The Juno Beach Centre
The Juno Beach Centre Association (JBCA) is a Canadian non-profit charitable corporation that is governed by a Board of Directors based in Burlington (Ontario), Canada. The JBCA owns and operates the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France.
June 1994 was the 50th anniversary of D-Day and a trip was organized for the men of the 14th Field Regiment (Royal Canadian Artillery) to retrace the route travelled through France, Belgium and Holland by their regiment some fifty years earlier. After taking part in this trip, veterans of the 14th Field Regiment suggested that a trip to Normandy be planned the following year for their children and grandchildren. They wondered what they would be able to show their families aside from the beach with tourists, streets named after Canadians and the markers, monuments and cemeteries.
From this trip was born the idea of building a Canadian museum and the hard work began. The organizer of this trip and the constant driving force was none other than the creator of the Juno Beach Centre, Garth Webb, M.S.C.
The overall budget of the Juno Beach Centre, including costs of construction, museum equipment and the opening ceremonies, was 10 million Canadian dollars, or 6,250,000 euros. The funds needed to finance the Centre were collected privately and from the Canadian and French governments.
A campaign to secure private funding to finance the Centre was conducted by the Juno Beach Centre Association across Canada, appealing to private citizens, veterans’ associations, institutions, schools and businesses.
On February 15, 2007, after 4 years of Juno Beach Centre operations, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid tribute to Canada’s Second World War veterans and announced a contribution of 5 million Canadian dollars to operate the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France through the next decade. This funding support was renewed in April 2017 with a pledge of 500,000 Canadian dollars per year.
Wal-Mart Canada was associated with the Juno Beach Centre Association for 10 years. A fundraising campaign was launched in 2000, with the support of multiple branches, by means of advertising brochures distributed to over eight million households. Wal-Mart’s “Buy a Brick” campaign was the first activity of this national fundraising effort which sought to have customers donate a dollar to the Juno Beach Centre and thereby have their name placed on a “paper brick.” In addition, 200 branches of the Royal Canadian have provided support to the Centre.
After years of fundraising, construction began on 1.5 hectares made available by the town of Courseulles-sur-Mer and on June 6, 2003 D-Day Veteran Garth Webb saying “This is the beach where Canadian soldiers stormed ashore 59 years ago”, officially opened the Juno Beach Centre.
Today, several donation programs are in place. The Association continues to propose the “bricks” program for individuals, families, schools, companies, etc. to pay tribute to a Canadian Second World War veteran. This program is also open to all other donors and is still being conducted today. For 400 € (500 CAD) or more, the veteran or donor’s name is inscribed on the brick which is the mounted on one of the Juno Beach Centre’s memorial kiosks. In addition, there is the Flag Sponsorship Program, the Commemorative Badge program and the Legacy of Honours video program.
Mr. Webb passed away on May 8, 2012 after almost 20 years of fundraising, construction and overseeing of the operation of the completed Centre. Don Cooper is the new President of the Juno Beach Centre Association in Canada, a non-profit organization based in Burlington, Ontario, which operates the Juno Beach Centre.