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UFO encounter at Duncan hospital depicted on Canadian coin

On New Year’s Day 1970, a nurse doing her rounds at Cowichan District Hospital described seeing a large saucer-shaped craft with a glass-like dome top

A close encounter with an alien spaceship in Duncan more than 50 years ago is now pictured on a new collectible coin produced by the Canadian Mint.

The story goes that just before dawn on New Year’s Day 1970, a nurse at Cowichan District Hospital was doing her rounds and opened a curtain in a patient’s room.

The nurse described seeing a large saucer-shaped craft with a glass-like dome top.

Inside the object — estimated to be 15 metres in diameter and illuminated from the bottom — she saw two male-like figures clad in dark cloth standing in front of a large panel.

The Canadian Mint says the nurse was “absorbed by the sight,” and studied the craft and its occupants. She noticed one of the figures slowly turning to face in her direction. The other figure then reached down to grab a lever, and the tilted craft began to spin in a counter-clockwise direction.

She called over another nurse to witness the hovering object as it silently, and swiftly, moved away, though its lights were still visible to two more witnesses who joined them at the window.

Chris Rutkowski, a Winnipeg science writer and UFO expert, said whatever was hovering outside the window that night, it did not seem to be anything familiar to the nurse or others who caught a glimpse as it flew away.

“Even the RCMP officer who investigated the case was puzzled and could not explain the incident,” he said.

The depiction of the UFO sighting is the sixth in a series by the Canadian Mint highlighting Canada’s fascinating tales of unexplained phenomena.

The mysterious craft is visible on the coin in normal lighting conditions, but black-light paint makes the image glow in the dark. A black light is included in the Canadian Mint clamshell box for the coin, which retails for $139.

The mint said about 6,500 of the coins were made and it expects a quick sellout.

The one-ounce silver rectangular coin — with a face value of $20 — was designed by Gabriola Island artist Patrick Bélanger. It was his second in the Canada’s Unexplained Phenomena series.

Bélanger said he was “truly inspired by the story.

“The design, done in a vintage style reflecting the 1970s, is arguably one of my favourites so far,” Bélanger said. “The contrast of the drab hospital room against the bright lights outside the window gave the coin a mysterious feel to it.”

Bélanger produced another coin in the series in 2021 — the Montreal Incident, which shows a mysterious object floating above the city’s Hotel Bonaventure on Nov. 7, 1990.

Other coins in the series include scenes from a reported UFO crash in Shag Harbour, N.S., in 1967 and a 1996 UFO sighting in the Yukon.

The flip side of the Duncan coin features a wormhole background and an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt. It also bears a special marking that includes four pearls symbolizing the four effigies that have graced Canadian coins and the double date of her reign.

dkloster@timescolonist.com