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Mint’s newest coin showcases famous Falcon Lake UFO encounter in Manitoba

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One could be forgiven for describing the mint’s newest coin as rather otherworldly.

The Royal Canadian Mint’s newest offering features Manitoba’s most famous UFO encounter, which happened in 1967 when Stefan Michalak went looking for precious metals near Falcon Lake.

“I was very surprised, frankly. They called me out of the blue and said ‘I have this idea,'” said Stefan’s son, Stan Michalak. 

“It’s not every day the mint calls and says, ‘Hey, we’re going to do a coin.'”

Stefan, whom his son says was a “rock nut,” was searching for gold, silver and other precious metals and gems in Whiteshell Provincial Park one May long weekend in 1967. At about noon, two craft appeared in the sky, he said, and one landed about 50 metres away from Stefan on a flat rocky area.

The other craft left, but the first stayed, said Stefan. He observed it from the bush for about half an hour before approaching it.

“In his mind, he reasoned, ‘This must be some sort of a military experimental craft. They’ve landed here by mistake or maybe out of need. Maybe they’re in trouble,'” said Stan. “‘I’ll offer to help them out.'”

When Stefan approached the craft, which he later described as saucer-shaped and made of a stainless steel material, he touched it and the heat melted the fingertips of his heavy gloves. There was an opening he put his head through, said Stan, but he didn’t enter.

The craft then expelled a cloud of gas and lifted off, knocking Stefan off his feet, setting his shirt aflame and leaving a distinct pattern of burns on his chest.

There will be only 4,000 of the collectors coins minted. (Royal Canadian Mint)

The coin shows the moment the craft lifted from the rock, with a figure lying on the ground with a hand in the air, as if to ward something off. In the dark, the craft on the coin glows, as does the gas coming from the ship.

The coin is ovoid and uses more colours than traditionally found in a coin, said Stan.

“They sent me a proof that had their original thought, which was kind of cute,” said Stan. “Originally, it was going to have alien eyes on it, so it looked like the shape of an alien head.”

Erica Maga, product manager for the coin, said the idea came to the team during their annual research.

“We thought it was such an interesting story that it was one that we had to share with Canadians,” said Maga. “Everyone is sort of fascinated by this subject matter and we thought it would make a really interesting coin design.”

The coin has been in production for a few months but went on sale Monday, said Maga. The coin’s egg shape, while unusual, was also used for coins with a hot air balloon and featuring Ukranian pysanka.

Maga confirmed one of the earliest designs featured glow-in-the-dark alien eyes.

“We had talked around a lot of really wacky ideas and interesting concepts for this one, but in the end, we wanted to try and stay as faithful and true to the story as we could.”

Despite the Manitoba connection, the coin is being minted in Ottawa instead of Winnipeg, said Alex Reeves, external communications advisor for The Mint. The Winnipeg facility does currency coins, while the Ottawa facility specializes in collector coins.

Stan, who co-wrote a book about his father’s encounter, said he hopes the coin helps end his family’s saga.

“We just decided to put this to rest, and I think the mint, giving me a call and saying ‘We have this idea,’ I think it just puts the ribbon on the box to finally close it forever.”

The $20 legal tender coin can be ordered from the mint’s website. It retails for $129.95.

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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat

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In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

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TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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