First Black person to appear on Canadian Bank Note

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Viola Desmond

Scribe: N. Tru Bass


Canadian Woman honored by being first black on a $10 bank note. Viola Desmond, is the first black person to appear alone on Canadian currency that is not a member of British royalty.

Compared to US’s Rosa Parks, she defied authority by integrating a movie theater nearly ten years before the bus boycott began in Alabama. During the International Woman’s Day event last week the Bank of Canada unveiled a new $10 bill featuring Desmond.

In 1946, Desmond was 32 year old business owner and beautician from Halifax who was traveling to promote and sale her line of beauty products when she decided to attend the theater. She was asked to leave the main floor and watch from the balcony, she refused.

Officers then dragged her out of the theater and thew her in jail. She was charged with what amounted to tx evasion or failing to pay the full tax on the more expensive main floor seat.

The difference was a single cent.   

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