Last September, 10 campers in Quebec say they watched as a glowing, pyramid-shaped object floated above their trailer and came to a halt mid-air.
The group says the unusual object hovered above the campsite and emitted an intense red light. A moment later, the light flickered and it flew out of sight.
The unexplained encounter is one of the best-documented UFO sightings reported in Canada in 2017. Last year, 1,101 people reported seeing unusual lights and shapes in Canada’s skies, according to the annual Canadian UFO Survey released by UFOlogy Research of Manitoba.
That amounts to about three UFO sightings in Canada each day. It was the fifth-highest number of sightings since the survey began in 1989, says science writer Chris Rutkowski, who spearheaded the project.
“UFOs still seem to be thing. They haven’t gone away. And they don’t seem to be declining in any numbers,” Rutkowski told CTVNews.ca
The report collects and analyzes UFO sightings across the country each year. A team then analyzes the reports, including photographs and other evidence, for their reliability and strangeness factor.
About one-third of last year’s cases had a logical explanation, such as a solar flare, drone or shooting star. Another third of cases didn’t include enough information to be sufficiently studied.
But 10 cases had a high degree of both reliability and strangeness, and are what the UFO researchers describe as “high quality unknowns.”
“It’s not just an average person seeing a light in the sky. It’s someone with a good background of observing the sky … who sees something a bit more structured,” Rutkowski said.
The Quebec campsite case is among last year’s small list of high-quality unknowns, which account for just one per cent of all sightings.
Other examples include a spinning, donut-shaped object spotted around 5 a.m. in Rimouski, Quebec; a university physicist who, along with two other witnesses, saw an illuminated “V”-shaped object on a condo rooftop in downtown Montreal; and a cigar-shaped object that darted across the Ottawa sky on an April morning.
One of the more frightening encounters occurred on Jan. 5 in Ontario’s French River, where two witnesses saw several coloured orbs float toward them and hover before moving away.
Among the less reliable cases: someone said a three-foot-tall alien was seen last June in Rothesay, N.B. crouching and “poking at some bushes.” In Toronto, someone said they were watching lights flashing in the sky when suddenly a group of aliens appeared beside their car.
Below is a map of UFO sightings in Canada in 2017, using data provided by UFOlogy Research. The accuracy of locations depends on the report. Using our app? Touch here.
Canada’s UFO capital
While plenty of UFO sightings come from rural locations, a number of city-dwellers spotted UFOs in urban areas last year. In 2017, Montreal was the country’s UFO-sighting capital.
- Montreal - 74
- Toronto - 57
- Vancouver - 46
- Edmonton - 29
- Hamilton - 28
- Ottawa - 26
- Calgary - 24
- Winnipeg - 9
Nearly half of all UFO sightings in 2017 came from Quebec, which had a record year. Many of those were linked to a series of fireballs seen crossing the sky in the fall.
“It was in fact pieces of comet entering the atmosphere,” Rutkowski said.
- Quebec – 518
- Ontario – 241
- British Columbia – 128
- New Brunswick – 27
- Nova Scotia – 27
- Yukon - 3
- Nunavut – 2
The sightings themselves were generally quite long, with the average UFO sighting lasting 15 minutes in 2017.
The purpose of the study is not to prove that extra-terrestrial life exists, but rather, to document and investigate unidentified flying objects in Canada’s skies. More often than not, the report debunks what a witness may have initially considered unexplainable.
“In fact, none of these cases are proof that aliens are visiting us,” Rutkowski said. “What it does say, what our report overall says is that people continue to see UFOs in significant numbers and Canadians are certainly reporting them in very significant numbers.”
Since the report began 29 years ago, 19,138 Canadian UFO reports have been catalogued.