New $10 bill unveiled, featuring civil rights icon Viola Desmond

Wanda Robson

Haligonians will get their first look at the new $10 bill featuring civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond on Wednesday.

Chelsea Clinton tweeted Tuesday about her story after the Bank of Canada shared a short video earlier this month of Desmond's sister, Wanda Robson, reacting emotionally to a sneak peek of the bill.

Wanda Robson, the sister of Viola Desmond, smiles as the new $10 featuring her sister Viola Desmond is unveiled.

"I was speechless", she said describing her reaction to the bank note.

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The bill, which also features an eagle feather and an excerpt from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was met by a standing ovation.

The new currency was brought out on International Women's Day, and shakes up a history where the main female face was Queen Elizabeth II, while numerous others were white men such as former prime ministers. In 1946, she was arrested after refusing to sit in the black-only section of a movie theater in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

Desmond becomes the first black person - and the first non-royal woman - on a regularly circulating Canadian bank note.

Desmond's case is credited with playing a role in legally ending segregation in Nova Scotia in 1954.

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HRM also named a harbour ferry in honour of Desmond, unveiling back in June 2016.

Viola Irene Desmond was a Canadian civil rights activist.

"We know more about Rosa Parks than Viola Desmond", he said. After being released on a $20 fine and $6 in court costs, Desmond appealed her conviction but lost. He went on to thank Robson for bringing her sister's story to the attention of all Canadians by encouraging people to support her nomination.

The incident happened almost a decade before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama.

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Desmond died in 1965 and Nova Scotia issued a posthumous apology and pardon in 2010.

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