The Aliens of St. Paul
Whether you want to believe in aliens or not, St. Paul, Alberta, is undoubtedly leaving themselves open to the possibility. Since 1967, the small town has made it known that they are the place to land for visiting intelligent life.
Although most small towns rely on a quirky roadside attraction to drum up business, you never can tell what the real results will be. That is especially true when you include a tip line to call, 1-800-SEE-UFOS.
How did St. Paul get into the business of interstellar valet parking? And have any space travelers chosen to park their saucer there yet?
The answers may surprise you as this small town leaves the door open to chance. Hopefully, the aliens come in new vehicles
because I’m not sure the local Ford dealership
is going to have their parts in stock.
What is It?
The town did not install the centerpiece randomly. In fact, the city waited until the country’s centennial celebration before placing the saucer outside.
In the rear of the statue, a large map of the country made of rock from each province awaits eager visitors. Although rock-based cartography may seem primitive, at least you know the ink won’t fade.
The landing pad is a small circular space, complete with brightly coloured flags and a broad set of stairs leading to the ground. Hopefully, the aliens aren’t driving the saucer version of a Ford
Escalade, because there won’t be that much space to land.
The phone hotline isn’t just working but monitored. It’s become the official “unofficial” centre for UFO sightings.
In fact, some of the items came to St. Paul via the J. Allen Hynek Centre for UFO Studies. Hynek famously worked under three official government alien programs for the United States, as well as completed his research into the subject, and even hosted a TV series.
But the centre was missing something. In 1990, a neighboring visitor’s centre was constructed, also shaped like a flying saucer.
Here, the added mystery of potential photographs hangs from the wall. The centre doubles as a small museum dedicated to the possibility that the truth is out there.
Finally, there’s a time capsule primed for opening on the 100th anniversary of the attraction. While no one has landed on the pad yet, aliens do have until the festivities begin in 2067.
Why a Landing Pad?
Even some leading scientists agree that, at least from a statistical perspective, that alien life must exist. Even China has recently launched dedicated efforts to find signs of life among the stars.
The landing pad was constructed a little tongue in cheek, but it is successful as a roadside attraction. It attracts a decent number of skeptics and believers each year.
What’s more surprising is that the St. Paul landing pad isn’t the only one of its kind. Roswell, New Mexico, has long been considered one of the original landing sites, while Ares, France, has their version of a landing port.
How popular are these alien-hunting destinations? Roswell hosts an annual alien festival, while Ares greets over 20,000 human travelers each year.
Even if St. Paul isn’t lucky enough to get their hands on an alien used vehicle like Roswell, it does wonders for tourism. You may also find that a local car dealership
, like Vegreville Ford
, using inflatable aliens for their advertising needs.
Is St. Paul All Aliens?
Surprisingly, St. Paul is not just a “Roswell” to the north. In fact, aliens play little into the town’s economy.
St. Paul is home to a little more than 5,000 permanent residents, most of which work in farming or the service industry. Maybe alien sightings originally came from bored farm hands, or perhaps something is visiting from outer space.
Like many Canadian towns, St. Paul has a thriving arts and cultural program. In addition to the landing pad, visitors can learn more about our history at the St. Paul Historical Museum.
Additional cultural displays can be found at the St. Paul Visual Arts Centre, the People’s Museum Society, and the Mother Teresa House. If you’re looking for something more industrial, many local partnerships offer tours of their manufacturing facilities.
There are loads of opportunities for family fun as well. The town is home to many recreational centres, including indoor ice skating arenas, a community indoor swimming pool, curling rink, sports fields, and more.
Outdoor recreation is essential to any red-blooded Canadian. St. Paul is lucky to have the Iron Horse Trail, the attraction of choice to many outdoor enthusiasts.
Iron Horse Trail consists of more than 300 kilometers of various trail spaces. Walking the paths, you go from forest to parkland to farmland.
Many different species of wildlife can be discovered along the way, making for an exciting day spent outdoors. Hiking the paths is also the best way to see what the community has to offer.
Hiking isn’t the only activity allowed, however. The trails are designed for nearly any exercise, including mountain biking, horse riding, wagon riding, ATV operators, and snowmobiles in the winter.
If that all sounds too rugged for you, the town does have 15 municipal parks to visit as well. These may be safer, or more appropriate, for younger visitors.
Has Anything Landed Yet?
So far, the only craft to land on the UFO pad has been on the inaugural opening of the attraction. Paul Hellyer, then the Minister of National Defense, officially opened the pad by landing on it via helicopter.
However, the chopper is the first and last known craft to utilize the landing pad. Maybe one day we’ll look out there and discover a flying saucer or some other form of new cars from space sitting there.
Until that day comes, St. Paul
will be like any other Alberta city. Quiet, quaint, and patiently waiting for visitors from this planet and beyond. While the vehicles for sale
may come from Ford
and not from the final frontier, it’s at least a sweet sentiment.