In my recent tribute to Leonard Nimoy “Leonard Nimoy … Cowboy” I was remiss in not mentioning Leonard’s Nimoy’s wonderful and classy visit to the small town of Vulcan, Alberta.
Thought I’d make up for that now.
A small Alberta farming town, nestled halfway between Calgary and Lethbridge, is in mourning today.
The most famous citizen of the planet of Vulcan, “Star Trek” star Leonard Nimoy, died on Friday at the age of 83, and now the town of Vulcan, Alberta has to say goodbye to Mr. Spock.
“He was such a humble and great ambassador…and just a great person to visit with,” Mayor Tom Grant told Yahoo Canada News.
“Our condolences are definitely with his family and friends.”
The tight-knit community was initially named after the Roman god of fire by a railway surveyor in 1910, and for many years its greatest claim to fame was a large collection of grain elevators.
But as “Star Trek” grew as a cultural touchstone through the latter decades of the 20th century, Vulcan embraced its connection to Spock’s homeworld. The Vulcan Association of Science and Trek was established in the late 1980s to use the city’s link to one of science fiction’s most beloved franchises to attract tourists. In 2009, with Nimoy’s help, it became the Official Star Trek Capital of Canada.
Now, a welcome plaque greets visitors not just in English, but in the alien tongues of Vulcan and Klingon. A Trek-inspired tourist centre sports an array of memorabilia, while a replica of the Starship Enterprise is mounted nearby. For visiting Trekkies who still need more, the TrekCetera Museum opened in 2013.
In March 2009, the town campaigned to host the world premiere of director J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek.
Nimoy pushed for the screening, and said it was a “terribly sad and disappointing day” when their bid was ultimately rejected.
“I made some calls to some people at Paramout, and I arranged for Paramount to do a screening in Calgary for the people of Vulcan, and to bus some people from Vulcan to Calgary.”
He said that around 300 people ended up making the trip.
One year later, Mr. Spock beamed into Vulcan, arriving as something of a rock star.
Grant says that the estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 people came to Vulcan “just to see the man” — a significant draw in a community of less than 2,000.
After unveiling a bronze bust of Spock commissioned by the town, Nimoy addressed the cheering crowd, many sporting pointed ears and Starfleet uniforms.
“I’ve been a Vulcan for 44 years,” he said. “It’s about time I came home.
“In all these experiences I’ve never had an experience quite as touching as I’m having here today and I appreciate it, thank you.”
He concluded his last words to the town with a traditional Vulcan greeting.
“May all of you live long and prosper.”
There ya go.
Live long and prosper.