New $10 bill unveiled, featuring civil rights icon Viola Desmond

Tricia Pearson
March 10, 2018

A new bill on the introduction of vertical banknote $10 with a picture of Desmond, was presented on the afternoon of 8 March the Minister of Finance of Canada bill Morneau and the Governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz at the library Halifax Central Library. Also on the note are an an eagle feather-representing the ongoing journey toward recognizing rights and freedoms for Indigenous Peoples in Canada-as well as an excerpt from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She was nominated and voted for by Canadians in 2016's Bank Note-able campaign.

It's going into circulation later in this year, marking the first time a Canadian woman has been featured on a circulation bill in Canada. Yes, several countries have made it happen: Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Mexico, Argentina, and the Philippines all have at least one banknote featuring a woman who has defined its history.

She then launched the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forth by a black woman in Canada.

The story of Desmond by and large was unknown for half a century, but in recent years the image of this courageous woman appeared on a stamp, and her name is ferry in Halifax harbour.

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Viola Irene Desmond was a Canadian civil rights activist. Desmond, a beautician and entrepreneur from north end Halifax who sold her own line of cosmetics, was headed to Sydney, N.S., when her auto broke down. "She's just one of many of us who have suffered". Stuck in New Glasgow overnight, she chose to watch a movie at the Roseland Theatre. When she was asked to sit in a Blacks-only balcony section, Desmond refused to move and she was arrested. "She's not leading the movement because he was ahead of his time".

Desmond died in 1965, and the province gave her a posthumous free pardon in 2010, recognizing the injustice she and other black Nova Scotians suffered.

"I say thank you, thank you, thank you", Robson continued.

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