It’s official, African-Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond has been honoured with a new $10 bank note featuring her image.
The new $10 bank note was unveiled in Halifax during a ceremony early Thursday afternoon by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, with help from Viola’s sister Wanda Robson. Wanda was invited to remove a black cloth from an enlarged image of the new bank note’s design during the ceremony.
The new bill, which officially goes into circulation in late 2018, marks the first time that a black woman – and first non-royal woman – is portrayed on a regularly circulating Canadian bank note.
The back of the new $10 bill features images and symbols that represent Canada’s ongoing pursuit of rights and freedoms. It features the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, an eagle feather, and an excerpt from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Desmond, a successful black Nova Scotian businesswoman, is best known for defiantly refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946. She was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined.