Quidi Vidi village in the Netherlands removes ‘plantation’ from building’s name ahead of royal visit
The heir to the throne and his wife are expected to visit the Quidi Vidi area when their tour of Canada kicks off on May 17. The couple will stroll the harbor, visit a microbrewery, and learn about tapestry crocheting in the newly renamed building.
Breen’s statement says the building will be renamed in 2022 following a consultation process. In the meantime, the neighborhood’s website and social media accounts have already been changed to reflect the new name.
In a follow-up email on Thursday, the mayor confirmed that the couple’s visit played a role in speeding up the name change process.
“Given the national attention our Province and City expect to receive in the 2022 Homecoming Year, including a visit from the Royal Family… City staff recommended to Council council to proceed with deleting the old name and temporarily naming the facility Quidi Vidi Artisan Studios,” he wrote, adding that the council agreed.
Jeff Webb, a professor in the history department at Memorial University of Newfoundland, said that while the word “plantation” is often associated with the American South and slavery, it was used more widely in the 17th century to designate a wide range of companies. .
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the term “planter” was used to describe the head of a small fishery and “plantation” described buildings associated with the business, he said.
The word was also used to mean “colony,” Webb added. Work on the plantations of Newfoundland, he said, was usually done by servants and hired laborers.
The visit comes amid heightened scrutiny of other royal visits, including a recent Caribbean trip by Prince William and his wife, Kate, which drew criticism for perpetuating images of British colonial rule.
Webb said the context of the visit to Newfoundland is different from royal visits to former colonies in the Caribbean, which he said were “based on slavery and the British Crown”.
Newfoundland and Labrador, he says, did not start out as a colony at all; rather, he explained, it started as a seasonal fishery where people from England and Ireland came to work each year before returning home.
Many Canadians may feel ambivalent or negative toward the royal family, but they don’t have the same level of anger or sensitivity toward the throne as residents of Caribbean countries, he said.
“I think it would be kind of an insult to Jamaicans and Barbadians to pretend that our situation is like theirs, because it really isn’t,” he said.
He said the name “plantation” is likely being retired for the reasons given by the city council: it does not reflect its current function as an artists’ centre.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 28, 2022.
— By Morgan Lowrie in Montreal.
The Canadian Press