Did you know that Capt. Kirk is Canadian?
OK, that's a bit of a stretch. But William Shatner, who played Capt. Kirk in the original "Star Trek," is most definitely Canadian, hailing from Montreal. Long before he commanded a Federation starship, Shatner was performing at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, and appearing on the Canadian "Howdy Doody" show as Ranger Bob.
With that connection, Canada is clearly excited to celebrate its connection to Star Trek during the show's 50th Anniversary with a series of coins, stamps and special exhibits.
Shatner was just in Ottawa last week to attend the opening of the Starfleet Academy Experience. This new interactive educational exhibit casts visitors as Starfleet cadets, highlighting current and near-future technology within a Star Trek-themed environment. Cadets receive training in science, engineering, medical and command, graduate from Starfleet, and visit the deck of an active starship.
The exhibit also details Star Trek’s influence on real-world technology, and explains the actual science within the science-fiction. The Starfleet Academy Experience is located at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, running through Sept. 5.
While in Ottawa, Shatner also helped unveil the first of a series of Star Trek-themed collectible coins to be produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. Four $10 coins will be released that pair an iconic Star Trek character (Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scotty) with technology from the show, while four $20 coins feature scenes from classic episodes.
These coins are made primarily of silver and feature color over an engraved image. They retail for just under $43 and $85 — or $55 and $110 in Canadian dollars. A more affordable $20 fine silver coin depicting the Enterprise will be sold at Canadian face value — the equivalent of a little more than $15 U.S.
For numismatists with deeper pockets, a truly unique $200 gold coin in the shape of the Starfleet delta shield emblem can be purchased for a mere $1,300 Canadian, or about $1,006 U.S. These coins will be produced in limited quantities and released over the next few months.
Meanwhile over at Canada Post — the Canadian mail system — all nine stamps from their Star Trek 50th anniversary collection have now been revealed.
The Enterprise and a Klingon battle cruiser each receive their own stamp, as do Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Klingon Cmdr. Kor.
Canada is well represented in this group, claiming three of the five actors as its own. Aside from Shatner, James Doohan (Scotty) was born in Vancouver, and John Colicos (Kor) is from Toronto. The final two stamps in the collection show scenes from "City on the Edge of Forever."
These stamps are lenticular, which create the illusion of movement when viewed from different angles.
These items represent an opportunity for fans to fill gaps in the Canadian corner of their Star Trek collection. And it's a stronger connection now than ever before. "Star Trek: Beyond" used British Columbia for some principal photography, while the new Star Trek series coming to CBS next January will shoot in Toronto later this year.
Even if Capt. Kirk technically is not Canadian.