The new Bank of Canada $10 note will be the first verticle note in Canada, and feature Viola Davis, a successful business woman of colour who refused to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946. (Bank of Canada)

B.C. connection to launch of new $10 bill

Great nephew of Viola Desmond says bill is a ‘step in the right direction’

While he has yet to hold a copy of the $10 bill in his hand, a Vancouver Island doctor has a special connection to a new banknote being released Monday.

Doctor Sterling Desmond is the great nephew of Viola Desmond, the late Nova Scotia civil rights pioneer who was jailed in 1946 for sitting in the whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, N.S.

She was chosen amongst hundreds of candidates to be featured on the new bill.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction … along with reconciliation, nothing is perfect under the sun, but it acts in some way to write some of the wrongs that were done,” said Desmond, who now practices in Comox but grew up in Winnipeg with a Caucasian mother and a black father.

He said the new bill represents a legacy of courage.

“Courage is never seen at the moment in time, but it’s seen afterward. It’s an uplifting note to younger generations to show that one person – just one – can always make a difference.

Viola – who died in 1965 – was a businesswoman and a beautician, who ran a beauty school. As many as 15 women – who had been denied admission to whites-only training schools – graduated each year from her school.

Viola’s face will adorn the front of Canada’s $10 bill. While other women have appeared on Canadian currency, the Queen is the only woman to have graced the front of a bank note.

The bill will also be the first vertically-designed note and feature several art pieces including a map of part of Halifax where Desmond’s business was located.

RELATED: New vertical $10 bill coming into circulation November 19

“Canadians can use this note with both confidence and pride,” said Bank of Canada governor Stephen S. Poloz in a statement.

Desmond noted the bill can also serve an educational purpose and open up a discussion of discrimination in Canada.

He said while he has seen design copies of the bill, he has yet to obtain a copy but hopes to sometime soon.

The bill was officially launched Monday at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.

-With files from Scott Stanfield

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay teams heading for curling provincials

Team Buchy and Team Nichols won the senior playdowns.

Big White to host snowboard World Cup event

Professional snowboarders will race at Big White Ski resort at the end of January

Trail police looking for tips into arson cases

Arson, altercations, and accidents included in this week’s police briefs

Trail Minor Hockey Day, more than just another day

“It all began here, of course, and it is still a mainstay of Canadian amateur hockey … “

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

On the job hunt with Nelson’s Make A Change Canada

The employment charity is organizing next week’s Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens game

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Most Read