A road trip through Canadian prairies will turn up some truly fascinating and unique towns. From a town that honours the Starship Enterprise to the world’s largest curling rock, there’s no shortage of quirky places to make the trip worthwhile, writes Jim Byers.
This is a town in the south of the province that bills itself as the Star Trek Capital of Canada. For the uninitiated, Vulcan is the home planet of Mr Spock in the Star Trek TV and movie series.
You’ll find a large likeness of the USS Enterprise starship in town. When he was alive, the fellow who played Spock in the early TV shows and movies (Leonard Nimoy) would occasionally show up for Star Trek conventions.
The annual Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival is a great way to enjoy live theatre on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. I saw a great version of Taming of the Shrew a few years ago, updated to a 1960s setting.
The food is exceptional at Ayden Kitchen and Bar. Riversdale is an up-and-coming neighbourhood with great galleries, coffee shops and more.
Flin Flon, Manitoba
This is an old mining town in northern Manitoba named after a fictional book character named Flintabbaty Flonatin. Bakers Narrows Provincial Park is a wonderful spot for camping and fishing. The Northern Visual Arts Centre is a fun place for kids to get creative.
Pincher Creek, Alberta
The town is located in the south of Alberta, close to both the low Crowsnest Pass route to British Columbia and a short drive from majestic Waterton Lakes National Park. The town has hosted several Cowboy Poetry Festivals, with readings, live musical performances and more.
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
The town is famous as a centre for rum-runners and criminals during Prohibition, and they say there are tunnels in town used by infamous Chicago criminal Al Capone. Take a visit to Mac the Moose for a great Instagram shot, then hit Manitou Springs Resort and Spa to float in Canada’s largest indoor mineral pool.
Established in 1894 as a Francophone community, this is one of the French language centres in a province not exactly known for bilingualism.
There’s no giant statue of the Eiffel Tower or many baguettes, but you will find some three dozen murals in this small, central Alberta town, making it the self-proclaimed and remarkably specialised French Mural Capital of the World on a per capita basis.
The Pas Manitoba
This is simply a frontier town with some cool bits, including funky signs and one of the province’s oldest settlements. They claim to have one of three of the world’s ‘true blue lakes’. It was a traditional meeting place for natives and French and English fur traders.
Alberta long ago was home to some of the world’s largest dinosaurs. Their bones now litter the area, which is home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. It’s both a tourist attraction and a world-class research spot that families will love. Check out the ‘world’s largest dinosaur’ out front. Nearby, Horseshoe Canyon is a lovely rafting spot.
Canadians are into the sport of curling, played with round ‘rocks’ on sheets of ice, which aren’t hard to find during a Canadian winter. The town of Arborg proudly displays what it calls the world’s largest curling rock, a monster stone that’s 2.1 metres high and 4.2 metres wide.
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