Newfoundland: basque whalers and Plentzia – Plasentia agreement as sister municipalities

On Wednesday, June 21, Plentzia Mayor David Crestelo joined his counterpart in Placentia, Mayor Wayne Power Jr., to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The deal encourages the two coastal communities to promote their shared history and explore the potential to co-operate 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 Basque Country.