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'A giant step forward': new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond to enter circulation

The new banknote featuring a picture of Viola Desmond will go into circulation tomorrow, and the civil rights activist’s sister will be the first person to use it.

Wanda Robson will make the first official purchase with the new $10 bill during a ceremony tomorrow at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.

The 91-year-old is set to buy a book that she co-wrote with Cape Breton University professor Graham Reynolds about Demond’s life and legacy.

Robson says she’ll give the book to give to her 12-year-old granddaughter so she can learn more about her great-aunt’s story.

Desmond will be the first black woman to be featured on a Canadian banknote.

She was arrested in 1946 after she refused to leave the whites-only area of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, N.S., which has since become one of the most high-profile incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history.

But it was only after Desmond died in 1965 that her story was widely told.

She has since received numerous accolades, including having a Halifax Transit ferry named after her and recieving a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Robson hopes the new bill will bring even more awareness to her sister’s story and will be a “giant step forward” in terms of continuing Desmond’s work toward equality.

The Canadian Press