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On Obscura Day, Celebrate Canada’s Weirdest Places

By WAHEEDA HARRIS

World's largest weathervane, Yukon (Photo: Arthur Chapman)

Finding the recently discovered or unknown can be tough for a traveller. But AtlasObscura.com, an online atlas devoted to the world’s wonders, curiosities and esoterica, is fixated on the strange.

Encouraging travellers and explorers to share their fave obscure discoveries, the Web site has proclaimed April 28 Obscura Day, an international celebration of unusual places.

In Canada, Alberta and British Columbia are noted for their weird and wonderful, with more than 20 oddities listed in each province. The Yukon, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland also have unique places on the list, bringing the current total of obscure Canadian listings to more than 60.

Who’s made the list? Northern Ontario’s Midlothian Castle in Burke’s Falls; the Yukon’s Watson Lake Sign Post Forest and the World’s Largest Weathervane (a retired airplane); the hoodoos of Drumheller, Alberta; and the Enchanted Forest, an outdoor museum of fairies and sprites in the cedar forest of Revelstoke, British Columbia.

But one place that stands out is the town of St. Paul in northern Alberta, where the world’s first UFO landing pad was built. Finished in 1967 as one of the 100 Canadian Centennial projects, the landing pad’s inscription states, “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.”

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