The Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled a new $10 bill featuring the civil rights icon Viola Desmond, an influential figure of the civil rights and freedoms movement in Canada. The new $10 banknote is released during a ceremony at the Halifax Central Library, on the 2018 International Women’s Day in presence of Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and Desmond’s sister, Wanda Robson. Ms. Desmond was selected by an independent Advisory Council from a massive 26,300 submissions from across Canada, then from a shortlist of five notable Canadian women following a rigorous process.
Viola Irene Desmond born on 6 July 1914 in Halifax. Throughout her life, she was a businesswoman and beautician who mentored young black women. Ms. Desmond was jailed in 1946, convicted and fined for refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Desmond’s court case was the first known legal case against racial segregation brought forward by a black woman in Canada. Viola Desmond passed away on 7th February 1965 in New York, NY. Viola Desmond will be the first black person and the first non-royal woman on a circulating Canadian bank note.
On the back of this new $10 bank note features the Canadian Museum for Human Rights – the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights that represent Canada’s ongoing pursuit of rights and freedoms. On the other side of this first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada, includes a portrait of Desmond and a historic map of north end Halifax which shows the waterfront, Citadel and Gottingen Street, the thoroughfare where Viola Desmond’s Studio of Beauty Culture was located. The new $10 will be printed on polymer which was introduced to Canadian banknotes in 2011. This new $10 note is the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada and will not be in circulation by the end of 2018.
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