Tiny Albertan Towns Even Smaller Than Nordegg
SUNIA takes place in the tiny town of Nordegg, Alberta -- a seriously tiny town to be sure, with only 2500 residents (or so). While we at SUNIA love to joke about just how small this hamlet is, it turns out there’s a multitude of Alberta towns even smaller. Several of these towns are very unique, boasting spotlight attractions that are interesting, quirky or downright strange. Here are just a few of these tiny Alberta gems:
1. Vulcan (1917 people, 0.77 of a Nordegg)
Vulcan is a small community south of Calgary, initially named after the Roman god of fire when it was incorporated in 1912. However, when Star Trek came out years later, the name took on a whole new meaning. Now there’s a model of the Starship Enterprise (complete with a Klingon plaque), a full visitor centre, a virtual reality game, and plenty of memorabilia from the movies. The land that once was proudest of its nine (9!) grain elevators is now a geek paradise.
2. Torrington (170 people, 0.07 of a Nordegg)
A hamlet east of Calgary, Torrington is quite the interesting place. The locally famous Gopher Hole Museum shows gophers in a variety of occupations, such as a firefighter, RCMP officer, and even as Mozart. The museum website is written from the perspective of a gopher, and the dioramas on display are designed to show off “some of our favourite activities as a species”. The same website even has a section labelled “Gopher Friends” that highlights publications that feature them in their content… so they might be getting an email from us soon.
3. St. Paul (2338 people, 0.94 of a Nordegg)
Alien invasions are not typically events that guide urban planning, but St. Paul, Alberta, is far from typical. They have installed a UFO landing pad in the town in an effort to draw in tourists (from this planet or others). It was commissioned in 1967 by none other than the federal Minister of Defense alongside a total of 100 “centennial projects”. It has a plaque proclaiming the area of the pad as belonging to no nation, as a symbol of how the far universe should be and welcomes visitors from any planetary designation. While in SUNIA’s eligibility criteria it does state students must be born on earth, if the aliens were to enrol at St. Paul Regional High School… perhaps they may also be allowed to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of international affairs with the rest of us this summer.
4. Beaverlodge (2460 people, 0.98 of a Nordegg)
Where better a place to lodge a giant beaver? With a population just barely smaller than that of Nordegg, Beaverlodge is home to the world’s largest roadside Beaver weighing in at 1500 pounds. Constructed using over 50 litres of paint and 340 litres of polyurethane, it is sure to grab the attention of any passers-by. With a spectacular view of the attraction sits the local chamber of commerce and cultural centre… but, most interestingly of all, a place where you can rent snowmobiles just up 1st avenue.