OTTAWA – Viola Desmond, often described as Canada’s Rosa Parks for her 1946 decision to sit in a whites-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre, will be the first woman to be celebrated on the face of a Canadian banknote.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Desmond will grace the front of the $10 bill when the next series goes into circulation in 2018.
Others on the short list were poet E. Pauline Johnson; Elsie MacGill, who received an electrical engineering degree from the University of Toronto in 1927; Quebec suffragette Idola Saint-Jean; and 1928 Olympic medallist Fanny Rosenfeld, a track and field athlete.
Famous Five activist Nellie McClung, the Alberta suffragette who fought in the 1920s for women to be legally recognized as persons in Canada, was for many Canadians the most obvious omission from the short list.
There were more than 26,000 submissions from the public, which was later whittled down to 461 eligible nominees who had Canadian citizenship and had been dead for at least 25 years.