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1990: UFO phenomenon over Montreal

It can border on the outrageous, the credible and even the entrepreneurial. For centuries people claimed to have boarded UFOs, encountered aliens and even sipped on Crop Circle Beer. Skeptics may dismiss believers as nerds and nutters but there's no doubting the increasing popularity of the paranormal in the mainstream. Canada has one of the highest rates of UFO sightings per capita and, for many Canadians, life beyond earth is a definite reality.

On Nov. 7, 1990, a woman spots something in the sky while swimming in the rooftop pool of her downtown Montreal hotel. She sees a round, metallic object projecting a series of brilliant light beams. Her sighting sets off a chain reaction. She tells the lifeguard who calls the hotel security guard, who contacts the police and a journalist from La Presse newspaper. The RCMP, the military and even NASA are called in.

The aerial phenomenon lasts almost three hours from 7:20 p.m. to 10:10 p.m. The incident sparks sensation due to the excellent documentation and the large number of very reliable witnesses. Some theorize it is nothing more than the result of northern lights, dismissing the possibility of a UFO sighting. The event catches the attention of Bernard Guénette, a UFO researcher in Montreal.

In 1992, Guénette and Dr. Richard Haines, a former NASA scientist, publish a 25-page report on the sighting. The report concludes that the "evidence for the existence of a highly unusual, hovering, silent large object is indisputable." It suggests some sort of huge physical object, about 540 metres wide, caused the lights but fails to identify its origin.
• According to the 2002 Canadian UFO Survey published by Ufology Research of Manitoba, Toronto had the largest number of sightings with 34, followed by Vancouver with 31 and Terrace, B.C. with 25 reports.
• In 2002, a typical UFO sighting lasted approximately 15 minutes.
• As of 2003, the federal government directed all UFO sightings to Chris Rutkowski of Ufology Research of Manitoba.
Medium: Television
Program: Newswatch
Broadcast Date: Nov. 7, 1994
Guest(s): Bernard Guenette
Reporter: Pierre Mignault
Duration: 9:53

Last updated: March 11, 2014

Page consulted on March 11, 2014

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