial vehicles and animals in a parade. Humanoids play games and eat in the street festival. Enjoy a barbecue contest, car show, and poker run. Feast on Vulcan’s food offerings in the Taste of Vulcan. When weather permits, watch a fireworks show. Look for Star Trek celebrities who have beamed down for the festivities.
Pro Tip: Somehow, the Tin Man of Oz has crashed the Star Trek universe. Did Scotty get his beams crossed? Even after what must be a bewildering experience, the Tin Man manages to run a triathlon each year. Join him in the annual Vulcan Tinman Triathlon.
Movie and television history attract interest from travelers of all ages. Consider: