New $10 bank note featuring Viola Desmond unveiled on International Women’s Day

VIA Bank of Canada

Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz today unveiled the new $10 bank note featuring Viola Desmond during a ceremony at the Halifax Central Library. Once issued into circulation in late 2018, it will mark the first time that an iconic Canadian woman is portrayed on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note.

Viola Desmond was selected for the new $10 bank note by Minister Morneau following an open call to Canadians to nominate an iconic Canadian woman for the next redesigned bank note. A successful Black Nova Scotian businesswoman, Viola Desmond defiantly refused to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946 and was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case is one of the first known legal challenges against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.

This new $10 note is the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada. This will allow for a more prominent image of Viola Desmond and differentiates this new $10 note from the current polymer notes.

“Two years ago today—on International Women’s Day—Prime Minister Trudeau and I announced that the time had come for a Canadian woman to be represented on Canada’s bank notes. Since then, thanks in large part through her sister Wanda, more and more Canadians have come to know Viola Desmond’s remarkable personal story of courage and dignity. Her story serves as inspiration to all Canadians and acts as a powerful reminder of how one person’s actions can help trigger change across generations,” said Minister Morneau. “As we strive for equality across our economy and in every facet of our country, we hope this constant reminder of Viola’s story will help inspire a new generation of women, men, girls and boys to fight for what they believe, take their place and create a better future for themselves and all Canadians.”