If you’ve ever looked up in the sky and noticed something odd flying by, you’re not alone.
Every year, thousands of Canadians report spotting an unidentified flying object, better known as a UFO, soaring through our airspace. Most of these objects are later identified, but about 17 per cent of all sightings are relegated to the category of “unexplainable.”
Manitoba seems to be the province where the most UFOs are spotted, by a fairly wide margin (even though Canada’s UFO landing pad is located in St. Paul, Alberta — fail). Sightings in the area date all the way back to 1792, before Manitoba was even a province. But there have been just over 2,000 reports of suspicious flying objects in the past 200 years alone. Are all these people wrong? Or has Canada actually been visited by extra-terrestrial life?
Unfortunately, the federal government has abandoned efforts to track UFO sightings across the country. So most media companies rely on Winnipeg-based UFO researcher Chris Rutkowski, who has been studying UFOs and collecting examples of sightings for 25 years. He also releases an annual ufology report.
While he believes in the possibility that some of the sightings could be valid, he does caution that some of them could be attributed to military exercises or increased internet access (hoax videos, anyone?), the CBC reports. A big part of the reason Manitoba is considered Canada’s UFO capital is because no other province has conducted the same kind of extensive search of its recorded sightings. In other words, Manitoba is the UFO capital by default.
Still, we reached out to Transport Canada for some answers as to why these sightings of strange flying objects persist, since the agency regulates most of the bizarre things you’d find in the sky, from commercial airliners to tiny consumer drones. They pointed us to a report which included mentions of UFOs, but there was some fine print.
“It is important to remember that in [Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System] reports, the term ‘UFO’ can include many things, including sightings of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs or drones), balloons, meteors, weather phenomena, and birds,” Senior Communications Advisor Mélany Gauvin wrote in an email. “It should not be interpreted to mean something of extraterrestrial origin. The department cannot comment on data collected by other organizations or individuals.”
As far as Transport Canada is concerned, our country hasn’t been visited by any extra-terrestrial life. But the people in Manitoba must be seeing something in the sky, after all, since the sightings have persisted for more than 200 years. Rutkowski even reports that he receives about three alerts per day of UFO sightings from across the country.
Ah well. Guess we’ll file those under the category of “unexplained.”