Summer is traditionally high season for tourists in Vancouver, but recently the city has been swarmed by some real out-of-towners.
UFOs have sited around the city in recent weeks, hovering over multiple sites including Nat Bailey Stadium, Jericho Beach, Deep Cove and the intersection of Burrard and Cornwall Avenues.
A video posted on YouTube, taken by a fan during a recent Vancouver Canadians baseball game at Nat Bailey Stadium, shows a circular object with red and blue lights slowly rising in the night sky beyond centre field. The tantalizing video, which has been viewed nearly 350,000 times and drawn more than 400 comments, zooms in for a few seconds, before cutting away to the game.
UFO conspiracists have been lighting up social media and Internet forums with speculation about the strange craft. Some theorize that the bright stadium lights attracted the UFO, while others insist that it was just a special effect added to the video after it was taken.
Turns out both camps are wrong.
The alien spacecraft belongs to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the museum and planetarium in Vancouver’s Vanier Park, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun. The newspaper claims that the “UFO” is nothing more than a metre-wide, remote controlled helicopter, dressed up to resemble the Space Centre itself (which, incidentally, looks a lot like a UFO). It was launched under cover of darkness from nearby Queen Elizabeth Park, directly behind the stadium.
Apparently, the whole effort was part of an advertising scheme to promote the Space Centre’s new and improved Planetarium Theatre. The $500,000 upgrade replaced antiquated projectors with state-of-the-art digital ones. HD images of the stars and planets can now be projected onto the planetarium’s dome, enabling viewers to fly light-years across the galaxy. Introduced last month, the upgrade has already boosted attendance by 65 percent.
Still, UFO enthusiasts are skeptical. Many have insisted that the planetarium story is just a cover up, meant to reassure the public in the face of an eminent alien invasion. They point to the recent surge in Bigfoot sightings in nearby Mission, B.C., as evidence that Super, Natural B.C. is not just a tourism slogan.
Want more updates on UFOs in Vancouver and beyond? Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.