EDMONTON - Officials with Travel Alberta say the economic benefit will outweigh the cost of bringing reality TV stars to Edmonton last weekend.
The province and the Edmonton Economic Development Corp.dished out about $20,000 to bring in "Bachelorette" stars Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum.
The couple took in the Edmonton Fringe Festival, visited the Art Gallery of Alberta and dined at local restaurants.
Richard Wong with Travel Alberta says it's an investment that should pay off in the long run.
Wong admits it's hard to measure the amount of economic return from such a visit.
But he says the exposure through social media alone is a huge boost.
"In comparison to what we're getting back, it was certainly a good investment."
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Yes, there are Trekkies everywhere. You can even find them in great numbers in comic and sci-fi convetions all over the world. But what if a whole town got in the act? That's exactly what happened in Vulcan, a small town that's embraced its inner geek in galactic proportions. And it works so well even Leonard Nimoy showed up and saw first hand the scores of Star Trek fans who make the pilgrimage to the tiny town each year, the massive Starship Enterprise that greets visitors to the hamlet and the Vulcan Tourism Trek Station, ahem, tourist centre, where you can grab Spock ears. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZq7wJd2vsQ&noredirect=1" target="_hplink">WATCH Leonard Nimoy's visit to Vulcan</a> and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh27yMnLQe4" target="_hplink">Vulcanites doing what they do best</a>. (Wikipedia)
Kananaskis Prisoner Of War Camp
Second World War POW camps are still to this day a solemn subject and many Albertans find it odd that there were several of the camps right in their backyards. Camps were located throughout the province, including Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Seebe, in Kananaskis Country, as seen here. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/appaloosa/" target="_hplink">Appaloosa</a>, Flickr.com)
The Biggest Dinosaur In The World, Drumheller
Yes, Drumheller is home to the Royal Tyrell Museum. The royal designation is a well-deserved one for the world-leading and renowned archeological facility. But what if you are looking for a more primal experience? What if you want to drive along the hoodoos, which look like they were pulled from The Land Before Time and that usher visitors to the town, and just want to have a rediculously primordial experience. Drumheller can provide that too, with the world's biggest dinosaur. This particular dinosaur is not a living beast, nor was it ever, but it is huge. And, for a couple of bucks, you can climb inside and take in the panoramic view of the town and the badlands beyond. Now, that's odd. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/joetourist/" target="_hplink">Joe_tourist</a>, Flickr.com)
It's a solemn site but to stand before the rock slide that crushed the old town of Frank nearly 110 years ago is to be overwhelmed by scale. There really is no other place like it in Alberta. The town, and most of its occupants, remain buried by the millions of tons of gigantic rocks that wiped it from the face of the Earth in 1903. It is Canada's deadliest rock slide and if nothing else it is solemnly unique. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gord99/" target="_hplink">Gord McKenna</a>, Flickr)
Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington
There's odd and then there's look-at-that-gopher-dressed-like-Mozart-next-to-a-firetruck odd. That's what awaits the daring visitors to the Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington. If you've ever wondered what a gopher would look like if he had chosen to live life as a man of the cloth, as a farmer, or a Mountie, there is a stuffed gopher at the museum who can put your curiosity to rest. For being about such small critters, the Gopher Hole Museum is one big oddity. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/" target="_hplink">Cogdog</a>, Flickr.com)
Erratic Rock, Okotoks
It's enough to make someone feel erratic. The massive rock just outside Okotoks is believed to weigh more than 15,000 tonnes, which is why it is also comnonly known as Big Rock. Sound familiar? That's where the popular brewery gets its name. What makes this rock worth visiting - even if you're not a Trad drinker - is that it's the biggest of countless of other erratic rocks that were deposited along the foothills by massive glaciers thousands of years ago but that originated in Jasper National Park. That's a pretty long way for such a big rock to go. (Wikipedia)
Not only is this an extremely odd geomorphological formation, the way in which it was discovered is also odd. The Badlands Guardian, located near Medicine Hat, is a feature that from the air bares a striking resemblance to a human head wearing a traditional Native headdress and iPod ear buds. And if that wasn't odd enough, the feature - a natural drainage with a road leading to an oil well located where an ear would be - was found by Lynn Hickox while browsing Google Earth images in 2006. Top that for odd! (Google Earth)
So Toronto, the biggest city in Canada, has an iconic tower with a restaurant on top. Calgary, Alberta's biggest city, has an iconic tower with a restaurant on top. So, why not Lethbridge? The southern Alberta city also has a tower - formerly the town's water tower - and it too has a restaurant on top. Eye-sore or iconic? You tell us in the comments. (Youtube)
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
The aggressive name of this UNESCO world heritage site doesn't leave much to the imagination. The buffalo jump was used for 5,500 years by the Blackfoot people before horses were common. They drove the buffaloes off the cliff and used their carcasses to make homes, weapons and clothing. Now, the site has an interactive museum and is in the foothills of the rocky mountains.
World's First UFO Landing Pad
Do you believe in extra terrestrials? St. Paul does. They created the first UFO landing pad in order to bring in tourists and aliens. Best of both worlds? The landing pad was opened in 1967 and if you didn't think things could be weirder, the sign says, "The area under the World's First UFO Landing Pad was designated international by the Town of St. Paul as a symbol of our faith that mankind will maintain the outer universe free from national wars and strife. That future travel in space will be safe for all intergalactic beings, all visitors from earth or otherwise are welcome to this territory and to the Town of St. Paul." This is a place the family is sure to enjoy.
The Beaverlodge Beaver
The world's largest roadside beaver makes his home in Beaverlodge, Alta. It took 18 blocks of foam, 13 gallons of paint and 90 gallons of polyurethane to cover and weighs more than 1,500 pounds. You'll have to drive a long way to get a piece of this beaver, however -- this buck-toothed Canadian icon rests on the side of the highway in northwestern Alberta on the way to the Alaska Highway. Is it worth the drive to Beaverlodge? We'll let you decide.