Sightings of unidentified flying objects have taken place across Canada over several decades, in both large cities and remote areas. The Royal Canadian Mint has examined these strange events in a series of commemorative “Unexplained Phenomena” Canadian coins that began in 2018. The newest $20 silver coin in the series, released in 2022, recreates the Yukon Encounter.
The Encounter as Related by Witnesses
Altogether, over 31 people reported seeing a UFO in the sky over the Yukon on December 11, 1996. The initial sightings took place over Fox Lake along the Klondike highway, where they were witnessed by multiple motorists. As the lights moved north, further sightings took place in the town of Carmacks, near the village of Pelly Crossing, and in the village of Mayo, where witnesses included both locals and hotel guests from out of town.
Witnesses describe rectangular-shaped lights grouped together in an ellipse. Some describe the lights as multicoloured, while others describe additional flashing lights. Some witnesses describe seeing a physical object. Describing the size of the object, some said that it was about as long as the Big Dipper is wide and others likened it to the size of a football stadium. Based on these descriptions, the object sighted in the Yukon Encounter is the largest UFO ever reported.
Two cousins travelling in separate cars along the Klondike Highway may have had the closest encounter with the UFO. Both sighted the lights and stopped their respective vehicles at approximately the same time. One stayed in his car and attempted to take a picture, but his camera wouldn’t work, which seems consistent with reports from other witnesses that their vehicle lights dimmed and two-way radios malfunctioned when the UFO was in close proximity.
The other cousin stepped out of his vehicle to get a better view. He described a large beam of white light coming from the approximate centre of the object. Both cousins described the object as solid and smooth, covered with various lights.
The Design of the Yukon Coin From the Royal Canadian Mint
The 20-dollar silver coin in Canada depicting the Yukon Encounter is a rectangular shape with a horizontal orientation, the better to depict the huge size of the object witnesses claim to have seen. Designed by artist Neil Hamelin, the reverse shows the vehicles of the two cousins who pulled off the highway near Fox Lake to examine the object that seemed to be hovering over it.
Under normal light, the rectangular lights in an elliptical pattern described by witnesses are visible in the sky over the two vehicles. However, thanks to photoluminescent technology, a black light reveals Hamelin’s rendition of a large object that is solid, smooth, and covered with random lights as described by the two cousins in their statement reporting the incident. Don’t worry that you won’t be able to see the full object if you don’t already have a black light at home; the coin comes with its own black light flashlight for viewing the reverse image of the coin to full effect.
As is typical for a commemorative Canada $20 silver coin, the obverse of the coin features Susanna Blunt’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. However, the field in the background features a wormhole design that carries the theme of space travel and UFOs from the reverse of the coin over onto the obverse.
Search for Coins in the Unexplained Phenomena Series at Colonial Acres
Witnesses to the Yukon Encounter describe first thinking that the lights belonged to a commercial jet before realizing that the object was moving far too slowly. Skeptics have attempted to explain away the incident by claiming that the lights probably belonged to an airship, but airships are nowhere near the size of a football stadium and rarely fly during the winter. The Yukon coin is currently in stock at Colonial Acres, and you can look for the other coins in the Unexplained Phenomena Series as well.