Viola Desmond’s trail-blazing act of defiance — overlooked for decades by most Canadians — was honoured Thursday in a Halifax ceremony that cemented her new status as a civil rights icon.
A new $10 bill featuring Desmond was unveiled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz.
The purple polymer bill — the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada — includes a portrait of Desmond and a historic map of north end Halifax on one side and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg on the other.
“It was long past time for a bank note to feature an iconic Canadian woman,” Poloz told the large crowd gathered at the Halifax Central Library on International Women’s Day despite a blustery snowstorm and flickering power. “That’s been a goal of mine since I became governor.”