803: How it All Began
Plans were under way as early as January 1971 to form a squadron of Air Cadets in the Pierrefonds, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Roxboro and Ste. Geneviève areas of the West Island. This squadron was to be composed of approximately fifty boys of both French and English backgrounds from the age of thirteen to eighteen years.
Three major steps had to be completed before recruiting could begin:
- An official charter had to be received from the Air Cadet League of Canada.
- A civilian committee had to be formed; and
- Accommodations for training were required.
The St. Laurent Mount Royal Rotarians were the sponsors of this newly formed squadron. Word was received by Mr. Murphy, the first Chairman of the Civilian Committee, that the Canadian Forces Headquarters had approved the formation of our squadron. The charter was issued on May 26, 1971 in the name of “803 North Shore Rotary Squadron Canadian Air Cadets”.
Several training sites were considered and the present location was chosen. Since 1971, Riverdale High School in Pierrefonds has been the home of 803 Squadron. Training of cadets started in the fall of 1971 under Captain Frank Hofmann and a corps of well qualified staff. In 1973, 803 Squadron began accepting young ladies between thirteen and eighteen years of age, a full two years before the Air Cadet League officially sanctioned their general acceptance in local squadrons.
Sponsorship changed in 1975 to the Royal Canadian Legion, General Vanier Branch 234 in Roxboro. The squadron then became known as the “803 North Shore Sabre Squadron”. Its current logo and squadron crest was the result of a competition among cadets at the time.
Since its formation over 40 years ago, hundreds of young men and women have answered to their names at the roll call of 803 Squadron.