Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Culture | By Wayne Carr

New $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond

New $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond

Canada unveiled a new $10 bill Thursday featuring black civil rights activist Viola Desmond, who replaces first Canadian prime minister and the father of Confederation Sir John A. MacDonald.

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Moreau and Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz assisted Robson with the unveiling.

Desmond will be the first black person and first woman unroyal blood, - which will appear on the constantly circulating canadian banknote.

On Nov. 8, 1946, Desmond went to see a movie at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow while her vehicle was getting fixed.

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HRM also named a harbour ferry in honour of Desmond, unveiling back in June 2016.

While her civil disobedience was remarkable, Grosse said racial segregation and systemic discrimination was once commonplace in Nova Scotia.

After being forced to travel to Montreal, Atlantic City and NY for training, she returned to Halifax and opened a beauty school aimed at offering black people a local option for training. "It's lifelike. It's as if she is in this room with this new $10 bill. And well, I was speechless -my family would have liked that but for once in my life I was speechless", she said.

Desmond became famous because of a business trip made her 71 years ago.

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The segregated theatre relegated black patrons to the balcony, while floor seating was reserved for whites. "It's lovely", she told an audience in Halifax. Her stand predates Rosa Parks' similar action on an Alabama bus by almost a decade. "She's not leading the movement because he was ahead of his time".

Desmond, 32, was dragged out of the theatre by police and jailed for defiantly sitting in the "whites only" section of a film house.

In 2010, more than six decades after she was arrested, Nova Scotia apologised to Desmond and pardoned her - a posthumous pardon signed into law by Mayann Francis, the province's first African Nova Scotian lieutenant-governor.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you for that", she said on Thursday.

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