Location: On Highway 23, midway (one hour) between Lethbridge and Calgary. Population: 1,836. Visitor Information: Vulcan Tourism and Trek Station, 115 Centre Street East, Vulcan, AB T0L 2B0; Phone: (403) 485-2994; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.vulcantourism.com
Vulcan was named by a railway surveyor in 1910 after the Roman god of fire, and the original streets named for gods and goddesses of the classical world. In July 1927, a major tornado destroyed much of the town. At one time Vulcan was the largest grain shipping point west of Winnipeg, Manitoba and had nine-in-a-line "prairie skyscraper" grain elevators.
The town's name has inspired tourism interest for many years, since in the Star Trek television and feature film series it is the home world of Spock and his fellow Vulcans. Capitalizing on this coincidence, Vulcan has built a wonderful 3000-square foot Star Trek–themed tourist station, which provides tourism information, displays 800+ pieces of Star Trek memorabilia and offers unique photo opportunities in costume on the starship bridge with life-size character cutouts. The Galaxy Gift Shop has a fun array of collectibles, including Spock ears!
Nearby, a 31-foot long replica of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek V has been mounted on a pedestal with greeting plaques in English, Klingon and Vulcan. The town has also created space-themed murals and signs, hosts an annual Spock Days festival in June and the deluxe Sci-fi convention Vul-Con in July, attracting thousands of fans from around the world (as well as Leonard Nimoy in 2010 and other Star Trek actors and authors). Free star gazing events are offered throughout the year and in 2013, the TrekCetera Star Trek museum opened in Vulcan.
The town hosts the annual Tinman Triathlon at the beginning of June, a sprint-distance triathlon with nearly 1,000 participants of all ages and skill levels. Visitors also enjoy the town’s historical site District Museum, leisurely 18-hole golf course, walking paths, skateboard park, public pool complex and farmer’s market set in an agricultural paradise. Endless opportunities for great fishing, camping, water-based recreation, GeoCaching and bird watching abound throughout Vulcan County.
At the height of the Second World War, Vulcan housed more than 2,500 Royal Air Force pilots from Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Seven hangers still remain, representing one of the largest RCAF flight lines still in existence. Wartime aircraft and other artifacts provide for impressive displays at the Vulcan Aerodrome RCAF Monument and Airport.