Stardate, 2016. We start off for… hold up. I have a confession. I am not a Trekkie. I owe no allegiance to the myriad TV iterations, although I am fond of the original mid-’60s series and their subsequent big screen adventures (except for The Final Frontier—I am reasonably lucid). However, this particular voyage is co-captained by my wife, Michelle, who has a deep fondness for the original gang and their follow-up crew of The Next Generation (which I don’t like, and yet she still married me). She can identify scenes by hearing orchestral movements from the series and the films. In short, she is a Trekkie (and yes, I asked her permission to call her that—I’m not insane).

Okay, let’s try this again. My wife and I leave the big city of Calgary, Alberta behind for a day trip to visit the Trekcetera Museum, located about 130 km southeast of the city in the town of… wait for it… Vulcan. Yes, that’s correct. Vulcan, Alberta has a population of around 1,800 people and celebrated its centennial in 2013. Growing up in a small community myself, I’ve always found the less the population, the friendlier the folk. Vulcan does not disappoint.

The first sight upon entering Vulcan is an Enterprise ship replica that hovers over the town, perched proudly twenty feet high upon the entrance. Our first stop: The Vulcan Tourism and Trek Station. A large, white, spherical building with spires coming out of the sides, it resembles nothing so much as a spaceship from a long-lost ’50s sci-fi film. We head on in and are taken aback by what we see. An entire solar system hangs from the domed ceiling, immediately welcoming you to not the final, but a nevertheless charming, frontier. You want Star Trek merchandise? You got it, mister. Everything from T-shirts to hats to Spock ears—you name it, it’s here, all due to an exclusive licensing agreement with CBS Studios, making the Tourism and Trek Station and the Trekcetera Museum unique for Canada.

We are greeted by the gregarious Devan Daniels, Tourism Administrator for all of Vulcan County. Of course, we naturally assume that this is the museum itself, with over 800 pieces of Star Trek memorabilia on display, but no, Devan informs us that this is in fact the Information Centre. Full of good cheer, Devan shows us around the Station, including a green screen room where you can have pictures taken with cut-outs of your favorite characters from the various series. We pass on this; however, I take several photos of Michelle sitting in a replica of Kirk’s Captain’s chair, signed by many of the original cast (hard to pry her away from the chair, too).

After the missus picks up a Red Shirt Union tee (a limited edition shirt allowing private access to a meeting with the only red shirt female killed on the original series, actress Julie Cobb—when? Read on!), Devan tells us all about this summer’s Vul-Con 2016, the annual Star Trek convention that takes over the town come July. Tourists from as far away as Russia, Japan and all points in-between flood the Vulcan area, some costumed and all brimming with fellowship.

As a matter of fact, the town has upwards of 30,000 people visit Vulcan annually, and each year that number grows. So far, it’s easy to see why. Between Devan’s enthusiasm for the community and the mind-blowing artifacts on display (not to mention the list of celebrity guests who have visited the town—impressive indeed), a visit to Vulcan is like dropping in on an old friend—albeit one with an amazing collection of sci-fi memorabilia. After Michelle picks up a couple more items (a pink LLAP ball cap, some Spock ears—to the Trekkie go the spoils), we bid Devan a fond farewell and head over to the Trekcetera Museum run by his partner, Michael Mangold.

A short two-minute drive along the clean and quaint streets (past the municipal office with signage modeled after Star Trek—a nice touch) and we arrive. Just another store on another street it would seem, but looks can be deceiving. The sign, written in black on a white backdrop above the store, reads: TREKCETERA MUSEUM – FROM THE WILD WEST TO THE FINAL FRONTIER. A catchy slogan, for sure, and apropos for the sights ahead. We enter the lobby to find ourselves standing alongside several other visitors eager to engage. From behind a door emerges Michael, with an impressive mustache that would give Snidely Whiplash pause. However, unlike that dastardly villain, Michael has a warm and engaging presence that immediately makes us feel at home.

He starts off the tour with a mini-tour, as it were, through the lobby. Framed, signed portraits of old-time movie stars line the walls and Michael shares stories of his upbringing in Calgary and his personal association with several of the Hollywood elite displayed before us (and no way will I divulge—you’ll have to stop by to hear from Michael yourself). After regaling us in the lobby, we are led into the main attraction.

Our first stop is a room that holds not Star Trek memorabilia, but rather some jaw-dropping pieces from such projects as Captain America: The First Avenger, Terra Nova, and the Thunderbirds TV series, and other goodies (perhaps some Titanic?), all while a video of Michael welcoming you to the museum plays on the wall monitor. Next, we head down a strobe-lit hall that leads into… Star Trek nirvana.

In this wide open room are original costumes on display from Enterprise, actual blueprint designs for various shows, and props from most iterations (again, I’m not the expert, and even I recognized some of these iconic items). The costumes deserve a special mention. Michael does not believe in trapping them behind glass. He feels that in order to really appreciate them, they need to breathe. And breathe they do. Of course you can’t touch, but seeing them without any impedance gives the displays an extra depth, and the colors come alive, so much so that you can practically sense the actors standing in front of you.

Down we head to our final corridor, lined on either side with costumes from every era (except for the original series—those were destroyed after the series ended). Each of these tells a tale, and Michael is more than eager to share with the crowd. Once he has filled us with fascinating behind-the-scenes bon mots, we head back to the lobby where we find more memorabilia that I somehow bypassed when we came in: Christopher Reeve’s cape from Superman III! How did I miss that?

Before we leave, we chat with Michael for a bit. I thank him for not only the tour, but also for what he and Devan have accomplished in Vulcan. They have been able to not only turn their love of movies and memorabilia into a thriving business, but in doing so have helped their town bloom in these uncertain economic times. Mr. Spock’s motto is “live long and prosper”, and as we make our drive back to the city, I can’t help but feel that Devan and Michael have taken this adage to heart.

Beam up to Vulcan, Alberta, Canada for Vul-Con 2016 this July 9th and 10th and help celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Special guests include Adam Nimoy, Sally Kellerman, Julie Cobb, and many others! For more details check the website:

  • Scott Drebit
    About the Author - Scott Drebit

    Scott Drebit lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is happily married (back off ladies) with 2 grown kids. He has had a life-long, torrid, love affair with Horror films. He grew up watching Horror on VHS, and still tries to rewind his Blu-rays. Some of his favourite horror films include Phantasm, Alien, Burnt Offerings, Phantasm, Zombie, Halloween, and Black Christmas. Oh, and Phantasm.