A new $10 bill featuring Canadian Civil Rights Icon Viola Desmond was unveiled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz.

Viola Desmond’s trailblazing act of defiance – overlooked for decades by most Canadians – was honoured on International Women’s Day in a ceremony in Halifax.
The purple polymer bill – the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada – includes a portrait of Desmond and a historic map of north end Halifax on one side and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg on the other.
Viola Desmond becomes the first black person – and the first non-royal woman – on a regularly circulating Canadian bank note.
The new $10 bill marks a growing recognition of Desmond’s refusal to leave the whites-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre on Nov. 8, 1946 – nearly a decade before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama – and the seminal role it played in Canada’s civil rights movement.
While her civil disobedience was remarkable, Grosse said racial segregation and systemic discrimination was once commonplace in Nova Scotia.
Desmond’s story went largely untold for a half-century, but in recent years she has been featured on a stamp, and her name graces a Halifax harbour ferry. There are plans for a park in Toronto and streets in Montreal and Halifax to bear her name.

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