Juno Beach Centre

Parking

There is free car parking adjacent to the museum, and nearby there is also some motorhome parking.

Toilets

There are well-maintained toilets near the gift shop, prior to entering the museum's exhibtion space.

Gift Shop

A lot of items for sale squeezed into quite a small gift shop. Many items are poppy-themed or Canadian-related.

The Centre Juno Beach opened in 2003 following twenty years of fundraising. The self-described museum and cultural centre serves as a permanent memorial to all Canadians who served during the Second World War. To this day the Centre is a non-profit entity and is kept alive by donations and the entrance fee. Each year, several Canadian students travel to Normandy to work as guides at the centre following several days of intensive training. The Centre is almost as much about Canada as it is those Canadians who fought at Juno Beach, and we learned a lot about the Country's early history leading right up to the events of the Second World War.

To refer to the Juno Beach Centre as simply a museum does it somewhat of a disservice. It is better described as a visually rich, interactive, multimedia experience with, we would suggest, more thought and imagination spent on its creation than most other memorial/exhibit/visitor centre we have visited in Normandy.

Elsewhere on this website we describe the Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie in Bayeux as like walking inside a good Dorling Kindersley book. The Juno Beach Centre is a bit like that, only more so. We would say it's almost like being inside the "interactive DVD" version of such a book - with all the audio visual elements that would include.

We should at this point recommend you pay the extra few Euros to benefit from the guided beach tour. A young Canadian (the founders wish was that all visitors would be greeted by a native Canadian, and so exchange programmes exist with various Canadian colleges) will talk you through a few landmarks outside the centre, including a very interesting observation bunker which only opened to the public by tour in April 2014. It takes about 40-45 minutes, and then the guide will escort you back into the Centre.

We must confess that we know very little about Canada or Canadians (apart from the fact they always seem to have their national flag attached in some way to their clothing or backpack - we assume to ensure they are not mistaken for Americans). As such it was interesting to learn a bit of background about the country, its people and its politics before the displays inside the Centre reach the outbreak of the Second World War.

What follows as you progress through the exhibits is quite an astonishing array of video screens, audio terminals, things to open, clear and well designed wall displays and plenty of glass-encased artefacts. The Centre is particularly accessible to schoolchildren with lots of interactive exhibits geared towards younger visitors. As such, any school trip to Normandy should make a point of stopping here.

Updated: November 2014



Contact Details:

Normandy Museums: