Viola Desmond to be first Canadian woman on a bank note

First woman other than Queen Elizabeth to grace Canadian money

Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond will be the first Canadian woman to be pictured on a bank note, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, and Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu announced Thursday.

Desmond was a black businesswoman from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia who challenged racial segregation at a local theatre by refusing to sit in the establishment’s “black section” in 1946.

Desmond was one of five women named to a short list in November to be considered for the honour. She will be the face of the $10 bill in the bank’s next series. Prime Minister John A. MacDonald has been pictured on the note since the Scenes of Canada series that started in 1971.

Queen Elizabeth II is the only other woman in Canadian history to be pictured on currency.

Image via Bank of Canada