It is common to see a Canadian silver dollar that commemorates a unique event from the nation’s history. The fourth proof coin in the Royal Canadian Mint’s Unexplained Phenomena series re-creates the Montreal Incident, one of the most well-documented UFO sightings in Canadian history.
What Happened During the Montreal Incident?
A female tourist was swimming in the Hotel Bonaventure’s rooftop pool on the evening of November 7, 1990. Suddenly, the sky was lit up by a series of light beams in yellow and green. They seemed to be coming from a large object floating in the sky that appeared to be made out of metal.
Most UFO sightings in Canada last approximately 15 minutes. During the Montreal Incident, the light-emitting object made its appearance at approximately 7:20 p.m. The sighting lasted for nearly three hours until cloud cover obscured the object around 10:10 p.m.
During that time, the object was observed by a large number of reliable witnesses. Alarmed by its appearance, the tourist pointed it out to the lifeguard, who alerted hotel security. Unable to identify it, hotel security summoned the police, who contacted the military and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Officials from nearby airports, Mirabel and Dorval, were consulted, as well as scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States, but no one could explain what was causing the sight.
The hotel security guard who called the police also alerted the media. A journalist from the La Presse newspaper witnessed the phenomenon and even took a photograph of it in which the light beams are clearly visible and distinguishable by their green and yellow colours.
The Aurora Borealis has been offered up as a possible explanation for the Montreal Incident. However, this hypothesis raises even more questions. A skeptical meteorologist who advanced the theory as a possible explanation nevertheless acknowledged that there was no data from the magnetosphere that suggested such activity, and offered no rationale for why an aurora borealis would be visible in the light pollution in a city the size of Montreal.
Bernard Guenette was an amateur UFO researcher based in Montreal who witnessed the incident firsthand. He later collaborated with a former scientist from NASA to gather and analyze the evidence. They wrote a report that, while not confirming the origin of the object, concluded that the existence of a large, silent, hovering object was indisputable.
What Is Special About the Design of the Coin?
The colourful image on the reverse of the coin is an artist’s rendering by Patrick Belanger, a Canadian graphic design artist. It shows the event from the perspective of the observers on the hotel rooftop. In a first for the RCM, the beams of light from the object are enhanced by an engineered Fresnel effect. As a result, the intensity of light reflected from the surface of the coin varies based on the angle from which you view it. Embedded blacklight paint technology has been used to enhance the image even further. Your coin comes with a special flashlight that, when shone on the coin, activates the effect. In regular light, the outline of the unidentified object remains indistinct, but in the glow of the flashlight, it comes into sharper focus, as does the reflection in the pool.
With a face value of $20, the 1-ounce coin of 99.99% pure silver is rectangular-shaped, and the height of the building is suggested by the vertical orientation.