Placentia, Spanish town create new bonds
Take historic ties into the 21st century through new partnership
The history between Placentia and the Spanish community of Plentzia stretches back to the late 16th century, when Basque fishermen were known to set up temporary lodging in the area. Now the two towns are bringing that relationship into the 21st century via a new memorandum of understanding that aims to strengthen their ties through economic development and tourism projects.
With a shared history dating back to the late-1500s, municipal leaders in Placentia and Plentzia, Spain are now strengthening those ties in the 21st century.
On Wednesday, June 21, Plentzia Mayor David Crestelo joined his counterpart in Placentia, Mayor Wayne Power Jr., to sign a memorandum of understanding.
The deal encourages the two coastal communities to promote their shared history and explore the potential to cooperate on matters related to education, economic development, tourism, fine arts and culture.
Basque fish harvesters settled in Placentia in the 1580s and initially called it Plascencia, which may be derived from Plentzia.
Power and Coun. Noella Collins travelled to Plentzia last fall to meet with Crestelo and others in the community.
“It’s an honour and privilege for me to attempt to return the hospitality that was extended to both myself and Coun. Collins back in October when we visited,” Power said Wednesday.
The Placentia mayor said the MOU brings the two communities together more closely than ever before.
“Today with the signing or our memorandum of understanding, we have started a new relationship, and we all hope that this is just the beginning of what will continue to be a strong and vibrant friendship for many years to come.”
Crestelo and his colleagues visited various sites in Placentia, including the Castle Hill National Historic Site.
“It’s a very special moment for us,” Crestelo said. “I want to thank all the people that have been working hard to get (to) this moment … All of us believe in this connection between Placentia and Plentzia.”
Wednesday’s ceremony coincided with a visit from the cruise ship Ocean Endeavour, which toured Newfoundland and Labrador for a week, stopping at sites of significance to the Basque whalers and fishermen. The tour was scheduled to conclude Thursday in St. John’s. Many of its passengers were from Spain.
Introductions to speakers and performers at Wednesday’s event were provided in four languages —Basque, English, French and Spanish.
Placentia’s town crier Angus Gilbert, far right, reads from the memorandum of understanding signed last Wednesday by the men to his right, Plentzia Mayor David Crestelo and Placentia Mayor Wayne Power Jr.
A duo from Spain performs a traditional dance number.
Maggie Follett and Shawn Bruce performed several Newfoundland folk tunes at Wednesday’s ceremony at the Placentia Bay Cultural Arts Centre.
You had to head out to Freshwater to get a decent view of the cruise ship Ocean Endeavour. Fog was too thick last Thursday to see it from Placentia.
Aimar Odriozola performs a song on the piano.