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Canadian Icon Viola Desmond Featured on New $10 Bill

The Bank of Canada unveiled the new $10 bank note featuring Viola Desmond during a ceremony at the Halifax Central Library on International Women’s Day. Once issued into circulation in late 2018, it will mark the first time that a Canadian woman is portrayed on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note.

Viola Desmond was selected for the new $10 bank note following an open call to Canadians to nominate an iconic Canadian woman for the next redesigned bank note. A successful Black Nova Scotian businesswoman, Viola Desmond defiantly refused to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946 and was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case is one of the first known legal challenges against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.

This new $10 note is the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada. This will allow for a more prominent image of Viola Desmond and differentiates this new $10 note from the current polymer notes.

The back of the $10 bank note features images and symbols that represent Canada’s ongoing pursuit of rights and freedoms. It features the Canadian Museum for Human Rights—the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. Also depicted on the note are an eagle feather - representing the ongoing journey toward recognizing rights and freedoms for Indigenous Peoples in Canada - and an excerpt from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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