Live long and look for Vikings? It may sound unusual but we’re about to boldly go across Alberta and cross the time continuum for an extraordinarily fun and unique experience. We’ll transport you to Vulcan, Canada’s Star Trek capital, head back in time to the age of the Vikings, and then finish off our adventure partaking in a romp through medieval times.
We beam into Vulcan, one hour south of Calgary on Highway 23 – wait Scotty, are those transporter coordinates correct? Highway 23? This can’t be right! But while it isn’t the planet Vulcan of Star Trek fame it’s the next best thing with the Starship FX6-1995-A, a ringer of the Enterprise, hovering at the town entrance (well, it’s actually mounted on a large pedestal).
Known for Spock Days, Vulcan has adopted a proud Star Trek heritage, even if a CP Rail surveyor named the town after a Roman god long before Star Trek was ever conceived. Picture Klingons, Borg and Federation personnel invading Vulcan annually for a hybrid of a Star Trek convention and a country fair – that’s how it started. But this tiny town found it too hard to host the large crowds that warped in every second weekend in June, and has separated the events. Spock Days remains (in June) but without the Vul-Con sci-fi convention, which is now held in late July.
“I’ve been a Vulcan for 44 years, I figured it’s about time I came home,” the late Leonard Nimoy said in a 2010 visit. He even tried to get Vulcan to host the premiere of the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie but alas, the town had no movie theatre. Nimoy is fondly remembered here, where you can visit the Trekcetera Museum, stay in the Star Trek room at the Vulcan Hotel or find yourself on the bridge of the Enterprise thanks to green screen technology at the Tourism and Trek Station. Bucket list Trekkie suggestion: visit. There is nothing like being able to say you actually set foot on Vulcan!
Vikings in the Streets
No need to take cover, these Vikings are friendly. But they do take over Viking, about 80 minutes east of Edmonton, on the third weekend in June every year. True to its Scandinavian heritage, the town rolls out its Vikings in the Streets Festival complete with a Viking encampment like in the days of yore. This family-friendly festival features Viking battle demonstrations, a Lutefisk-eating contest – authentic Viking fish that, trust me, is an acquired taste – pancake breakfast, chili cook off, local entertainment and lots of activities for the kids. You can’t go wrong when they’re are able to defeat the Vikings with play swords!
Brooks Medieval Faire
Knights in shining armour, sword fighting, a medieval feast and an international jousting festival await your discovery as mythical characters wander about Brooks every year in early August. You’ll think you’ve stepped into a scene from Game of Thrones. But it’s not all about the adults, as kids get to kill the goblins using weapons made out of high density foam. If you head to the Faire – in southeastern Alberta, two hours east of Calgary – check out the medieval themed vendors in the Artisan Marketplace and grab a glass of mead at the feast!