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CIRCA: 1948-1952

Although the military always denied it, in 1967 Defence Minister Paul Hellyer admitted to the press that the Military had set-up special landing sites for alien UFOs. Hellyer revealed that the landing site was located in Suffield, Alberta. Other suspected sites are Port McNeill, British Columbia and St. Paul, Alberta.

According to the wife of the late Wilbert Smith, such a landing site was requested by Smith on behalf of his alien contact who was reluctant to land his craft for fear of being fired upon and/or captured by the military. Keyhoe, who was in regular contact with Smith, suggests in his book: "Aliens from Space," that the hidden agenda behind the meeting with the aliens was capture, so it would appear that the alien suspicions were justified.

Due to the frequent UFO sightings over Alberta by the Royal Canadian Air Force in the late 1940's and early 1950's a novel approach to attempt alien contact was put forward by the Defense Research Board.

Until that time the only attempted alien contacts were unsuccessful, high-speed jet pursuits of alien craft by the RCAF.

The DRB established a restricted landing area near its own station at Suffield, Alberta in 1950s. This was the largest of the UFO landing fields measuring about 1,000 square miles. All aircraft including RCAF and commercial flights were barred from the area.

The objective was to encourage the aliens to land so contact could be initiated. The DRB Officials had hoped to use radio beams and searchlights to signal and "lure" the aliens into landing. Previous attempts at making contact at other landing sites had failed, the officials reasoned, because there was nothing to attract aliens into the area.

Higher military officials forced the abandonment of the use of radio beams and lights for fear it would expose the fact they were openly trying to lure and capture aliens.

For years the RCAF had been chasing and attempting to shoot-down the extraterrestrials to acquire and study their technology.

Model flying saucers, cars, planes and anything that seemed to have drawn the interest of the aliens was used. They were scattered around the base and the entire area was covered with microphones and TV cameras. The DRB was hoping the aliens would land and attempt to communicate.

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The project continued for many years, despite many government denials. Canadian Defence Minister Paul Hellyer finally admitted to the project's existence in 1967. After the Canadian Government closed down Project Magnet in 1954, they told the public they were no longer interested in studying UFOs and aliens, obviously that was a false statement.

Other lesser known landing sites were set-up at St. Paul, Alberta and Port McNeill in British Columbia by the Defense Ministry, there were probably a few of the other landing sites that failed due to lack of a lure.

In 1954 U.S. Air Force Intelligence learned of this Top Secret Canadian project. United States Marine Corps Major Donald E. Keyhoe who was also director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) was pushing the U.S. Government for a "Project Lure" or "Operation Lure" based on the Canadian top secret project. In 1973 he promoted the idea in his popular book Aliens from Space.

In the 1960s Wilbert Smith, Senior Radio Engineer for the Canadian Department of Transportation and Communications, who played a part in most of Canada's secret UFO projects, admitted that he communicated with the aliens, whom he'd called "The Boys from Topside". He said they had shared some of their technology with him.


  1. Ottawa Journal, July 20, 1967
  2. Aliens from Space, D. Keyhoe
  3. Above Top Secret, T. Good
  4. UFO Canada, Y. Bondarchuk
  5. The UFO Encyclopaedia, J. Spencer

Special Journal Correspondence
Ottawa Journal, July 20, 1967

The Canadian government 13 years ago made available the defence research board experimental station at Suffield, Alberta, as a landing site for Unidentified Flying Objects, Defence Minister Paul Hellyer has now disclosed.

Nothing ever materialized from that top secret project.

No extra terrestrial flying objects ever sought to land on that 1,0000-square-mile restricted tract of land over which no aircraft, defence or civilian was allowed to fly without special permission. The idea was that if any UFO tried to make contact with the earth it could land at the DRB station without being shot down by defence interceptors.

After checking out the rash of flying saucer sightings that occurred over North America in the 1950s and late 1940s, special scientific committees set up in Canada and the United States concluded that the evidence presented on UFOs showed no indication that they presented a threat to national security.

The special Canadian committee, checking out reports of UFO sightings over Canada ceased to function about 10 years ago, according to Mr. Hellyer. He outlined in an interview. The steps taken today to check out reports on UFOs that keep occurring across the country.

There have been around 20 sightings of UFO's in Manitoba and the northern states adjacent to the prairie provinces this spring.

Earlier this spring a University of Ottawa professor reported sighting a flying saucer in the early evening hours. He was relaxing with neighbours on his back patio. His description of the UFO - substantiated by his friends - was similar to descriptions reported by Manitoba people in the same week.

My. Hellyer has refused to commit himself one way or the other on the reports. He said he was keeping an open mind on the subject.

As in the United States, UFO chases over Canada were certainly not isolated incidents. In his investigative book: Aliens From Space, Major Donald I. Keyhoe (USMC Ret.) maintains that:
Though jet pursuits are the usual method for capture attempts, at least one country has tried a different plan. In 1954, U.S. Air Force Intelligence learned that Canada had set up a top-secret project, after Royal Canadian Air Force pilots bad failed to bring down a UFO. Hoping to lure aliens into landing, the Defence Research Board established a restricted landing field near its experimental station at Suffield, Alberta. All RCAF and commercial- pilots were banned from the area. But there was nothing to indicate that the restricted field was reserved for the alien machines and none came near the area. Even if the aliens had known, they might not have risked landing, after hundreds of earlier chases by the RCAF.(1)
The project was kept secret until July 1967, when the then Canadian Defence Minister Paul Hellyer revealed its existence, claiming that the site had not attracted UFOs. He did not elaborate further on the operation except to state that it had been discontinued following the conclusion that UFOs did not pose a threat to national security.(2)

Despite these revelations by the minister and USAF Intelligence, the Department of National Defence today denies that such a project ever existed. According to National Defence Headquarters (Ottawa) Public Information Officer, Captain Douglas Caie: “We have no record of any such project. From the information I have, we never had one.”(3)

This leads me to consider two possibilities. One, the project existed but is now being downplayed for fear that disclosures could generate questions that might uncover some current secret UFO-related research. Two, while discussing other UFO-related DRB activities in the early 1950s, Defence Minister Hellyer's comments were misinterpreted by the press.

Based on Major Keyhoe's impeccable credibility and my yet untarnished belief in basic journalistic ethics, I tend toward the cover-up theory. It seems to me that the Ottawa Journal would not print so explosive a story without double checking it beforehand to ensure that it wasn't fabricated.

    1. Donald I. Keyhoe, Aliens From Space, 1974.
    2. Ottawa Journal, July 20, 1967.
    3. Telephone conversation with Captain Douglas Caie, August 25, 1978.

Though jet pursuits are the usual method for capture attempts, at least one country has tried a different plan. In 1954, U.S. Air Force Intelligence learned that Canada had set up a top-secret project, after Royal Canadian Air Force pilots bad failed to bring down a UFO.

Hoping to lure aliens into landing, the Defence Research Board established a restricted landing field near its experimental station at Suffield, Alberta. All RCAF and commercial- pilots were banned from the area.

At first, some Defence Research officials expected to use radio and searchlight signals to attract the aliens. But high military officers warned that this would expose the capture purpose and alarm the public, so (that part of) the plan was abandoned.

Frequently, UFOs were sighted over Alberta by the RCAF. But there was nothing to indicate that the restricted field was reserved for the alien machines and none came near the area. Even if the aliens had known, they might not have risked landing, after hundreds of earlier chases by the RCAF.

In spite of the failure, the top secret project was continued for several years. Finally, Defence Minister Paul Hellyer revealed its existence in 1967.

The Canadian government version of the story is as follows. “Several groups became convinced that some unknown beings were trying to make contact with the Earth. One group made a strong representation to the committee . . .because there had been attempts made by Canadian and U.S. Air forces planes to shoot down the UFOs the flying saucers were reluctant to land.’

“It was argued,” continued Hellyer, “if there was ever to be any contact, the hazards had to be removed. The UFOs had to be provided with a safe place. Accordingly, in an effort to give the ‘believers’ a chance to demonstrate the existence of the flying saucers trying to make contact with the earth, the defense Research Board was designated as a landing area. The step brought no results . . . insofar as the committee was concerned no evidence had been produced to prove their existence.”

The story printed in many papers in July 1967 brought almost no reaction from the UFO community. Not until the late 1970s did people start to chase down the story. I picked up on the story and began to put the story in front of Smith inner circle members as well as writing to Paul Hellyer. Unknown to me was the fact that Arthur Bray, the man who held the smith files, was also writing Hellyer asking him for a full explanation of what had occurred.

Of the many people that I put the story to, only Mrs. Smith(1) knew the story fully and was prepared to talk about what had really happened. During my 1978 interview of Mrs. Smith I showed her the Winnipeg Free Press article telling of the statements that had been made by Minister Paul Hellyer at the UFO base opening in St. Paul in 1967. I asked Mrs. Smith if Wilbert had been involved. She read the article over carefully and then said, “Yes, Wilbert was involved.”

In her version of the story this is what happened. Smith had always wanted a chance to convince the government that the aliens existed, and he believed strongly that the government should talk to the aliens face-to-face to learn all the elements beyond the simple reality of the aliens, such as where they are from and what they are doing her.

Smith believed that if the government would stop shooting at the objects he might be able to get AFFA(2) to land for a meeting. He approached what Mrs. Smith identified as the government. The three members according to her were the R.C.M.P., the department of Defense, and the Prime Minister. This may have been the Top Secret committee referred to by Hellyer.

In contacts that were made through Mrs. Frances Swan, a contactee in Elliot, Maine, Smith was informed by AFFA that in order to land he would have to have protection against being shot down. This part of the story is actually told in an FBI document detailing the FBI’s investigation of Mrs. Swan.

According to Mrs. Smith, Wilbert Smith put this demand to the government or committee, and the committee agreed no one would shoot AFFA’s ship down. Up to this point both sides were telling the same story, and there are documents to prove these events did occur.

Following this AFFA, through Mrs. Swan, demanded that once he had landed and talked to whoever was there to meet him, he would be allowed to take off without any interference. The R.C.M.P. agreed to this, but when Smith approached what was described to me as the “government” a cabinet meeting was held to discuss AFFA’s demand. When the meeting was over the “government” could not give a 100% guarantee that AFFA would be allowed to take off once he had landed at Suffield. Smith immediately called off the planned landing. That is the story Mrs. Smith told.

Editors Note:

  1. The Mrs. Smith referred to by Grant is the wife of the late Wilbert Smith who passed away in 1962.
  2. AFFA is the name of one of the extraterrestrial aliens that Wilbert Smith was in contact with.

The Canadian Government appears to have made several attempts to offer UFOs a means of identifying themselves, perhaps the most famous of which was the designation of 1,000 square miles of land over which aircraft were not permitted to fly in order that UFOs could land unmolested.

This field in fact seems to have been part of the inspiration for Major Donald E. Keyhoe's suggestion, Project Lure.

A slightly less ambitious attempt was instigated by the Defence Minister of Canada at Port McNeill, British Columbia, where landing pads were prepared for the UFOs.

Similar pads were set up also at St. Paul, Alberta.

The Lure Project, or Operation Lure, was devised by the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and particularly promoted by Major Donald E. Keyhoe in his book Aliens from Space.

The basis of the Lure was that it should be a landing site in an isolated area designed to attract the aliens' attention, with a view to interaction between aliens and humans.

It was based on a Canadian government attempt to create a 'UFO landing field' at Alberta in 1958. This earlier project is held to have failed because there was nothing to attract the aliens' attention.

The Lure was to be designed to attract alien attention by having displays clearly intended for them; dummy UFOs, items of particular interest to aliens, such as cars, planes, models of dams and reservoirs, etc. All of the base would be covered by TV cameras and microphones connected to a Lure Control which would be an observation post for monitoring the responses of the aliens.

The Lure was based on the belief that the aliens were seeking interactive communications and that we should respond to their attempts to communicate with us.

Although revolutionary in its concept it is probably now outdated. Keyhoe's book was produced in 1973 when abduction or contactee claims were still treated with considerable suspicion by even mainstream Ufologists, let alone scientists, and this would have been seen as a rational and scientific alternative to abductions or contactee.

However, the up swell of such claims in recent years suggests that if aliens are involved in the UFO phenomenon then they are perfectly capable of arranging their own meetings as and when they seek to do so

They boast it is the first and longest lasting UFO landing pad in the world. A platform was built in 1967 to mark Canada's 100th birthday.

Mr. John Lagassé, the man behind the St. Paul's Centennial Project, says " The basic idea of the landing pad came from Mr. W.R. Treleaven of Hamilton, Ontario and Mr. Ken Reed of Calgary Alberta. At a cost of $11,000 it was built at the main entrance to the recreation grounds.

Grant MacEwan, Lieutenant of Alberta, officiated that the sod turning ceremony and on June 3rd, 1967 Paul Hellyer, Minister of Defence, flew in by helicopter to officially open the Pad.

As time passed interest in the UFO landing pad faded and it fell into disrepair in the 1970s. In the 1980s, someone had the idea to restore the pad and turn it into a larger attraction.

The site grew, and became more well-known. Mother Theresa visited the site and extolled the virtues of helping others, even others "in outer space."

Twenty-five years later, in 1992, construction began on the rounded building designed as a UFO to complement the adjacent Landing Pad. It was official opened on July 1, 1993.

In May 1995, a toll-free UFO reporting line was installed: 1-888-SEE-UFOS.

In 1996, a UFO museum was built onto the existing Tourist Information Centre to house the traveling UFO exhibit that was purchased from the J. Allen Hynek Centre for UFO (CUFOS).


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