The Royal Canadian Mint prides itself on storytelling, even if it’s of the unexplained variety.
It’s a message Christa Bruce, the product manager for the Mint, imparts during an October phone call when discussing the release of the Shag Harbour Incident coin just in time for its 52nd anniversary.
“At the Canadian Mint, we do issue a variety of coins, where we like to share the stories that have shaped Canadian history,” Bruce said, in an October phone call. “It doesn’t necessarily mean we are validating what happened. We are storytellers here at the Canadian Mint and this is a story that is talked about and is a part of the Canadian experience. Whether it’s true or not true, that’s not for us to say.”
Shag Harbour was a reported UFO sighting in Nova Scotia that happened on the evening of Oct. 4, 1967. Many witnessed a large craft dive into the sea off the coast, including RCMP officers.
The Mint released their Shag Harbour coin, the second coin in their “Unexplained Phenomena” series Oct. 1 and within 24 hours all 4,000 of them were sold out. The first one was released in 2018 and that was the Falcon Lake incident in Manitoba.
For Bruce, it was a labour of love, as she grew up in Shelburne, N.S., 30 minutes away from Shag Harbour. She also attended the Shag Harbour UFO Festival held Oct. 4-6.
“This one was near and dear for me,” she said, adding she was able to chat with witness and Shag Harbour UFO Incident Society president Laurie Wickens.
The Mint provided a coin to him, as well as two more to UFO researcher Chris Styles and Nighttime podcaster Jordan Bonaparte.
A tired Wickens was packing for a trip to Cuba after a successful festival. He said he had kept the museum open for 40 days straight but was pleased with the Mint’s project.
“I think it’s a great idea. It’s going to make us more well known now,” he said. “The Mint has made commemorative coin, so it’s a part of Canadian history.”
Wickens was also given a 2′ x 3′ plaque with the artwork done by Victoria, B.C. artist Pandora Young. She was one of three artists who was commissioned to create a concept. Hers was the standout.
“Pandora’s design was outstanding. It was what we were really looking for,” Bruce said.
The idea for the saucer crashing into the water came while Young was soaking in the tub, she admitted in an email.
“I take my commission and give it a good long soaking over, seeing whether I can distill the elements at play, their relationship to each other, and what fresh and interesting framing I can give them,” she wrote, adding she is ever a skeptic.
“I enjoy the stories passed down in myths and exploring their symbols, characters, and codes through art.”
Regardless of truth or fiction, MUFON Canada, which keeps its eyes to the sky for UAPs and unexplained phenomena, said the UFO community was buzzing.
But its senior advisor, Stu Bundy, added it is by no means a validation that the event occurred.
“I believe the Canadian Government wants nothing to do with any UFO events in Canada, and certainly will not publicly validate Shag Harbour or the Falcon Lake sighting as actual UFO incidents,” he wrote in an October email. “(Ufologist) Stanton Friedman searched for and found the original Shag Harbour RCMP investigation report, in which the officer actually stated that the incident could be a possible UFO crash!
“I guarantee that the RCMP have now been instructed to never say that on a report, ever.”