At the heart of Alberta's wheat country is Vulcan, a town named for the Roman God of Fire and the Forge. Vulcan was incorporated as a village in 1912 and quickly grew into a major grain shipping point, boasting nine iconic grain elevators--the so-called '9 in a line'--more than any other town west of Winnipeg. A huge tornado ripped through Vulcan in 1927, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. During the Second World War an airbase was established just southwest of town, bringing an influx of airmen from across the Commonwealth for a time.
Today, all but one of the grain elevators have been demolished, but the town continues to serve as the service hub for Vulcan County. The tight-knit community have created murals and public art around town, and erected attractions like Solar Park--the first of its kind in Alberta. Vulcan also happens to share its name with the logical, pointy-eared race in Star Trek. This has drawn many fans of the TV show to Vulcan, and Spock has become something of a local mascot, with the visitor centre designed to look like a miniature Starship Enterprise.
This project is a partnership with the Vulcan & District Historical Society.
We acknowledge that Vulcan is on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearpaw, and Wesley First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
Then and Now Photos
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In this dramatic picture the sky is blackened by the tornado that has just ripped through downtown Vulcan. This photo was snapped by a photographer standing in the middle of Centre Street. You can see at left the distinctive cupola of the
After the Big Storm
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People are digging out after an early October snow storm in this early photo. Notice the large numbers of horses tied up at hitching posts up and down the street, once a common sight.
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The Parrish & Heimbecker Grain Co. elevator in the process of being torn down.
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Several buildings on the north side of Centre Street. Second from right is the A Mitchell & Co. Farmlands Insurance, a key business in Vulcan that helped farmers get through lean years.
The Calgary Highlanders
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Men from the Calgary Highlanders Regiment stand at ease in front of the hotel during a parade on Vulcan's Centre Street.
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Looking northeast on Centre Street towards the Imperial Hotel.
After the Snowfall
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A man poses for a photo in Centre Street amid great drifts of snow.
A Man and his Dog
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A man walks along Centre Street's boardwalk with his faithful companion.
9 in a Line
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This photo shows the famous "9 in a line" grain elevators that once stood alongside the railway tracks of Vulcan. Today only one of them survives.
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A few homes on 1st St. South, which was once known as Apollo Street. This photo gives a sense of how barren the landscape was before those recently planted saplings grew into the sturdy, shady trees they are today.
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Several men stop for a photo in their touring car in front of the B.C. Restaurant.
Service at the Cenotaph
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A small crowd watch a sermon given by an army chaplain at Vulcan's cenotaph. A member of the honour guard just to the right of the chaplain is playing taps on a bugle.
Unveiling the Cenotaph
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An honour guard watch as Vulcan's updated cenotaph is unveiled. It has been updated to add the names of those who have fallen in the Second World War.