Manitoba-based UFO trackers say 2008 was a record year for the number of sightings in Canada.
Researchers with the independent, non-profit Ufology Research noted 1,004 UFO reports across Canada in 2008, an increase of 26 per cent over 2007.
"We were amazed to discover this many UFO sightings had been reported in 2008," Chris Rutkowski, co-author of the study, said in a news release. "This is unprecedented."
Ufology Research began collecting UFO reports in Canada in 1989. Reports have been filed by witnesses with government and military agencies, police, civilian UFO groups and online UFO websites.
Of the hundreds of reports in Canada in 2008, about 10 per cent were labelled as unexplained after review. Of these, less than one per cent were "high quality unknowns" that were both unexplained and had above-average levels of investigation and documentation.
Cases ranged from the relatively commonplace reports of star-like lights in the night sky to large, V-shaped craft flying slowly and ponderously over homes in rural or urban areas.
Hundreds of photos and videos of UFOs in Canada were posted on websites but most were stars, planets and aircraft rather than alien spacecraft, said Rutkowski.
Typically in 2008, most UFO sightings have two witnesses, most UFOs are white in colour and sighting lasted an average of 18 minutes. "Flying saucers" are comparatively rare; reports of triangles and spheres are much more common.
A 20-year longitudinal study of the data will be released later this year.
The 2008 Canadian UFO Survey.