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Viola Desmond, First Canadian Woman to Appear on a Banknote

Viola Desmond, African Nova Scotian and civil rights leader, will be the first Canadian woman to appear on the face of a banknote in the country. Beginning in 2018, Ms. Desmond will grace the front of the $10 bill.

“This is an acknowledgment of a woman who took an incredibly brave stand against racism and segregation” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Viola Desmond deserves this recognition as the Canadian hero she is.”

Ms. Desmond was a businesswoman who was arrested when she resisted segregation in a New Glasgow movie theatre in 1946. She was wrongfully jailed and fined. In 2010, the province granted her an official apology and free pardon.

The first Heritage Day in Nova Scotia, Feb. 16, 2015, honoured Ms. Desmond as a civil rights figure and a pioneering entrepreneur, by highlighting her incredible life story and historic court case.

“This is fantastic news, but it’s more importantly a great moment for women and African Nova Scotia communities,” said Tony Ince, Minister of Communities Culture and Heritage. “Many people who didn’t know Viola Desmond, will now know her story and hopefully be inspired by her legacy.”

Ms. Desmond was chosen out of more than 26,000 submissions, and was short-listed among four other historic women, including Pauline Johnson, Elizabeth MacGill, Fanny Rosenfeld and Idola Saint-Jean.

For more information, please visit http://www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/banknoteable/.

Source: Release

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