This beachfront house in Bernières-sur-Mer, France is the home of Hervé & Nicole Hoffer. Known as ‘Canada House’, it was originally owned by Hervé’s grandfather and was the first house liberated on D-Day by the Allies. Over the years, Hervé has turned his home into a museum and shrine to the members of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, the regiment that stormed Juno Beach on D-Day and drove the Nazis out of his family’s home.
I visited Canada House in 2015 on a tour of Canada’s WWI & WWII battlefields with a group of educators. It was a highlight of the trip. During our visit, Hervé and his wife welcomed us into their home, served us coffee and pastries, and told us many stories. He told us about the day that Canadian veteran Ernie Kells visited and apologized for throwing grenades into Hervé’s cellar on D-Day. “Just send me the bill,” says Kells. Hervé replied, “The debt has already been paid.”
Sadly, Hervé passed away two years later in 2017. The street behind his house has been renamed in his honour.