The people of Vulcan, Alberta Canada are hoping to build Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. Not a model, but the real thing. There is even a $2 Billion crowdfunding effort to "Help Vulcan Alberta Build the USS Enterprise." TrekMovie talked to the people behind the effort to find out what is going on here.
Vulcans Want To Build The Enterprise?
The town of Vuclan, Alberta Canada has gone out of its way to play up its Star Trek name, including being named the official Star Trek capital of Canada and getting Leonard Nimoy to drop by to dedicate a bronze bust in his honor. Visitors of the town are even greeted with a scale model of "Starship Vulcan" – but now they appear to want to seriously super-size it.
The $2 Billion (Canadian) "Help Vulcan Alberta Build the USS Enterprise" campaign on Indiegogo is raising some eyebrows. The “plan” isn’t to build a full-sized ship tourist attraction (like the one proposed for Las Vegas back in the 90s), but to actually attempt to build the real thing. In fact the $2B is just R&D start-up money, as explained in the Indiedgogo page intro:
The far reaches of space – the final frontier – are within mankind’s grasp now more than ever. And the town of Vulcan AB, located in the Canadian Badlands, is set to bring the future of our civilization, our species and our planet one step closer with this monumental 40-year, $1.132 Trillion project to build a 1:1 scale fully functional U.S.S. Enterprise starship.
To prepare the full project launch, we need to raise an initial $2 000 000 000 in order to fund important research into the creation, and development, of warp-drive technology.
Promo video for "Build the Enterprise" campaign
This scheme to build an actual USS Enterprise in Canada includes some sketches and even a detailed $1.132 Trillion budget. For example, one budget line item is allocating $40B for "wormhole theory – creation / stabalization." They propose using the current Royal Canadian Air Force Station in Vulcan as the basis for a new "Vulcan Spaceport" where the Enterprise will be built (so they are taking the JJ Abrams era built it on the ground approach and foregoing a spacedock). In fact, if you donate $1B they will name the spaceport after you. And for just $500M, they will name the “Vulcan Super-Luminal Research Centre” in your honor. There is also a timetable with the plan to launch the ship in 2050 to begin testing and eventual warp trials, all wrapping up by 2058.
A Warp-speed Publicity Stunt
So far the campaign has attracted around $2,000 in donations, so it doesn’t look like they will meet their $2 Billion short term goal when it wraps up on October 4th. But that’s OK – in fact that is exactly the point according to Chris McLellan, of Canadian Badlands Tourism and the man behind the campaign. McLellan tells TrekMovie that the tourism bureau was "looking for a little bit out there type of campaign" in order to attract attention to the Badlands area of Alberta. "We wanted to see if we can get some notice," said McLellan. And it has worked, garnering media attention inside and out of Canada.
"Trek Station" tourism center in Vulcan, Alberta, Canada
McLellan noted how he was "surprised" to find that while "most understand it was for publicity, there are a few who think it is serious." He made it clear that they are not actually collecting any actual donations from the Indigogo campaign. "The money was not the goal, we just thought it would be quirky and fun," explains McLellan.
You see, every year the town of Vulcan holds a "Spock Days" event which includes a parade and community events along with a sort of mini Star Trek convention, including some Trek celebrities. This year Rene Auberjonois was the big star (see him in parade video below). In recent years other Trek celebs attending "Spock Days" include Robert Picardo, Walter Koenig, Nana Visitor, and Ethan Philips. For 2015 they plan to split the con portion of the event out, and hold the Spock Days parade and community games and fair in June and a separate "Vul-con" Star Trek convention in July. And the Indigogo campaign was part of the effort to draw attention. "We wanted to help give Vulcan an additional push," noted McLellan.
So there you have it. A small town in Canada – originally named for the Roman god – continues to have some fun with its Star Trek sounding name. May they live long and prosper (and hopefully attract more tourists).
2014 "Spock Days" parade in Vulcon, Alberta, Canada + tour of Trek Station and Starship model (video by: Ryan Heavy)