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Argentia history exhibit reemerges at Marine Atlantic terminal


Published on August 28, 2017

“Argentia 1941 – 1995” is now on display in the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal in Argentia.

©Submitted photo

ARGENTIA, NL — An important exhibit on the history of Argentia was officially reopened at Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal earlier this month.

Entitled “Argentia 1941 – 1995,”  this exhibit — formerly called “Argentia at War” — was displayed from 1998–2014 in the Argentia Visitor Information Centre, until the former government removed it in 2014.

Back row (l-r) Placentia Mayor Wayne Power Jr., Marine Atlantic CEO Paul Griffin, Avalon MP Ken McDonald, Placentia West-Bellevue MHA Mark Browne, Tourism Minister Christopher Mitchelmore. Cutting the cake are Clem O’Keefe and Ann McGrath.
Submitted photo

The sponsor of the exhibit, Festival of Flags, negotiated an agreement with Marine Atlantic to display “Argentia: 1941-1995” on the second floor of its ferry terminal in Argentia. A display of large panels presents the history of Argentia, from the 1941 expropriation of the community of Argentia, the construction of the U.S. Naval Base and occupation by the United States Military for a 54-year period and the drafting of the Atlantic Charter in 1941.

The national anthems, "O' Canada," "Ode to Newfoundland" and "Star Spangled Banner" were sung Aug. 17 by three young performers from Placentia Area Theatre d’Heritage.  The singers, Erin Murphy, Maggie Follett and Paula Milley, were dressed in their United States Overseas (USO) costumes.

At the official reopening in the foyer of the ferry terminal, Avalon MP Ken McDonald, Tourism Minister Christopher Mitchelmore, Placentia West-Bellevue MHA Mark Browne and Marine Atlantic CEO Paul Griffin were warmly welcomed by Festival of Flags chairwoman Elaine Murray. Griffin also welcomed dignitaries and guests to Marine Atlantic. 

Festival of Flags chairwoman Elaine Murray.
Submitted photo

Festival of Flags certificates of appreciation were presented to the representatives of 11 public and private exhibit sponsors, including: Government of Canada; Government of NL.; Marine Atlantic; Town of Placentia; Port of Argentia; The Royal Canadian Legion; Atlantic Charter Foundation; Freshwater Community Centre; Placentia Area Chamber of Commerce; Placentia Area Historical Society; Cahill’s Inc.

A cake and ribbon cutting, with the dignitaries and the oldest remaining former resident of Argentia, Ann McGrath, 94 years and Clem O’Keefe, 95, married to Sara Cunningham, took place in honor of the official reopening. The gathering then partook of the brunch and refreshments sponsored by the Government of NL., Port of Argentia, and Freshwater Community Center. The music was provided by Bill Houlihan, his granddaughter, Leah and Ed Smith, all Argentia descendants.

Dignitaries and guests took advantage of the opportunity to view the historic displays on Argentia on the second floor.