Flat-Earth faithful flock to Edmonton for international conference

A few hundred people have gathered in Edmonton this week to dispute centuries of research and scientific evidence and discuss the idea that the Earth is flat.

YouTuber Mark Sargent is one of several people without scientific backgrounds featured at the Flat Earth International Conference at West Edmonton Mall, which runs Thursday and Friday.

The conference is being held at West Edmonton Mall’s Fantasyland Hotel. (CBC)

He said he and many others at the conference didn’t believe in the flat-Earth theory, at first.

“I tried to debunk it for nine months,” said Sargent, who wrote a flat-Earth guide for beginners. “That’s how I got started.”

“Nobody wants to be a flat-Earther. Everybody gets into it because they try to disprove it. And when they’re doing it, as they’re doing it, there are more and more loose ends … and after awhile, it’s just a question of when you’re going to give up.”

Many of the theories surrounding those “loose ends” are convoluted (and difficult to comprehend), but Sargent made note of a variety of ideas, highlighting the flat horizon and what he called lies from NASA about space missions.

A flat-Earth model. (CBC)

“When I see a globe now, I just see conditioning,” he said.

“When you’re showing that to anybody, you’re just reinforcing some thing that they were told as a child.”

What Sargent called the first full photo of the globe was taken in 1972, centuries after the Earth’s shape had been established and taught to kids in school.

“Too convenient,” he said. “You go up, you realize it’s not a globe. You really going to tell the public? Nah, not a chance.”

Can you fall off a flat Earth?

Patricia Steere is facilitating a panel discussion at the conference. (CBC)

Sargent’s conception of the Earth features the same familiar continents, aside from Antarctica, which is a giant wall of ice that surrounds the plate-shaped planet.

But have no fear — the chances of falling off the edge of the flat world are incredibly slim.

“You’re never going to find [the edge]. It’s locked down forever. The 1959 Antarctic Treaty is no joke,” Sargent said, claiming that only members of the government are allowed on the perimeter of the Arctic ring.

Alan Nursall, the president and CEO of Edmonton’s Telus World of Science, said there are many reasons why the flat-Earth model is bogus:

  • Different stars can be seen in the northern and southern hemispheres.
  • The Earth’s curved shadow can be seen on the moon.
  • Tides are caused by the gravitational fields between a spherical Earth, moon and sun.
  • Photographic evidence.

“There are people who will contend that every single picture ever taken is fake,” Nursall told CBC’s Edmonton AM. “But that’s just sad. We have real photographs taken by real people that look back at our beautiful Earth, and it’s a big round globe.”

‘We are the centre of everything’

Self-proclaimed professional flat-Earther Patricia Steere, who is from Texas, said unknown people who are “higher than governments” pull the puppet strings.

She said the round-Earth “lie” is a money-making operation — though how it makes agencies like NASA more money than a flat Earth would is unclear.

“I believe that we are the centre of everything, and we live in a protected, enclosed, most likely, system,” said Steere, who made sure to mention the fact that she isn’t crazy. “I don’t know how big it is, I don’t know if there’s more land or not. But this place is made for us and we’re not a function of a big bang.”

Not only do you have to ignore all the evidence, but you have to be willing to believe that everybody’s in on it– Alan Nursall, Telus World of Science CEO and president

Nursall said it’s ridiculous the topic is even up for debate.

“You have to live in a parallel universe,” he said. “Not only do you have to ignore all the evidence, but you have to be willing to believe that everybody’s in on it.

“It’s not just astronauts and NASA who have to be in on it. Every engineer, every meteorologist … surveyors and cartographers and geologists. Basically every scientist would have to be in on it.”

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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