VICTORIA – Government is providing $1 million to support the Juno Beach Centre, to recognize the courage and sacrifice of Canadians in World War II, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.
“On behalf of all British Columbians, the province is honoured to be a partner in the Juno Beach Centre and help preserve the memory of Canadians who fought in defence of freedom and in pursuit of peace in World War II,” Campbell said.
“It is our shared responsibility as Canadians to recognize the contribution made by the women and men of B.C. and Canada to protect our freedom and preserve democracy. Supporting this remarkable facility provides an opportunity to express our gratitude and to educate the world about the role Canadians played throughout the war.”
On June 6, 1944, 15,000 Canadian soldiers stormed Juno Beach as part of the D-Day landing on the Normandy coast of France. That day, there were more than 1,000 Canadian casualties, including 340 Canadians who gave their lives. By the end of World War II, more than 45,000 Canadians were killed and 55,000 wounded. A total of more than one million Canadians served in the war, including more than 90,000 British Columbians.
The $8.1-million Juno Beach Centre is scheduled to open June 6, 2003, at a site overlooking Juno Beach in the French town of Courselles-sur-Mer. The 10,000-square-foot centre and a virtual museum on the Internet are designed to educate Canadians and people worldwide about Canada’s military and civilian contribution to the war. The project was initiated by a group of World War II veterans who participated in the D-Day landing and the subsequent battles in Normandy and throughout Western Europe.
“The Juno Beach Centre gives every Canadian an opportunity to honour those who served,” Campbell said. “It’s an important contribution that all British Columbians have made.”
More information on the Juno Beach Centre and how to make a donation is available at http://www.junobeach.org/ online.