New $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond

Carrie Guzman
March 9, 2018

The new $10 bill features Nova Scotia civil-rights champion Viola Desmond alongside a Winnipeg landmark, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Following remarks by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, her surviving sister Wanda Robson stole the show.

If I could put just one face on each of Canada's five bills I would choose, in no particular order; Terry Fox, Wayne Gretzky, Dr. James Naismith, Nancy Greene and Rick Hansen.

Desmond was removed from the theater, charged and fined for her act. "I can't - it's written in history". Other nations like the US and United Kingdom have also moved to change the imbalance between men and women depicted on money.

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The new purple polymer bill is the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada.

The unveiling took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia where in 1946, Desmond was told to leave the white's-only movie theatre and refused.

"The deck was doubly stacked against Viola, because of both gender and the colour of her skin", Morneau said.

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. "Her legal challenge galvanized the black community in Halifax's north end and paved the way for a broader understanding of the importance of human rights across our country".

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