A portrait of Viola Desmond has been chosen to feature on the next circulating $10 Canadian banknote, expected in late 2018. It will be the first time a Canadian woman is featured on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada banknote.
An icon of the human rights and freedoms movement in Canada, Viola Desmond was selected from a short list of 5 iconic Canadian women by Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. She is known for defiantly refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946, after which she was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case was the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.
Speaking of the decision, Minister Morneau said:
“Today is about recognizing the incalculable contribution that all women have had and continue to have in shaping Canada’s story. Viola Desmond’s own story reminds all of us that big change can start with moments of dignity and bravery. She represents courage, strength and determination—qualities we should all aspire to every day.”
The selection of Viola Desmond is the final step in the #bankNOTEable campaign to choose an iconic Canadian woman to appear on the new $10 banknote, which yielded 26,300 submissions from across Canada with 461 eligible candidates.
According to the Bank of Canada, the next banknote to to feature a #bankNOTEable Canadian will be the $5 following another campaign.
The $20 banknote of the next series will continue to feature the reigning monarch, which is currently Queen Elizabeth II.
To read more about Viola Desmond and the decision made by the Bank of Canada, click here.