Nova Scotian Lawrence Smith was a 34-year-old fisherman in 1967 when
Shag Harbour residents claim to have seen a glowing orange object land in the
WINNIPEG — From white cylinders in British Columbia to an object with windows
and flashing lights near Inkerman, N.B., last
year was a banner one for sightings of unidentified flying objects over
“In 2002 we had the largest number of
separate events for a single year in the history of collecting UFO data for
Canada,” Chris Rutkowski of Ufology Research of Manitoba said Wednesday.
“We have some extraordinary cases in Canada
last year reported literally from one end of the country to the other.”
Since 1989 his group has been compiling
reports from across Canada.
There were 483 UFO sightings reported in
2002 - almost 30 percent more than in 2001 and a 250-per-cent increase since
That’s a record if 1993 is excluded when one
celestial fireball contributed to a high of 489 reports that year, said
Rutkowski, who added that 154 of them were easily explained because of the
“Over all it’s fascinating to see that the
number of cases in Canada rose so dramatically last year,” he said.
There is no easy explanation for the
increase, he added.
Rutkowski said one of the strangest
unexplained sightings occurred in January 2002 near the tiny community of
“A large object with flashing lights and
brightly lit windows flew slowly and fairly silently over a highway,” he said.
“A couple stopped their car and watched it
as it moved down behind some trees.”
It was one of the sightings he looked into
Over all, British Columbia was once again
the place to be in 2002 to see a UFO. The province produced 176 sightings,
more than Ontario and Quebec combined and up from 123 in 2001.
B.C.’s numbers represent a third of all UFO
sightings in Canada. Rutkowski said part of the reason is likely due to two
UFO organizations in the province which have done a good job encouraging
reports, although he suggested that doesn’t tell the whole story.
“I don’t think that the increase can be
ascribed completely to the fact people are looking up a little more or know
where to report.”
Many of the reports from British Columbia
come from the north of the province, not the densely populated south.
“In the Yukon there (also) still seems to be
an extraordinarily high number of cases,” he noted.
The Yukon produced 20 reports last year and
has consistently produced about that many or more since 1998.
Ontario produced 128 reports last year,
Alberta 51, Manitoba 36, Quebec 34, Nova Scotia 23, Saskatchewan six, New
Brunswick four, Newfoundland three and Nunavut two. Prince Edward Island and
the Northwest Territories were UFO-free zones in 2002.
In general, more UFOs were reported in late
summer than any other time of the year, although February also produced a
About 18 per cent of all UFO reports
remained unexplained but only about seven per cent were what researchers
consider high-quality cases. Most sightings involved at least two witnesses
lasted approximately 15 minutes.
Rutkowski and the other researchers who
helped compile the report don’t draw any conclusions from the sightings.
“As with previous studies, the 2002 Canadian
UFO survey does not offer any positive proof that UFOs are either alien
spacecraft or a specific natural phenomenon,” notes the report.
Reported UFO sightings by Canadians in