On Thursday, Canada introduced its new $10 bill, showcasing Black Nova Scotian and civil rights activist Viola Desmond. Now in her 90s, Robson captivated the Halifax audience with her genuine delight at seeing her sister on Canadian currency.
Flashing the note to someone in the crowd she drew laughs by joking, "Don't look at my bill, you can't have it". "And well, I was speechless -my family would have liked that but for once in my life I was speechless", she said.
The new C$10 bank note featuring Viola Desmond. Poloz says it was long past time for a bank note to feature an iconic Canadian woman. "But it is an important story, because it shows that standing up for what we believe, whether it's on the step of Parliament Hill or in a movie theatre in New Glasgow, N.S., can make our country and our world a better place for future generations".
On Nov. 8, 1946, Desmond went to see a movie at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow while her vehicle was getting fixed.
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According to the Bank of Canada, Desmond's court case was the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forward by a black woman in Canada.
The bill also features a historic map of north end Halifax on one side, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg on the other. In addition, the law stresses the importance of its role in the civil rights movement in Canada. "She's just one of many of us who have suffered. It's lovely", she told an audience in Halifax. Desmond, who had a white mother and Black father, sat in the "whites only" section of the theater instead of the balcony. Desmond was dragged out of the theatre and arrested, ultimately spending 12 hours in jail.
"Viola Desmond made a special act of courage", - said Isaac, Cain, senior lecturer at Dalhousie University. She died in 1965, but received Canada's first-ever posthumous apology and pardon in 2010.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for that", she said on Thursday.