Juno Beach Centre, July 2003

The Juno Beach Centre opened on 6th June 2003. It tells the story of the Canadian landings on Juno Beach on D Day, but more than that it looks at Canada's entire role in the Second World War. From Hong Kong and Dieppe, to the fighting in Italy, and the Battle for Normandy and North-West Europe, the experience of Canadian service men and women is moving related in a number of themed areas. The visit begins in the cinema, which in the darkness looks like the inside of a landing craft. Here you view a short film about D Day. You then move on to see the background to Canada on the eve of WW2, before moving into the areas dealing with the fighting. Throughout there are numerous photos, videos to watch and personal accounts to listen to (everything is in English and French) - presented in an easy and user-friendly way, and making the best use of modern technology. The main visit ends with the 'Some Came Back, Others Did Not' area where you can see items connected with individual men and women who served - and some who died, while above you Canada's Roll of Honour for WW2 scrolls on a massive screen. The final part of your visit has an Internet area, and eventually there will also be a small library for research.

I must confess I approached my visit with some trepidation. Modern museums often do not do justice to battlefields, but my fears were misplaced at the Juno Beach Centre. This is one of the best and most innovative museums on the Normandy battlefields, and will appeal to anyone with an interest in WW2. School parties in particular will find it a useful companion to a D Day tour, and anyone visiting it with a family will find that there are plenty of things for the kids to do. Our visit took nearly two hours - so make sure you have plenty of time. Overall, an excellent effort and the Canadians are to be applauded for this fine addition to Normandy's museums.

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Memorial to Canadian soldiers outside centre. Memorial plaques donated by sponsors. Typical Memorial plaque.

The Juno Beach Centre also has a well stocked shop, selling all sorts of Canadian products - and a multitude of books on Canada in WW2 including Terry Copp's superb Normandy battlefield guide, and many titles and memoirs I have not seen before.

Open hours are 09.00 - 19.00 every day (without interruption) from 1st April - 30th September, and 10.00 - 13.00 and 14.00 - 18.00 between 1st October and 31st March. Admission is 6.5€ for adults, and 5€ reduced rate. Adult groups are 5€, and School Groups 3€ (prices in mid-2003).

For further details contact:

Centre Juno Beach
Voie des Francais Libres
14470 Courseulles-sur-Mer

Tel: (+33) (0)  Fax: (+33) (0)


©Paul Reed 2002-2006

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