The town of Vulcan in southern Alberta is famously known as the official Star Trek capital of Canada. But this summer, the town stepped up to a challenge and boldly went where it has not gone before.
“When I got the email from ParticipACTION that said we were named Alberta’s most active community, I was thrilled,” said recreation co-ordinator for the town of Vulcan Channing Schneider.
The national Better Community Challenge is organized by ParticipACTION. Communities across the country compete by tracking physical activity minutes on an app between June 1-30. Then, finalist communities are asked to send an application explaining why they deserve to win the title of Canada’s most active community and $100,000.
Vulcan didn’t win the national title, but the small community managed to beat out larger cities like Edmonton and Calgary to win the provincial title and $15,000.
“I guess the committee saw that for a small community of under 2,000 people, we put a lot of minutes in for the community size that we have,” said Schneider.
Schneider said the town pushed its fitness challenge a month back to coincide with the Better Community Challenge.
The town organized community events for people to take part in, like community walks or fitness in the park sessions.
But one of the most popular activities was swimming at the new town pool, which opened in May — just in time for the Community Better Challenge to kickoff.
“I was blown away by what the community did,” said Schneider. “Over two million minutes of activity by over 250 people. I mean, I just couldn’t believe that.”
He’s not the only one impressed by the small town.
“They really rose to the top as one community in Alberta that really took to heart the essence of this challenge,” said CEO of ParticipACTION Elio Antunes, “and really mobilized their entire community around it.”
Antunes was most impressed by the way the town was able to pivot and work within the changing COVID-19 restrictions.
“They really were adaptable and innovative in ways to get their entire community physically active.”
Saying the entire community isn’t a stretch either. One-hundred-year-old Vulcan resident Helene Graff made sure she stepped up to the challenge to help her town.
“I think it’s just important to stay active,” she said with a giggle.
Graff is an avid walker who takes a daily stroll around the block of her seniors’ home. It’s her favourite way to stretch her legs and get in some physical activity.
But she’s not picky.
Now that Vulcan has two official titles, Schneider said he plans on making sure they keep them.