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History


883 Air Commodore Leonard Birchall Squadron conducted its first parade night on 9 November 2011. The squadron opened as a result of an overwhelming number of cadets at 351 Silver Star Squadron in Unionville. 883 started with an amazing 53 Cadets and 8 Staff members parading at Randall Public School and now currently parades at Middlefield Collegiate Institute in Markham, ON. With the help of the official sponsor, The Markham Lions Club, the squadron began their successful journey.


During the first year of operation, the squadron became heavily involved within the local community, participating and assisting with various events and activities while attempting to recruit as many new cadets as possible. Just to name a few, 883 participated in the Markham Remembrance Day Ceremony, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s Auction Dinner, and Markham’s Santa Claus Parade, where we were awarded the Top Marching Group Award. With its roots from 351 Squadron, 883 participated in many joint activities with the sister unit, which included both training exercises and a recreational trip during March Break. 883 also conducted its first Annual Ceremonial Review joint with 351 Squadron, as they were celebrating their 25th. 883 successfully made their mark in the cadet program as they also participated in the Regional Band and Drill competition, where they performed exceptionally well! We have been placed 3rd overall for both teams in 2019 and will most definetely compete again. The squadron also competes at Invitational Swimming and Sports competition and not once did our results let us down. 883 has also started participating in orienteering competitions and we have successfully placed 2nd at this year's NGTA Orienteering Competition which allowed us to compete at the regional competition. In November 2019, 883's second orienteering team has won the Regional Orienteering Competition held in Ottawa, Ontario. We currently stand has Ontario's best orientering team as we have taken home the first place medals.


In October 2012, the squadron received the Air Cadet League of Canada's Ontario Provincial Committee (OPC) Special Award for its excellence in community involvement and a Special Award for its training. In 2016 the squadron received an Honourable Mention from the Air Cadet League for its continued success in training. The SSC has also been recognized in 2017 for their excellent support.


883 has had an excellent growth rate from the day they opened its doors. Within the first five years, the squadron has expanded its numbers with over hundreds of new cadets. Through training, the squadron continues to introduce essential leadership and citizenship skills, helps develop an interest in physical and recreational activities and music, as well as promoting aviation subjects that introduce cadets to the various fields of aviation available to them. Today, the squadron parades a steady 160 cadets and continues to grow with its success.


“Look at where we started, and look at where we are now. We started with no identity, and now we are 883”

– Major Michael Blakely-Bazinet, inaugural Commanding Officer of 883, 2011-2014