New $10 bill unveiled featuring civil rights activist Viola Desmond

Desmond New Bill 20180302

On Thursday, the Bank of Canada unveiled a new bank note featuring civil rights icon Viola Desmond - and visitors to the promotional website can find the video game by repeatedly clicking on the "Spin" button underneath a 3D image of the bill.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz unveiled the redesigned currency at a ceremony in Halifax on Thursday.

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.

For background, in November 1946, Desmond was waiting for her auto to be repaired after traveling to New Glasgow.

"It's a long-awaited sense of belonging for the African Canadian community", said Russell Grosse, executive director of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.

Isaac Saney, a senior instructor of black studies at Dalhousie University, said many Canadians are unaware that slavery and segregation existed here, and often know more about US civil rights icons than those in Canada. There are also plans to name in her honor Park in Toronto and the streets in Montreal and Halifax.

New $10 bill features Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond
The Bank of Canada has hidden an aptly named "Inflation Busters" video game on its website promoting the country's new $10 bill. The new bill is purple in hue and will also be the first banknote in Canada to have a vertical versus a horizontal design.

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Desmond's story started with a business trip 71 years ago. Left in new Glasgow for the night, she chose to watch a movie in the cinema Roseland Theatre.

Segregation was legally ended in Nova Scotia in 1954, in part because of the publicity generated by Desmond's case.

It was divided along racial lines: blacks, the audience had to sit on the balcony, while the entire first floor set aside for whites. Her stand predates Rosa Parks' similar action on an Alabama bus by almost a decade.

Looking to kill time while her vehicle was being repaired, she stopped by a local movie theatre.

She was dragged out of the theatre by police, arrested, thrown in jail for 12 hours and fined. Nova Scotia issued a posthumous pardon to her in 2009, decades after her protest and 1965 death. And when I say suffered, I don't mean that you just couldn't do anything anymore.

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