A civil-rights pioneer is the new face of the Canadian $10 banknote. The new bill, which features Viola Desmond, was unveiled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz at a Halifax, N.S. ceremony.
Ms. Desmond’s seminal role played in Canada’s civil-rights movement when on November 8, 1946, she was arrested as she refused to leave the ‘whites-only’ section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre — nearly a decade before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama. Desmond is often credited with starting the civil rights movement in Canada.
Ms. Desmond takes her place as the civil-rights icon as the the first black person — and the first non-royal female — on a Canadian banknote.
Her sister, Wanda Robson, was among those who attended a 2016 ceremony where it was announced Desmond had been chosen from a short list of other noted Canadian women to be featured on the currency.
“I say thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Robson. “Our family will go down in history — in history, imagine that.”
On Thursday, Robson helped unveil the design of Canada’s new $10 bill.
“Is this mine?” she asked Finance Minister Bill Morneau. When he offered to hold it for her, she joked, “You’re not getting it.”
This is a video of the 57 minute ceremony: