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14 Facts About Alberta That Will Make You Go "Aww"

Home of the world's longest beaver dam.

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1. The phrase "trick or treat!" first began in Alberta.

Colleen McMahon / Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: gatz125

Halloween's history goes back hundreds of years, but the earliest known use of "trick or treat" didn't occur until 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, when a newspaper reported on costumed "pranksters" uttering the phrase at different houses. (Before that, kids were probably just saying "gimme candy.")

2. The world's longest beaver dam is in Wood Buffalo National Park and measures 850 metres (or 2,790 feet) long.

The enormity of the dam wasn't noticed until someone spotted in on Google Earth in 2007, but apparently several generations of beavers have worked on the dam since 1975. The dam beat the previous record set by one in Three Forks, Montana, which was 652 metres (or 2,140 feet) long. Suck it, Montana!

3. Instead of a key to the city, honourees in Calgary get a white cowboy hat and have to say the most stereotypically Albertan pledge ever.

Naheed Nenshi / Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: calgarymayor

Keys are nice and all, but cowboy hats are way cooler. The lucky recipients receive a white Smithbilt hat and, with their right hand raised, must recite the following oath:

"I, [recipient's name], havin' visited the only genuine Western city in Canada, namely Calgary, and havin' been duly treated to exceptional amounts of heart-warmin', hand-shakin', tongue-loosenin', back-slappin', neighbour-lovin' Western spirit, do solemnly promise to spread this here brand of hospitality to all folks and critters who cross my trail hereafter. On the count of three, we will all raise our hats and give a loud 'Yahoo!'"

4. The town of Vulcan, Alberta has totally embraced the whole Star Trek thing.

Travel Alberta Canada / Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 28217038@N04

To promote tourism, Vulcan features a Star Trek museum and has its own 31-foot replica of the Enterprise next to a spaceship-shaped visitors' centre. The plaque at the base of the replica is written in English, Vulcan, and Klingon. (But not French?!)

5. Oh, and the town of St. Paul features a UFO landing pad (you know, just in case).

Heterodyne / Via en.wikipedia.org

And in case that's not good enough for you, there's also a UFO tourist information centre, where you can see "actual photographs of UFOs, crop circles, and cattle mutilations."

6. The city of Lloydminster is shared by Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Kevin M Klerks / Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: ledicarus

Lloydminster straddles the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan, and instead of fighting over the territory, the provinces agreed to just share it. Aww, typical Canadian cooperation.

7. In 2012, 54 male babies in Alberta were named after Mortal Kombat characters.

Loren Javier / Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: lorenjavier

The 2012 list of registered baby names in Alberta includes 39 boys named Jax, 13 named Raiden, one named Stryker, and one named Smoke. OK, maybe some of those were just coincidences and had nothing to do with Mortal Kombat, but let's just pretend it was all on purpose.

8. Wolverine is from Alberta.

20th Century Fox

OK, this is less "adorable" and more "brutally, brutally sexy," but it's true: According to Marvel history, Wolverine was born in Cold Lake, Alberta in the 1880s. You'd think he'd have learned to keep a shirt on by now, but let's hope nobody ever ever teaches him.

9. A homeless woman in Calgary once found and returned a purse that had more than $10,000 in it.

Melissa King / Getty Images

In 2012, the woman saw a vehicle drive off, leaving a purse behind — and when she looked inside the bag, she found $10,400. She didn't think twice about surrendering the purse to Calgary police, money and all. "It never crossed my mind to keep the money," she said. "It’s not mine to keep. I didn’t think [about] keeping it at all."

10. Boston Pizza was actually founded in Edmonton.

Diego Torrest Silvestre / Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 3336

Don't be fooled by the name! The first Boston Pizza was opened by Greek immigrant Gus Agioritis in Edmonton, and it was called the Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House. Nothing screams "Boston" like Alberta, right? (Not that anyone's complaining — mmm, pizza.)

11. Every Canadian can thank Calgary for inventing the delicious and dangerous Bloody Caesar.

Jrwasserman / Getty Images / Thinkstock / Via clamato.com

Tasked with creating a signature drink to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant, bartender Walter Chell invented the Caesar at Calgary's Westin hotel in 1969. He remembered going to Italy where spaghetti would be served with tomato sauce and clams, so he decided to mash some clams up and mix them with tomato juice. And so began a delicious Canadian tradition (that occasionally gets a little out of hand).

12. An Alberta man once tried to eat his own underwear in order to pass a breathalyzer test. (Maybe he had too many Caesars.)

Taratata / Getty Images

In 1985, an 18-year-old in Stettler, Alberta was stopped by police under suspicion of driving under the influence. Believing that the cotton in his undies might absorb the alcohol in his stomach, he ripped off part of his shorts and stuffed them in his mouth. The kicker? It turned out that his blood-alcohol level was under the legal limit anyway. Oh, honey.

13. A ranch in southern Alberta once employed The Sundance Kid as a ranch hand — y’know, before he got into robbing banks and stuff.

John Schwartz / Via en.wikipedia.org

Before he teamed up with Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, Harry “Sundance” Longabaugh was employed at the Bar U Ranch in southern Alberta. Why he’d choose the excitement of robbing banks over shoveling cow poop, we’ll never understand.

14. And every year during Stampede season, Calgarians serve and consume more than 200,000 free pancakes.

Reg Tiangha / Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: regtiangha

A lot of attention goes to the horses during the Stampede, but the real treat has nothing to do with the animals. Every year, hundreds of businesses and volunteers offer their time and resources to put on free pancake breakfasts for visitors during the Stampede — and you can even get some free bacon and coffee out of the deal. Yum.

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