France and Canada join together to protect Juno [fr]

Canada and France join together to protect Juno Beach and the memory of the 359 Canadians who sacrificed their lives for freedom on D-Day.
For Canada. For France. For everyone.

France will never forget the debt it owes to Canada.

The governments of Canada, France and the town of Courseulles-sur-Mer have reached an agreement to purchase the land adjacent to the Juno Beach Centre to preserve it for commemorative purposes and to protect it from future development for generations to come.

The announcement was made on Friday, October 7, at the Canadian War Museum in the presence of Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay and French Ambassador Michel Miraillet.

Ambassador’s speech


Monsieur le Ministre,
Chers amis,

Je voudrais d’abord remercier chaleureusement l’Honorable Lawrence MacAulay, Ministre des Vétérans, pour avoir pris l’initiative de cet évènement destiné à célébrer, dans ce magnifique Musée de la Guerre, l’accord scellé entre le Canada et la France à propos du site mémoriel de Juno Beach. Thank you Minister for inviting me.

Il y a plus de soixante-quinze ans, des Canadiens ont courageusement combattu les forces de l’Occupant sur les plages de Normandie. Le 6 juin 1944, peu après huit heures du matin, quinze mille soldats canadiens ont débarqué dans le secteur dit de Juno Beach. Ces héros, venus de tout le Canada, d’un océan à l’autre, ont dû ramper et courir sous le feu avant d’atteindre et de faire taire les machines de mort de l’ennemi.

Peu après, ils sont entrés dans des villes de Normandie. Les habitants, surpris, ont entendu certains d’entre eux parler français avec un accent qu’ils ne connaissaient pas mais qu’ils ont immédiatement associé à l’espoir de la liberté reconquise.
Durant l’offensive, un millier de soldats canadiens ont péri sur le champ d’honneur de sable et d’écume afin de contribuer à la réussite de l’opération Overlord.

Over the course of this both tragic and glorious day, the heroic sacrifice of these Canadian combatants who came from across the Atlantic paved the way to the final victory. Minister, dear friends, be assured that France remains fully aware of the debt it owes to the Canadian people.

In this respect, the Embassy of France has, since 2014, and in collaboration with the Canadian authorities, processed close to 1,300 files with a view to presenting awards and honours to Canadian veterans. The vast majority of these veterans were involved in the landings in 1944.

Pour vous donner un exemple, en septembre 2022, un décret a nommé Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur un vétéran canadien âgé de 104 ans habitant la ville de Sydney en Nouvelle-Ecosse. Ce héros canadien avait perdu l’une de ses jambes dans l’un des combats pour reprendre l’aéroport de Caen Carpiquet. Il recevra sa décoration prochainement : car la France honore tous ceux qui ont contribué à la libération de notre pays et de notre continent et nous souhaitons poursuivre ce travail de reconnaissance aussi longtemps que possible.

It is for all of these reasons, Minister, that the Canadian Juno Beach Memorial Centre located in Courseulles-sur-Mer, in the Calvados, is a monument to a unique and defining moment in the shared history of our people.

The emotion provoked here by the dispute related to the land near the Juno Beach Centre was very legitimate, given that many Canadians care deeply about the preservation of this memorial site, so do the French people. President Macron had engaged with Prime Minister Trudeau in order to come to a resolution. For several months, we have all worked together to arrive at a solution: your ministry, the Préfet du Calavados [who played a crucial role of facilitation between all parties], the offices of the President of the Republic and of the Prime Minister in Paris, our embassies, the Commune of Courseulles and the Juno Beach Centre. I would like, in particular, to acknowledge your Deputy minister, Mr Paul Ledwell, who has been a very important and appreciated partner throughout this process.

La solution juridique et financière à laquelle nous sommes parvenus pour mettre fin au projet immobilier privé prévu à proximité du centre équivaut à une sanctuarisation du site de Juno Beach pour des décennies, je dirais même pour toujours [bail emphytéotique]. Cet accord avec la commune permettra aussi de développer ce site mémoriel, de l’agrandir, de le protéger de toute interférence et d’en faire un lieu de recueillement pour les générations futures.

The settlement of this dispute is therefore a further success that we can attribute to the quality of our bilateral relationship. Our countries are linked not only by an exceptional partnership, but also by a close friendship that has lasted these past four hundred years. Indeed, we share the same values and commitment to freedom and human dignity, which we must always be ready to defend against the relentless attacks of inhumanity and oppression.

The situation in Eastern Europe, a region suffering in the face of Russian aggression, is a tragic demonstration of the necessity of fulfilling this duty. As in 1944, Canadians are again standing shoulder to shoulder with their European allies against the war waged by Russia. And I would like, once more, to take this opportunity to acknowledge Canada’s mobilization in support of our Ukrainian friends, but also to express our readiness and strong wish to set new strategic ambitions of co-operation between French and Canadian Armed forces in the future.

Je vous remercie.


News release

The Canadian and the French governments, and local French authorities secure long-term protection of Juno Beach in France

7 October 2022 – Ottawa, ON – Veterans Affairs Canada

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.

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.


“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.”

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

"All these soldiers whose attitude was heroic. All these men who came to fight on a land that most of them had never trodden, for our Freedom and the Freedom of the world. Lest we forget."

Patricia Miralles, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Armed Forces, in charge of Veterans Affairs and Memory

"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."

Anne-Marie Philippeaux, Mayor Of Courseulles Sur Mer, First Vice-President of Cœur de Nacre

"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."

Don Cooper, President, Juno Beach Centre Association

(Source:Veterans Affairs Canada)

Last modified on 11/10/2022

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