Very exciting news today! Viola Irene Desmond (1914-1965), an iconic civil rights activist, will be the first Canadian woman to be featured on a Canada banknote. A black businesswoman and beautician from Nova Scotia, Viola Desmond was jailed after refusing to leave the “whites only” section at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, in 1946. Viola Desmond’s image will be replacing Sir John A. Macdonald’s on Canada’s new $10 bill in 2018.

Viola Irene Desmond (Winnipeg Free Press)


Viola Desmond took her case to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax – above is the Notice of Motion. (Nova Scotia Archives). More legal documents associated with this case can be viewed here.


Here is an article from a provincial newspaper covering Viola Desmond’s court case (Nova Scotia Archives).

Sources and Further Reading

One thought on “#ThrowbackThursday: Viola Desmond (1914-1965)

  1. Good idea. Though personally I would have made room by (very respectfully) ousting the Queen from a bill, rather than our first prime minister. The Queen is, after all, already on all our coins.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *