New $10 bill unveiled featuring civil rights activist Viola Desmond

Officials set to unveil new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond

Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond was selected from the more than 26,000 submissions that rolled in after the Bank of Canada announced plans to put a Canadian woman on the country's circulating currency for the first time.

Wanda Robson, the sister of Viola Desmond, smiles as the new $10 featuring her sister Viola Desmond is unveiled.

"I said, it's a $10 bill, she's on the $10 bill!"

Viola Desmond's heroic acts were recognized today at the unveiling of Canada's new, vertical $10 banknote.

"It's an important story because it shows that standing up for what we believe, whether it's on the steps of Parliament Hill or in a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, can make our country and our world a better place for future generations", he said.

The incident that would propel her into Canada's history books took place in 1946 after her vehicle broke down in New Glasgow, some 100 miles north-east of Halifax, while on a business trip. In 1946, at the age of 32, Desmond went to see a movie at the Roseland Theatre in Nova Scotia.

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Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz will be unveiling the long awaited note.

When asked about whether it was appropriate to hide an easter egg behind a bill featuring a civil rights icon, Harrison said that they had a very powerful ceremony on Thursday that honoured the memory of Desmond.

"We know more about Rosa Parks than Viola Desmond", he said.

Desmond became famous because of a business trip made her 71 years ago. "It's lovely", she told an audience in Halifax.

The incident happened almost a decade before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama. Desmond was dragged out of the theatre and arrested, ultimately spending 12 hours in jail.

In 2010, the government of Nova Scotia issued an apology to Desmond, for prosecuting her and acknowledged her courage in resisting racial discrimination. "She was ahead of the times".

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