Str-Eh-nge Encounters: Exclaim!'s Ten Favourite Canadian UFO Sightings

Str-Eh-nge Encounters: Exclaim!'s Ten Favourite Canadian UFO Sightings

Promotional consideration provided by D Films
 
Do aliens exist? Former-Blink 182 guitarist Tom DeLonge seems to think so — and has amassed some serious accolades for his research — but many remain sceptical. But every once in a while, there's an incident that definitely turns sceptics into believers.
 
Take 1997's Phoenix Lights sighting, for example, in which thousands saw a V-shaped series of lights floating in the night sky; the legend has stayed in the pop-culture consciousness in the 20 years since, and a big-screen adaptation, Phoenix Forgotten, is set to keep people believing once D Films releases the film in Canada on April 21.
 
The film takes a Blair Witch Project-style found footage approach to the Phoenix Lights story, depicting what happened to a trio of intrepid teens after they went into the desert to investigate the occurrence. Starring Matt Biedel, Ana Dela Cruz and Florence Hartigan, directed by first-time feature director Justin Barber and produced by Alien mastermind Ridley Scott, this thriller is set to offer plenty of surprises.
 
But not all of the great UFO action has taken place south of the border — Canada has had its fair share of extraterrestrial encounters, with the Canadian UFO Survey compiling information on over 10,000 reported UFO sightings since 1989, with approximately 1000 new reports submitted every year. With Phoenix Forgotten bringing up memories of one of the most reported UFO sightings this side of Roswell, we thought we'd highlight some of Canada's most bizarre encounters with the UFO kind.
 
UFO Stops for Repairs
Nipawin, Saskatchewan
 
Over 80 years later, one of the earliest documented UFO encounters in Canada still stands as one of our nation's most bizarre. Over the course of a week in 1933, residents of Nipawin, Saskatchewan reported some strange lights in the sky. One night, three townies drove toward the lights, and later claimed that they saw a large, oval-shaped craft with a dozen uniformed occupants inside, busily trying to repair their ship. The Earthling trio returned a few nights later to find the ship was gone — with six large, square prints left in the marshy ground.
 
Canada's UFO Capital
Moonbeam, Ontario
 
Despite its astronomical name, Moonbeam initially had nothing to do with UFOs — it got its name from the Northern Lights that occasionally appeared at night. But there have been several UFO sightings and other extraterrestrial encounters in the area since the 1960s, from flashing lights to mysterious crop circles.
 
Moonbeam's best-known UFO story takes place in 1970, though, when a citizen claimed to have seen a large green, egg-shaped object floating in the sky above him, bouncing up and down and "defying the laws of gravity" before it disappeared. After the area became known for its frequent brushes with alien life, the visitor centre erected a UFO-shaped monument.



The Falcon Lake Incident
Falcon Lake, Alberta
 
Many fans of Canadian indie folk may know The Falcon Lake Incident as a 2010 album by Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans, but the record got its name from a close encounter that occurred nearly 50 years prior, in 1967, in Falcon Lake, Manitoba. While mining a vein of quartz, amateur prospector Stefan Michalak claimed to have seen two spacecraft descending from the sky, one of which landed near his digging site. He tried to explore the vehicle, but it burned his hand to the touch. He then found an exhaust vent, which blasted him with heat, setting his clothes on fire and leaving a grid-like series of burn marks on his chest.
 


The Shag Harbour Incident
Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia
 
One night, in Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia, multiple witnesses claimed to see four mysterious orange lights in the sky heading toward the harbour, followed by a mysterious whistling sound and a loud splash. Multiple witnesses claimed to see a UFO crash into the water, but subsequent rescue efforts were unable to find any debris. Early reports theorized involvement from the United States or Russian authorities, but no conclusive evidence was ever found. 
 
The Pine Point UFO
Pine Point, Northwest Territories
 
During a night-time drive to Pine Point in 1978, a former town site in the Northwest Territories, Judy Comerford was bringing her daughter and a friend home from a skating competition when their radio suddenly shut off. A bright, oval-shaped object then appeared on top of the car, hovering just overhead for a half an hour before disappearing. In a 2015 interview, Comerford and her daughter, Diana Pinkney, remained adamant about what they saw that night. "I don't know whether I believe in aliens or not, but I certainly believe it was something that was unidentified," said Comerford.
 
Clarenville's Perennial Visitors
Clarenville, Newfoundland
 
In alien movies, police officers are often completely unhelpful to the UFO-spotting protagonists, dismissing their claims without a second thought. But in Clarenville, Newfoundland in 1978, it was an officer who did the spotting: RCMP Constable Jim Blackwood was one of a dozen locals who saw a "cigar-shaped aircraft" hovering over the water between Clarenville and Random Island. To this day, Blackwood claims that he flashed the lights of his police cruiser to make contact — and was met with a similar flash of lights from the spacecraft. He even used a special telescope for drug surveillance to get a closer look at the UFO.
 
But while Blackwood no longer lives in Clarenville (he now lives in Nova Scotia), the UFOs still do. Only a few months ago, in December 2016, Clarenville resident Chad Haines found photos on his phone that he had taken earlier that year, on a starless night in February, clearly featuring what appears to be a UFO in the night sky.


 
Marieville's Perfect Circle
Sainte-Marie-de-Monnoir, Quebec
 
While Quebec was recently named the province with the most UFO sightings, few are as perplexing as a 1989 sighting in Sainte-Marie-de-Monnoir, now part of the larger city of Marieville. On November 20, 1989, several residents reported seeing lights in the sky, accompanied by a noise akin to an electric generator. Two days later, in a patch of snow, a circular clearing was found. Some claim that it can still be seen today on Google Earth.


 
A Winnipegger's Wild Ride
Winnipeg, Manitoba
 
It's not just close encounters that have dominated the news — some Canadians actually claim to have interacted with extraterrestrials themselves. In 1992, a nurse from Winnipeg claims to have come home from work one day to find "two small, human-like creatures" in her house, who subsequently took her on a trip around the Earth in a hangar that held a cigar-shaped spacecraft. She suddenly reappeared in her room, hours later.
 
Bright Lights Over Toronto
Toronto, Ontario
 
In 2014, a series of mysterious lights hovering over Toronto's North York neighbourhood were captured on camera. The lights were in a diagonal formation, flashing green, pink and white, and were later seen descending toward the ground. While many theories emerged — children flying paper lanterns, a police quadcopter — no formal explanation has ever been given.