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A new face on $10 bills

A new face on $10 bills

Posted on: December 08, 2016
Author: Michelle Stead

An ATB team member is applauding today’s announcement that Viola Desmond will be the face on the new $10 bill.

“It makes you proud to be Canadian,” said Tanya Kroeker, who chairs ATB’s NOW (New Opportunities for Women) network.

In a news release, the Bank of Canada describes Desmond as “an icon of the human rights and freedoms movement in Canada.” She was chosen from a short list of five Canadian women.

Desmond was a successful businesswoman in Nova Scotia, who refused to leave a whites-only section of a movie theatre in 1946. She was put in jail, convicted and fined. A pardon and apology from the province came more than 60 years later.

Kroeker wasn’t familiar with Desmond’s story until now. And that struck her.

“It makes me stop and think, that’s only 1946. It's really not that long ago. We've come a long way but we still need to continue to push for equality.”

Kroeker believes that having Desmond’s picture on currency will make her story much more familiar to Canadians.

“I think that’s the interesting thing. You might read about a story like hers today and forget about it tomorrow. But this will be a constant reminder. It has more power because we still see bills everywhere.”

Watch for the new bills featuring Desmond in late 2018. The Bank of Canada also announced today the next $5 note will have a new face.

Learn more about Viola Desmond in this Heritage Minute video from Historica Canada.


Photo credit: Viola Desmond in her studio, ca. 1938. Wanda Robson Collection. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University via Bank of Canada.