New $10 bill features Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond

She then launched the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forth by a black woman in Canada.

Wanda Robson, seeing her sister's $10 bill for the first time, gasped, remarking that the artist beautifully captured every detail of her sister, saying, "It's as if she's in this room".

The new bill was unveiled this week, featuring civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond.

It's going into circulation later in this year, marking the first time a Canadian woman has been featured on a circulation bill in Canada. "That has been a goal of mine since I became governor", Poloz said.

"The deck was doubly stacked against Viola, because of both gender and the colour of her skin", Morneau said.

The incident that would propel her into Canada's history books took place in 1946 after her auto broke down in New Glasgow, some 100 miles north-east of Halifax, while on a business trip.

After being forced to travel to Montreal, Atlantic City and NY for training, she returned to Halifax and opened a beauty school aimed at offering black people a local option for training. To pass the time, Desmond, a hairdresser and business owner, chose to take in a movie. That was the day when she entered a theater in the town of Glasgow and chose to sit in the "White' Only" section instead of the balcony where "colored people" were relegated. "It's beyond what I ever thought". Desmond, suffering from myopia and not seen anything from the back row, sat on one of the seats for whites and refused to leave.

She was dragged out of the theatre by police, arrested, thrown in jail for 12 hours and fined.

It would take 63 years for Nova Scotia to issue Desmond, who died in 1965, a posthumous apology and pardon. And when I say suffered, I don't mean that you just couldn't do anything anymore. "Our family will go down in history - in history, imagine that".

  • Stacy Allen