“Canadians came ashore at Juno Beach as part of the most ambitious military operation that the world has ever seen and in turn, helped liberate a continent. The story of Juno Beach and the Battle of Normandy, and the brave folks who fought there, represent a vitally important chapter in our history. This agreement will safeguard and preserve this portion of Juno Beach for future generations”, says the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
On 6 June 1944, Canadians landed on Juno Beach as part of the D-Day invasion that marked a turning point for Allied forces during the Second World War. Since then, The Juno Beach Centre has become a place of remembrance and emotion for Veterans, their families, Canadians and French citizens. This iconic site must be preserved and respected, as it commemorates the Canadians who served their country and helped liberate France.
“The city of Courseulles-sur-Mer supports the Juno Beach Centre in its desire to honour the memory of the Veterans of June 6, 1944, and to ensure the protection of the historic site that is Juno Beach. By purchasing this land in the Juno sector, with the intent to make it available to Canadians, the elected officials of Courseulles-sur-Mer are continuing the commitment of the elected officials who, on November 10, 2001, made land available to the Juno Beach Center on the beaches of the Juno sector for the purpose of setting up a memorial in honor of all those who served in the Canadian military during the Second World War,” says Anne-Marie Philippeaux, Mayor Of Courseulles Sur Mer, First Vice-President of Cœur de Nacre.
A proposed condominium development on land adjacent to the site had posed a threat to both the integrity of Juno Beach itself and Juno Beach Centre operations. The issue has captured the hearts and minds of concerned citizens in Canada and France who have written tens of thousands of letters and emails calling for the site’s protection.
Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Patricia Miralles, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Armed Forces, in charge of Veterans Affairs and Memory, and Anne-Marie Philippeaux, Mayor of Courseulles-sur-Mer, confirmed their collaboration and steadfast long-term commitment to protect the Juno Beach site in France.
The Canadian and French governments worked in close collaboration to find a positive solution. Contributions from the Canadian and French governments, the town of Courseulles-sur-Mer, the conseil régional de Normandie, the conseil départemental du Calvados, and the communauté de communes Cœur de Nacre will allow the preservation of the parcel of land identified for development. It will be re-united with two other parcels of land adjacent to form one site, and a 99-year lease will be negotiated. This investment secures the long-term protection of Juno Beach and the use of the site for commemorative purposes, and supports the Juno Beach Centre’s work in honouring the achievements and sacrifices of those who fought for our freedom and democracy.
“The settlement will ensure that the Juno Beach Centre and the Canadian memorial presence in Normandy are preserved for generations to come. The Juno Beach Centre Association is extraordinarily grateful for the time, effort, and energy put forward by the Minister of Veterans Affairs, his staff, and diplomats at the Embassy of Canada to France to resolve this dispute in an amicable manner for all parties,” says Don Cooper, President, Juno Beach Centre Association.
Source: Veterans Affairs Canada