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In April 2010, the city of Calgary was going to hold it's big Comic and Entertainment Expo - and as these big events go, they often bring in big names. One such name was that of the incomparable Leonard Nimoy. A small farming town an hour south of the city had taken notice of this fact...
A bit of background first; For a quarter century, Vulcan, Alberta has faithfully adopted Star Trek (and particularly Mr. Spock, the favorite son of the planet with which the town shares it's name) as a theme for the town and a tourist draw, complete with statues, murals and annual "Spock Days" in the summer. Sort of a Canadian prairie version of Roswell, NM
As a reward for it's faithfulness to Star Trek all these years, the town had lobbied Paramount Studios the previous year to hold a special premier of the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie in the town, a request that was soon turned down as it was deemed there was no facility suitable in the town of under 4000 for such an event. It turns out however, that Mr. Nimoy caught wind of this news and at his insistence Paramount did honor the town with a special advance screening in Calgary. Vulcans seemed to love the movie, despite the planet's fate in the film.
When the time came for the Calgary Expo, the small town was to be blessed further - It was announced that Mr. Nimoy would pay a visit to the town while in the area!
Now, a pop culture and sometimes-sci-fi fan like myself couldn't pass up such an opportunity, so my Dad and I both took that afternoon off to make the drive to Vulcan.
I though it would be a big event, but upon arriving in town, my expectations were exceeded when I saw cars, trucks and news vans parked everywhere. We docked the car at a motel and I ran ahead down the street to see if I had missed anything. With camera out, I swam into the crowd, spying over their heads to see a wonderfully cheesy USS Enterprise (or to be accurate USS "ExtendiCare") float with billowing smoke and a girl perched on the each side; one green and one blue.
I then saw a handful of big burly men accompanying a dark, slow moving SUV and swarms of camera-wielding people enveloping it. With surprising ease, I asserted my way right up to the vehicle (well, as close as the burly men allowed) and craning my neck to peer in the window of the thing, I saw a shadowed figure sitting inside. It was Nimoy! I gave a quick wave and snapped a couple of photos. He looked pleased to just sit back and take it all in.
Now, I'm certainly not one for people worship, but knowing that the famous Leonard Nimoy... Mr. Spock... spent a second or two of his life looking directly at me - Well the thought did strike me as kinda cool.
The SUV soon disappeared somewhere into the crowd, so I went on over to a modest stage where everyone seemed to be gathering. After a few minutes of confusion, a surprisingly great looking Spock bust was unveiled, followed by some introductory blah blah blah. A cheer roared through the crowd as Leonard came up on stage to speak. "Spock has finally come home!" was his well-received opening remark. He went on to say he had never received such a warm welcome, and spoke humorously about his career, the show, and William Shatner. He spoke of his hopes for the future and left us with his sincere thanks.
The bald man on the far right here giving the Vulcan salute is the town's mayor (a quite unpredictable development if a once-classmate of his in my family is to be believed). I found some incriminating evidence on the guy though...
I also spotted this;
I have no idea what "Romulan Ale" really is.
This happy accident was a quick over-the-shoulder photo. The man in the maroon jacket is an area CTV news producer.
The lady in red here is Canadian senator Joyce Fairbairn.
I even found some Kids' Trek-inspired drawings posted at a gas station...
All in all it was a cool experience and a perfect day for someone like me who gets a kick out of kitchy, campy stuff. If you do too, I'm sure a visit to Vulcan's "Spock Days" this summer will have a lot to offer you :) Be warned, comparing your hand size against Nimoy's giant cement handprints may leave you with an inferiority complex.
Oh, and be sure to stop at the bakery where a friendly old gentleman will sell you the best cream puff you've ever eaten!