|In 2009, there was a 12 per cent increase in UFO sightings in Canada, according to the Ufology Research Institute. Sightings are still high in Canada.
CALGARY - It's not quite an invasion of the body snatchers, but the number of UFO sightings in Canada was up in 2011, with an average of nearly three reported every day.
Ranging from bright lights in the sky to colourful orbs to unexplained crafts, there were 986 reports of unidentified flying objects across the country last year, according to the 2011 Canadian UFO Survey.
UFOs, it seems, saw Toronto as the centre of the universe. That city had the highest number of UFO reports, with 34. Calgary came in second, with 26, while Kelowna was third, with 19.
Sightings lasted an average of 11 minutes, according to the report, and each was seen by an average of two people.
The report also says an average of 11% of sightings were judged to be unexplained, a number which falls to 1% "when only higher-quality cases are considered."
The proliferation of reality television shows could be one reason behind the uptick in sightings, said Bill Birnes, producer and host of UFO Hunters and publisher of UFO Magazine.
"You'll see a show on television and you'll say, 'Wow, that reminds me of something I saw.' Or you look up and see something and think, 'If those shows are on TV, maybe I'm not crazy if I report it,' so people suddenly step up and say 'I saw something I can't explain,'" he said.
"And people reporting having seen UFOs are no longer thought of as crazy.
"The stigma is mainly declining, so people are less afraid to report, and a majority of people polled in North America feel UFOs are a real phenomenon."
While most UFOs reported likely aren't piloted by little green men from another planet, that doesn't mean they don't exist or haven't yet visited Earth, Birnes believes.
"I can't tell you where it's from, but I certainly think there is a phenomenon out there," Birnes said.
"We have evidence of that phenomenon from multiple witness sightings of real events and photographic evidence. There's some stunning photography of these things, and the more skeptics try to debunk them, the more these photos hold up - and these photos date back to the 1950s."
In fact, Birnes thinks we could soon get an answer to the question "Are we alone?"
"I think at some point we will find out a couple of things," he said.
"I think we'll find out they really are from other planets, that there's more than one species flying these things, and planet Earth is like a truck stop in the solar system."
The highest number of reports in Canada came in 2008 when there were 1,004 sightings.
UFOs by the numbers
Number of sightings in Canada:
2009: no data available
Most prolific months for UFO sightings: August (142), July (102), September (97), October (91)
Most prolific time for sightings: 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. - 148; 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. - 114; 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. - 109
Reports of a close encounter of the third kind in 2011, where beings are encountered: 1
Average length of sighting: 11 minutes
Average number of witnesses: 2
What people saw:
Boomerang/crescent shape: 7
Cigar/cylinder shape: 43
Disc/saucer shape: 42
Irregular shape: 97
Point source (star-like object): 554
Number of sightings in Alberta since 1989: 1,044