The Juno Beach Centre | Attraction Guides | History Hit

The Juno Beach Centre

Courseulles-sur-Mer, Normandy, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Juno Beach Centre

The Juno Beach Centre, also known as the Normandy Canadian Museum, chronicles the Canadian contribution to the D-Day campaign, assault on Juno Beach and war effort as a whole during World War II.

The Juno Beach Centre history

Based in the location assigned to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division in the D-Day Landings, the Juno Beach Centre focuses especially on the events which took place on 6 June 1944, whereby Canadian forces took part in the invasion of Normandy. The beach spanned from Courseulles, a village just east of the British Gold Beach, to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, and just west of the British Sword Beach.

The objective of the 3rd Canadian Division was to join up with the British who were landing either side of them at Sword and Gold, and establish a bridgehead that reached the main railway line and road that run west of Caen.

As on the other beaches of the invasion, the storming of Juno was preceded by an aerial bombardment and then by a naval bombardment two hours before the landing. This unfortunately failed to clear many of the German defencive structure and positions.

After Omaha, the landings at Juno took the heaviest casualties by sea; there were nearly 1,000 Canadian casualties, 340 of whom were killed, and 243 British casualties.

Aside from this particular invasion, over a million men and women joined the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War, making a decisive contribution to the eventual Allied Victory. The Juno Beach Centre showcases and commemorates this contribution.

The Juno Beach Centre today

From photographs and documents to multimedia presentations and even a tour of the D-Day landing site and bunker, the Juno Beach Centre looks not only at the Canadian efforts in World War II, but paints a portrait of modern Canada.

The Juno Beach Centre’s permanent exhibit draws on photographs, documents, firsthand accounts, multimedia, maps, and artefacts to tell the story of the Canadians who volunteered for military service or mobilized at home to contribute to the war effort.

It also presents the battles that took Canadian units from Sicily to Italy and from Normandy to the Netherlands. The Centre is not only a museum about the war. It also portrays the personal accounts and real-life stories of the society that these soldiers bequeathed to their children and that now forms Canada.

The museum also has a number of temprary and online exhibitions throughout the year. A visit usually lasts 1 and a half hours.

Getting to The Juno Beach Centre

Juno Beach Centre is located on the seafront, in the town of Coursuelles-sur-Mer. It is approximately a half-hour drive from Caen.

Most flights from Canada to France arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport, which is 25km north of Paris. Some charter flights from Canada and many European flights land at Orly Airport, 15km south of Paris. From Paris, there are direct trains to Caen (the transit point) which have bike carrying compartments (as pictured).

For those with less time or for air ticket price reasons and who want to limit their trip to the D-Day Beaches and Normandy Interior Tours, a flight to London Heathrow and travel to Portsmouth followed by a ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Ouistreham (then 45 minute bus ride to Caen) will be of interest. Bikes can then be rented and returned in Caen before you make your way back to Heathrow.

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