Juno Beach Centre and The Royal Canadian Legion Partner to Renew Faces of Canada Today Exhibition

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Canadian Soldiers on Juno Beach
Canadian Soldiers on Juno Beach

Renewal Project to Showcase Canadian Remembrance Culture and Modern Veterans

Normandy, France – The Juno Beach Centre (JBC), Canada’s museum and memorial dedicated to the Second World War in Normandy, France, has announced a new partnership with The Royal Canadian Legion to support the renewal of the Faces of Canada Today exhibition. This major renovation project aims to revitalize the permanent exhibition space in time for the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June 2024.

A key section of the renewed exhibition will focus on the culture of remembrance and the history of the iconic poppy symbol in Canada, from the First World War to the present day. Recognizing the significance of the Legion’s poppy design in Canadian remembrance culture, the exhibition’s design will prominently feature a large poppy installation composed of smaller floating poppies. Below this striking centerpiece, visitors will have the opportunity to dedicate a virtual poppy to honour those who sacrificed their lives in service to Canada.

The Royal Canadian Legion has approved the use of the poppy trademark for this exhibition and has contributed $100,000 to the renewal project. Bruce Julian, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion, emphasized the Legion’s commitment to promoting remembrance and supporting veterans. He stated, “We were pleased to hear of the changes coming to this important experiential exhibit, including the focus on diversity, and we are proud to play a supportive role in its rejuvenation.”

Alexander Fitzgerald-Black, Executive Director of the Juno Beach Centre Association, expressed gratitude for The Royal Canadian Legion’s ongoing partnership. He noted, “We are thrilled that The Royal Canadian Legion supports Faces of Canada Today, a ringing endorsement for a project aimed at making our commemorative site more welcoming to modern Veterans.”

Since its opening to the public in 2003, the Faces of Canada Today exhibition at JBC has showcased Canada’s post-war evolution and the contributions of over one million veterans in shaping the nation. However, the exhibition’s contents, created in the late 1990s, no longer reflect the significant events and developments in Canadian history over the past two decades.

The renewed exhibition will highlight the ongoing service of modern veterans, representing the thousands of Canadians who have worn the uniform since 1945. It will encompass their contributions during the Cold War, United Nations and NATO missions, and the war in Afghanistan.

Moreover, the exhibition will offer a comprehensive portrayal of modern Canada, including the roles of Indigenous peoples and the waves of diverse immigrants who have shaped the nation. It will emphasize how Canadian identity and values have evolved through the influence of Second World War veterans who returned to build a better, more inclusive, and peaceful Canada during the post-war decades.

The renewal of the Faces of Canada Today exhibition is scheduled for completion in early 2024, with a grand opening event planned around the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Further details regarding the opening will be announced in due course.

Major Christopher Carriere, CD, a Medical Officer from 28 Field Ambulance who has served in peacekeeping missions and deployments including Cyprus, Bosnia, and Kuwait, expressed the importance of bridging the gap between past and present generations of veterans. He remarked, “When you take a look at bridging the gap between those that served before us and those that serve now, we’re in a different time in history. What we are asked to do is different. But the core Canadian values are still there, you help others; you do your best to make places better. That’s the obligation we have.”

About the Juno Beach Centre

Established in 2003, the Juno Beach Centre serves as a permanent memorial to all Canadians who contributed to the Allied victory in the Second World War. The Centre, situated in Normandy, France, pays tribute to the nearly 45,000 Canadians who lost their lives during the war, including 5,500 during the Battle of Normandy and 381 on D-Day. Over the past two decades, the Centre has welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors and has been designated a site of national historic significance to Canada. It is owned and operated by the Juno Beach Centre Association, a registered charitable organization based in Burlington, ON, Canada. For more information, please visit www.junobeach.org.

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