Twin towns in Labrador and Spain explore their Basque connections
Red Bay and Pasaia became twins in a ceremony May 8
A community in southern Labrador is joining forces with a town in northern Spain to celebrate their shared heritage.
For more than 400 years, there's been a close connection between Red Bay and Europe's Basque country, as Spanish whalers sailed across the Atlantic to fish for whales.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site in Labrador boasts the oldest and best preserved examples of a Basque whaling station from the 16th century.
On Monday, a delegation from Red Bay was in Pasaia, Spain, for ceremonies to twin the towns.
I am looking out my window right now and can see statues on the hill that have been there for centuries.- Wanita Stone, mayor of Red Bay
"It's like you go back in time," Red Bay Mayor Wanita Stones said about seeing Pasaia for the first time.
"You look around, you see a centuries–old building. Churches that are just magnificent. I am looking out my window right now and can see statues on the hill that have been there for centuries."
As twin towns, Stone said Red Bay and Pasaia can work together on tourism and business opportunities. It's also a chance to use their cultural connection from centuries ago to build a new relationship for the future.
Stone said it was a moving experience.
"To know that four centuries ago there were men that left here and went to Red Bay on a ship like what's being built right now," she said. "Some of them died over there so it was very emotional."
Stone hopes to return the hospitality later this year when a Basque delegation visits Red Bay. Sure to be on the itinerary is Saddle Island, where the original San Juan ran aground and sank in 1565.
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