Vulcan is a town in the prairies of southern Alberta, Canada within Vulcan County. It is located on Highway 23, midway between the cities of Calgary and Lethbridge. The population of the town was 1,836 in 2011.
The town was named by a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1915 after the Roman God of Fire – Vulcan. Originally all the streets of Vulcan were named after gods and goddesses of the classical world such as Juno, Mars, and Jupiter. In July 1927, a major tornado destroyed many homes and the new curling rink in the town. That tornado was made famous when a photograph of it approaching Vulcan was used for the "tornado" article in Encyclopædia Britannica.
The town's name has brought some attention that has helped it become a tourist attraction.In the Star Trek television and feature film series it is the name of the homeworld of Spock and his fellow Vulcans.
Capitalizing on this coincidence, the town has built a Star Trek–themed tourist station (the Tourism and Trek Station), which provides tourist information, displays Star Trek memorabilia, provides unique photo opportunities, and allows visitors to participate in The Vulcan Space Adventure virtual reality game. Nearby, a replica of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek V has been mounted on a pedestal which includes writing from Trek alien languages like Klingon. The town has also created space-themed murals and signs, and hosts an annual community-wide Star Trek convention known as "Spock Days". This convention attracts hundreds of Star Trek fans from around the world. In 2013, the TrekCetera Star Trek museum opened in Vulcan.
Since 1990, Vulcan has hosted the annual Vulcan Tinman Triathlon, which takes place at the beginning of June. This sprint-distance triathlon attracts nearly 1,000 participants.There are classes for adults of all ages and skill levels as well as for teams and children.At one time, Vulcan had nine grain elevators, more than any location west of Winnipeg, making it the largest grain shipping point at that time.Due to the changing economics of the agricultural industry, the original elevators were taken down one by one. Today, Vulcan has only one of the "prairie skyscrapers" left that once could be seen miles away. Although not original, this last wooden elevator was built in the 1980s.
A British Commonwealth Air Training Plan air force base, RCAF Station Vulcan, was located a few kilometres southwest of the town during the Second World War. Many of the old hangars still exist and the runways can still be seen.