“This is no place for me… I’m a fighter pilot.” When the Auditorium heard those words on November 10, 1942, it realized that it was witnessing a historical moment. Ever since its opening in 1939, never have the arena hosted so many people at the same time. In the stands, 6,000 Verdunites chanted a name: “Beurling!” In the front rows were a number of representatives from the City of Verdun, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the National War Finance Committee, as well as dozens of members of the military. At a podium set up in the centre of the arena stood a young serviceman from Verdun, a real war hero: George Frederick Beurling.
An incredible ceremony! The arena and Verdunites experienced a great moment of pride. Not only were they celebrating a national hero from Verdun, but the Auditorium was becoming known throughout the whole country! The CBC network broadcasted the ceremony live on the radio. The Auditorium, like all its spectators, attentively listened to the ceremony. Beurling’s four-minute-long speech was interrupted nine times by the frenzied crowd in its stands.
Listen to an excerpt from pilot George “Buzz” Beurling’s speech at the Auditorium:
The Auditorium didn’t only host the ceremony, but it was also part of it. Never in its history did the arena shine so much throughout the country.