Saturday, August 25, 2012

Juno Beach

The Juno Beach Centre is a museum and cultural centre which opened at Courseulles-sur-Mer on June 6, 2003.  It was established to help visitors better understand the challenges overcome by Canadians on D-Day, and the battle of Normandy.  The Centre presents the war effort made by all Canadians, civilian and military alike, both at home and on the various fronts during the Second World War, as well as the manifold faces of contemporary Canadian society.


Names of the fallen engraved on these fluted pillars

It is a centre of memory, education and culture.

Quilt with the beloved poppy: remembrance

The permanent exhibit consists of 7 exhibit rooms, drawing upon documents, photographs, maps, artifacts, audiovisual and audio accounts.  The permanent exhibit alternates between areas of emotion, reflection, discovery and information, eliciting the visitor’s participation.

The exhibits were imaginative and presented with a creative flair.  For example, the speeches made by the political leaders from Canada, Great Britain and Germany at the start of the war in 1939 can be heard through soundtracks tucked in various models of old-fashioned radios.  One had the impression of being around the kitchen table, or in the living room, listening to the static sound of an ominous message, with all the emotion that garnered.

Guided Tours of Juno Park are available. It's an opportunity to discover the history of the D-Day landings by exploring the remains of the Atlantic Wall, including the inside of a bunker. It only covers a small portion of the 8 km length of Juno Beach.

Looking at the next room from the confines of a bunker

Looking up while in bunker.
Looking up while inside bunker.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage has designated the Juno Beach landing site to be a site of national historic significance to Canada.

A letter to visitors found on the wall of the Juno Beach Centre as you exit the building:

"World War II brought along a complete transformation of Canadian economy and society. Those who came back and those who stayed home wanted to build that better world for which they had fought. They fought hard to make it a reality, to hand it down to the next generation.

Canada is ten provinces and three territories, 31 million inhabitants from 200 different countries, one million Aboriginals, two official languages and 60 languages in daily use.

Canada is, in the view of many countries, one of the most reliable and dedicated peacekeepers in today's world...

Canada is a democracy based on the British parliamentary system, a land of abundant but closely monitored natural resources, a country that takes great pride in its unique know-how fostered by competence and creativity, a nation of city dwellers and sport lovers, a tourist's paradise of thriving, intense cultural life...

Canada is imagination that unfurls its myths and legends through white snowy deserts, golden fields of wheat, dark forests and churning waters, imagination peopled by wild animals, strange, warm and funny people...

Canada is neither France nor Great Britain; and it is not the U.S.A either...

Canada's 31 million children, men and women share a common past and a bewildering variety of experiences from all over the world. They invite you to discover their home.

Welcome to Canada!"

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